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, September 8, 2011

Trader José's Chipotle Pepper Hummus and Mini Pitas

"Oh, that Chipotle is so HOT right now!" And I mean that as a double entendre. First of all, it seems to be very "in" right now. What with a restaurant by the same name, products like this tasty salsa at the grocery store, and places like McDonald's dumping chipotle BBQ sauce on wraps and burgers, it seems impossible to escape it these days.

But I assure you, I had never even heard of chipotle peppers until 5 or 10 years ago. It looks like the chipotle pepper is having its day in the sun. And yes, I intend that as a double entendre as well. (Chipotles are often sun-dried or smoke-dried).

Not only are chipotles popular, but they're actually really, really hot. And there's the catch. A real, unadulterated chipotle pepper would burn the average American's tongue right off. They're really spicy. I think it has to do with the fact that a lot of our friends to the south have immigrated to the U.S. and they've brought many of their tasty eating habits with them. "But Señor José, there are still a lot of white people in America! How can they enjoy such a spicy pepper?" Easy. Just use it to flavor a myriad of other products without actually adding any whole peppers. And that's what we have here: another chipotle-flavored product without the full brunt of the spice.

It had just the right amount of kick to keep me interested, but not so much that it burned my mouth. It was a good, creamy hummus with plenty of flavor. The spice-factor was roughly the same caliber as Trader Joe's Spicy Hummus, only this was a different flavor. The only hummus I've had that could beat it hands down in a taste-test would be Sabra. I'm a big fan of their hummus, but TJ's is a not-too-distant second. Sonia agrees.

As for the mini-pitas...well, we've reviewed a few other kinds of Trader Joe's pitas like this and this. And these are, well um, smaller. They maybe seemed just a tad on the dry side, but really—it's quite convenient to have bite-sized pitas. It cuts down on the temptation to double-dip and such. They really need to come up with a good gluten-free pita substitute. If anyone knows of such a thing at Trader Joe's or elsewhere, please leave us a comment below.

Well, let's finalize our score here: Sonia gives four's to both products. I'll see that four on the hummus, but it's a tad too rich for my blood on the pitas. I'll give 'em a respectable 3.5.

Trader José's Chipotle Pepper Hummus. Bottom line: 8 out of 10.
Trader Joe's Mini Pitas. Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.


  1. I will have to try this. It sounds really yummy.

    Susan Cooper

  2. I love biltong and feta mini pitas!

    Congrats on your Blogs of note!

  3. Hi! I found you via Blogs of Note -- congratulations for being part of the list! I love Trader Joe's too. The selection is impeccable, there's always something new, the packaging is whimsical and the prices are just so right. They also have a guarantee that if you don't like a particular product, you can return it to them even if it's open already. I did just that and they gave me a refund and didn't give me a hard time as to why I was doing so. Trader Joe's rocks!

  4. CONGRATS on being chosen a Blog of Note! I'm glad I found your blog!!

    Common Cents

  5. I like your blog. The hummus sounds good to me, although I can see it being to hot for some. Sabra Hummus is my fav. I will give this a try.

  6. I just found you on Blogs of Note. Never been to a Trader Joes, but heard a lot about it and NOW one is supposed to be coming to San Antonio. Can't wait to try it. (And I've bookmarked the site so I can revisit the stuff to try.)

  7. First: Congratulations
    on your "Blog of Note" Award!

    from NFL Classifieds

    Secondly: (Though more importantly.)
    What a great blogging idea! Definitely a blog that will come in handy. "Bookmarked!"

  8. Hey, I LOVE TJ's but I also know Aldi, which is closer (for now) to me. The same company, and often similar or the same products. I shop there, and have the same issues you have with TJ's...

    Congrats on being a blog of note! :=D

  9. Dang it. It sounds Delicious and down here in East Texas, we have no Trader Joe's. The closest one is 575 miles away in Kansas.

    Pamela Jo

  10. Thanks for all your comments! So glad you all found us through Blogs of Note. Hope the site is helpful! I guess if the closest Trader Joe's is 575 miles away, it won't be too helpful...at least not until TJ's expands their territory a little bit...

  11. Great blog. I must disagree about the chipotle hummus though. Personally, I found it to be fairly bland (this is coming from someone who eats real chipotle). If you have a minute, check out our cooking blog. Most of our ingredients are from Trader Joes: http://inthemakingfoodforthought.blogspot.com/

  12. In case anyone is still reading this- a GF sub for pita in hummus is actually Sesmark brown rice crackers even though they are crunchy. They're tiny and thin and just rice so they make a great base for other stuff although I also like them plain. I use them for dipping in hummus all the time after trying other things. I get them by the case...

    1. Excellent info for our gluten free readers. Thanks, jw!