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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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Trader Joe's Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches

There are some definite signs to the seasons here in Pittsburgh. In our neighborhood, one of the surest signs of summer is the ice cream truck slowly driving up and down the streets peddling its frozen delicious treats. Please understand, though, this is no normal ice cream truck. It's downright spooky. Imagine a medium gray van from the '70s, plastered with Yosemite Sam and random cartoon stars, a low growl from the engine only slightly covered over by Kidsong Muzak, driven by some crusty/skeevy looking dude in a faded ballcap. I swear I once saw Chris Hansen trailing right behind him. Every spring, once it's finally thawed out, it's this same van, over and over again, circling the neighborhood like clockwork. That's when I know it's just about summer, and I wouldn't change it for anything. That's my neighborhood, and I love it.

Of course, with Labor Day already past, summer's practically over. Some signs of that in Pittsburgh: cooler air in the morning, finally no palpable humidity, even more folks wearing Steelers' jerseys (not sure how that's possible - they're practically the dress code year-round here), and of course, the Pirates becoming increasingly irrelevant each passing game. Sandy and I figured we might as well enjoy these last few weeks by trying out yet another tasty TJ treat from the ice cream aisle, and opted for one of the all-time ice cream truck classics (Bomb Pops not withstanding, of course).

In case you can't tell from the picture, the Trader Joe's Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches are more of the chipwich variety than the standard slab of vanilla ice cream planking between a couple chocolate wafers. That's what usually what I think of when I hear "ice cream sandwich." Instead of that, think of the best chipwich you've ever had. These, if not No. 1, will be a very very close runner-up. The real stand-out part of them is the two cookies - absolutely delicious. They seem to intentionally be a little half-baked so they're more soft and chewy and rich than hard and crunchy. Sandy said they taste a little cinnamony almost, but there's no cinnamon in them. I can't deny, though, that there seems to be a little something extra to them that makes 'em real tasty, and I'm just not sure what it is. I don't care, they're just good. The rest of the sandwich is pretty much standard issue - tasty chocolate chips, decent vanilla ice cream - and they're all good sized and absolutely delicious as a whole. I kinda wish the ice cream was a little richer or more flavorful, as it is pretty plain even by vanilla standards, but is the right consistency and keeps cold enough to not turn into a melty mess without chilling your chompers, either.

Both Sandy and I are fans. These, like the band who's name TJ's snuck into the product title, are definitely worthy of the summertime stamp of approval. Lovin's *What I Got* for these, as you can't go the *Wrong Way* with them. You won't ever find 'em at the *Pawn Shop*...okay, enough stupid song title puns, and on to the rankings. Sandy said she "might have to give them a five" for the overall package. Hrmm. To me, either something's a five or it isn't, but I choose to not delve into my wife's thinking pattern too deeply (much safer then) and roll with that five. I'm going to go with a 4 - almost perfect, that vanilla just has to step up its game a little. Regardless, if you pick up a couple four-packs of the TJ's chipwiches, in your freezer, you can have your own *40 oz. to Freedom*...uh, yeah, cuz the packages are 20 ounces each...

Sorry.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons

22 comments:

  1. these are what get me out of the bed in the morning! hehe.

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  2. In California, it's ice cream weather at least 10 months out of the year. These puppies get 10 out of 10 in our house! So yummy!

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  3. Next up you should try the S'mores Ice Cream Sandwiches? A-ma-zing.

    Oh and I picked up a bar of the Dark Chocolate Caramel with Black Sea Salt thanks to your review. Saying that it made my day is an understatement!

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  4. Seriously. This is one of my all time favorites.

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  5. I love these!!!! When you really need a ice cream and cookie fix, it really fits the bill. :D
    Susan Cooper

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  6. Super blog and nice writings

    Thanks for all posts

    Thanks in advance for coming posts...

    Keep writing...............

    By

    Biz and Legis
    Bankruptcy Legal Service providers

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  7. Awesome! My mom would love this blog!

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  8. We love TJ's too! Just got our first here in Charleston, SC. If you love food, check out our food blog: www.bumblechickfood.blogspot.com.

    Congrats on Blog of Note!

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  9. I have to agree with Lauren. The S'mores Ice Cream Sandwiches are pretty darn good too.

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  10. These are delicious but the number of calories in each cookie is ridiculous.

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  11. Sara- I went into TJs wanting to get the s'mores ones, but Sunday nights= not much on the shelves, so next time!

    jnickle-Shhhh... we don't mention calories ;)

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  12. Just found your website and I LURVE TJ's!!! Only suggestion, it would be nice if you could post pictures of what the food that you're reviewing looks like outside of the package. For example, how big the ice cream sandwich is above on a plate or compared to quarter. Or if its frozen, what it looks like pre/post heating.

    Thanks for being a TJ's taste-tester! ;)

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  13. These by far are my most favorite thing at Trader's!! They are pricey but so so worth it! I get them as a "special" treat for my husband and I on occasion, although I end up eating all 4 :)

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  14. A cheaper and less caloric alternative is their soy mini creamy chocolate sandwiches. My kids love them too.

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  15. Yeah, if you're counting calories, these might not be the product for you...but worth it if you're not on a diet!

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  16. We've bought them many times and always enjoy them, but I agree that the ice cream could be a bit richer (or just have an extra shot of vanilla). I haven't seen the s'mores version yet, but will have to try them at least once!

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  17. these are great BUT if you want richer, tastier and purely sublime the Ciao Bella Key Lime Gelato Squares are the ticket... http://www.specialtyfood.com/news-trends/featured-articles/sofi-awards/ciao-bella-gelato-key-lime-graham-gelato-squares/

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  18. Wow. We have these (different brand but looks the same) near home , if these taste half as good as the ones I buy they will be fantastic. Yummo!

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  19. Soon much fat (21g per chipwitch)! They are amazing but I think I'd prefer a Skinny Cow alternative and eat 5x as many with the same nutritional value.

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  20. One of my favorite items as well. And yet another TJ product I have banned myself from purchasing due to my striving to eat healthier, though at least the portion control is in place with this one. But it's a whopper of calories. Well worth them, though.

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  21. Love these. Only wish they had chocolate chips INSIDE them as well as on the outer edge. And they could be bigger. What's with so many TJs portions being so small?

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