Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Trader Joe's Buttermilk Pancake & All Purpose Baking Mix

All purpose baking mix. You can use this for any and all purposes you can possibly think of. Use it as engine lubricant, throw it on the slip n' slide in the backyard for the kids, or just drink it plain.

Or you could use it to make waffles instead of pancakes. That's what we did. On our many travels throughout this beautiful country over the past two years, Sonia and I have made waffles in the continental breakfast rooms of about a dozen hotels in at least 4 or 5 different states. Sonia fell in love with those ubiquitous, handy little waffle-making irons and the delicious golden-brown treats they render.

She found one online for a reasonable price and decided that she would buy it so we could pretend we were on vacation in a hotel getting a free continental breakfast each and every morning. First, she tried the waffle-maker with a cheap Target store-brand mix. The instructions only had her add oil and water to it. The batter wasn't bad, but it was thin and runny, and it was full of preservatives and fake chemical-type stuff. The finished product was cooked through a little unevenly, and it had a tendency to stick to the non-stick walls of the brand spanking new waffle-maker, which annoyed poor Sonia to the point of despair.

However, Sonia's hero, Trader Joe, came to the rescue with his more-natural, thicker, heartier breakfast batter option. Trader Joe had us add oil, water, and eggs to his mix. The Presto 3510 Flipside Electric Waffle Maker and Trader Joe's Buttermilk Pancake Mix yielded a happily golden, fluffy, and evenly-cooked breakfast dish, pictured right. We added butter and Trader Joe's 100% Pure Maple Syrup. Yummers.

To be honest, I kind of liked the Target waffles better. Weirdly enough, I enjoyed the contrast between the crispy, slightly-burnt edges and the soggy, softer insides. In comparison, TJ's waffles seemed dry and boring. Overall, Sonia would go with the Trader Joe's waffles if given a choice between the two, admitting that she did miss the crispiness of the Target batter. But she gives the TJ's batter a solid 4 star rating. Despite my preference of the other batter, I still enjoyed the Trader Joe's batter waffles. I'll give them a 3.5. It's definitely worth a try, and it's probably healthier than most popular pancake batters.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.


  1. Try the TJ Multigrain Pancake and Baking Mix. It is really good.

  2. Definitely going to try it. Thanks!

  3. My husband and I just used the Multigrain mix on Sunday for waffles. I always add a dash of vanilla and sometimes cinnamon for extra flavor. TJ's B Grade syrup & some good thick, center cut bacon completed breakfast!

  4. I find the batter too thick if I follow the instructions so I add extra liquid until I reach the consistency I like. Also I always use milk instead of water and add vanilla. I also make the chocolate chip cookies on the side of the box but add an extra half of cup of sugar.