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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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trader Joe's Tofu

I think the first time I ever had tofu, it was in an Asian restaurant. They served a salty miso soup with mysterious little white cubes that I later came to find out were the notorious vegan food sensation. I didn't mind it at all, before or after I found out what it was, though I think my enjoyment of the soup was heavily reliant upon its massive amount of sodium rather than the tofu.

Tofu is very neutral. It has very little flavor. The texture is neutral as well. It's not chewy, tough or gritty at all. A lot of people are very pro-tofu. A lot of others are highly anti-tofu. But I myself am appropriately neutral toward the bland brick of soybean curd. And in regards to it, I apply this vaguest of notions: "It is what it is."

In my opinion, tofu depends entirely on what's going on around it. In this particular instance, we served it with Trader Joe's Mélange à Trois. As clever a play on words as it is, I'm not sure why the label on a bag of vegetables should be alluding to group sex at all. Call me conservative, but by the same token, I find it utterly revolting when I see T-shirts that boast something along the lines of "I got crabs at some random seafood place." Mmm. STD's. How appetizing.

At any rate, Trader Joe's veritable orgy of peppers did spruce up our tofu quite a bit. It is ultra-convenient to have all three basic colors of bell peppers already sliced inside one bag. But the excitement didn't stop there. We also added some onions, hot sauce and Trader Joe's Organic Whole Milk Yogurt as a sour cream substitute. Yummy.

The yogurt is plain and simple, just as it should be. TJ's didn't do anything crazy or original. They sell it in a nice big container for a reasonable price. Good stuff. Some people are quite skeptical about using plain yogurt in place of sour cream, but it's worth a try if you're looking to cut a bit of unnecessary fat out of your meal. Although, substituting sour cream with plain frozen yogurt would be a different story entirely.

We served the whole concoction inside Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas. I could have sworn we reviewed these before, but I guess I was thinking of the Reduced Carb Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas. These are similar, but with more carbs, I suppose. More carbs = more deliciousness. They're nutty and they have a good whole grain flavor.

The resulting tofu fajitas were surprisingly flavorful, flaunting a plethora of different textures. I certainly wouldn't have minded a bit of chicken in the mixture, but the tofu did an adequate job of giving the meal a good hearty base and some protein.

In the past, when I've reviewed multiple TJ's products like this, I would give a breakdown with a different score for each product. However, Sonia and I agree that each of these products, as well as the finished conglomeration of them, are all deserving of the same score. Four out of five stars from Sonia and four out of five stars from me for each product.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

3 comments:

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  2. tofu takes practice, but, once you master cooking it, it's a nice treat. I like to do hot-and-sour soup once winter hits and love it for stir-fry. One of my old cookbooks SOMEWHERE has a great recipe for a kind of a baked "fritter" using tofu. Also love it marinated and grilled...extra firm and well-drained then seasoned up and grilled or baked, it has a nice, cheesy texture and a good flavour. Keep on working with it!!

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    1. PS, not vegetarians around here, either...just try to have some non-meat meals regularly.

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