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, October 10, 2011

Trader Joe's Lamb Vindaloo

I'm sorry. I think lambs, in general, are very fun, cute, little animals. I, however, don't have any fun, cute, little stories about them whatsoever. So let's just get on with the business of talking about eating them, shall we?

Trader Joe's Lamb Vindaloo. As you can see, it's another frozen Indian entree that Trader Joe's has concocted for us. That means one thing if you want to eat it for lunch: a microwave. Hmm, microwavable lamb. As one of our fans aptly said, that's kinda a scary notion, so it was with a little bit of trepidation that I bought this for myself. Sandy though? She was all about giving it the old college try. Nuked peppers scare her off. Nuked lamb bits don't. Go figure. Lamb might be her favorite meat after bacon, so I'm sure that has something to do with it. We've tried pretty much every other Indian offering fom Trader Joe's, so we were hoping it'd be good

Tell ya what: it's different from all the other Indian dishes, and that's a good thing. As much as I'd enjoyed the different curries and tikka masalas and all, to me, after a bit, they began to taste very much the same with only a little differentiation between them all. Not the lamb vindaloo. I love spicy foods and have a higher tolerance for capsaicin-driven cuisine then just about anyone I know; where most of the other Indian dishes registered maybe a four on my 1-to-10 spicy scale, this registered a good solid 8. It didn't make me misty or anything, but it did my nose run a little, and had me plenty thirsty at the end. The sauce was red and rich and savory and had a good burn to it. This is definitely the spiciest thing I've bought yet from Trader Joe's. Loved it. The rice on the side, of course, was nothing special until some excess sauce (of which there was plenty) got involved.

The lamb, though? For what was there, it was surprisingly good, I thought. I got three decent sized chunks, and each bite wasn't fatty or stringy or gristly at all, but instead tender, juicy, and roasted to just about right. I haven't had much lamb in my life, but still, it struck me as good lamb. The down part? Well, just like pretty much every other Trader Joe "meat and something else" product, there wasn't enough of it. I've heard it said that a serving of meat equals something the size of a pack of playing cards (standard ones, not, as much as I would like it to be, those mega ones I swear Bob Barker had but couldn't find a picture of). The three bites I had, judging fairly, equaled maybe 2/3s of a deck. C'mon, I had an afternoon of insurance fustercluck solving ahead of me, I need me some more red meat than that some days, TJ's.

Anyways, before we get to the final wrap-up, you may notice the second picture I have put in this review. Some fans have requested nutritional info on the items we review. As a pharmacy employee (i.e., someone with a vested interest in having as much of the population on Lipitor as possible) and not a nutritional expert by any means, I don't feel too qualified to break it all down. I can, however, take a picture of the nutritional label and have you, the reader, decide if it's something you'd want to try or forego, figure out Weight Watcher points, rally against sodium, etc. I'll make it a point to include a picture of the label in all my posts going forward, and as I have time (and as I repurchase things), update some of the older posts, too.

Okay, let's wrap ths up. Sandy absolutely loved this. She had it for a work dinner last week, and when I picked her up, she raved about it all the way home. Sandy said the lamb was on par with a lot of other times she's had it, and loved all the spices. Like me, though, she didn't love that there wasn't quite enough of it, which was what knocked it down to a 3.5 for her. That seems a little low to me, but yeah, there isn't enough lamb, which makes the $3.99 price point seem a little high. Knock a little off the price, or better yet, sneak in just a couple more bites of tasty lamb meat, and it'll do better than the 4 I'll bestow upon it.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

16 comments:

  1. Haven't tried this, but btw was at tj's and they're pushing the meat lasagna (frozen)... it was good but a bit salty for my taste.. does taste homemade tho... I was told the veggie lasagna wasn't as flavorful :-( ... If I ate meat I'd buy the meat lasagna for sure.

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  2. I need to try that. It sounds really yummy.

    Susan Cooper

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  3. Lamb... hm I have never tried it in my 18 years! I'm sure I will eventually, does it taste like chicken? haha I think I would rather pet the lamb then eat it for dinner!

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  4. Haha, well, no, lamb doesn't really taste like chicken. Kinda like beef but not exactly. It's pretty good, you should try it, no matter how cute the animal is!

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  5. I have mixed feelings about the Lamb Vindaloo. I mostly love it. But there have been several occasions now where the few pieces of lamb I get are extremely fatty. Also, I cannot fathom how they get 26 grams of protein in the meal. But I just can't help myself, I still love eating it.

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  6. I just bought this last night. The lamb was surprisingly good for a frozen dinner. I thought the sauce was on this side of too spicy. I always pair my Indian dinners with some mango chutney (trader joe's is awesome) and some trader joe's naan. Makes for an excellent filling meal....just one more thing, even when ordering lamb dishes at indian restaurants, you don't get a lot relative to the amount of sauce. I think this dinner is well worth the value.

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  7. I am a huge fan of Trader Joes! Glad i found your blog. i have recently started reviewing some of their products in my food blog as well!

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  8. Just thought I'd add my two-cents as a British ex-pat, and thoroughly acquainted with Indian cuisine. The dish was good, not nearly as hot as a traditional vindaloo, think more madras, however the flavour profile was pretty authentic, and quite tasty. TJ's does a good job of slaking my cravings for the Indian food of home, I might just need two of them for a meal though.

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  9. I just ate this. I'm Indian so I guess I have a little higher standards. I only had two pieces of lamb. Blegh. To me, this didn't taste any different than Ethnic Gourmet microwaveable food and didn't really taste at all like lamb vindaloo I've had. I'd much rather spend $10 on an Indian lunch buffet. But I do love this blog and often consult it before and after my TJ's experiences. :)

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  10. Love this dish - and at 330 calories it fits well into my daily diet. It is VERY spicy and that spice keeps you filled!

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  11. this is the best frozen dinner and ever eaten I love it I buy four and still want more.

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  12. Get a life - and cook your own meals from scratch! TJs has many great product - but frozen meals are not one of them.

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  14. I think I'll try this frozen dinner. I'm not a big frozen foods person because I generally want and enjoy making my food fresh from scratch. However, I do find the unsophisticated negative attitude toward frozen dinners off-putting and possibly driven by less-than-classy folks trying to not appear so. Why would anybody take issue with microwaveable lamb as opposed to beef, pork, or chicken? Because lamb is exotic to them, in other words not normalized, and in yet other words they're not very comfortable with it. What does this communicate? That they're not as sophisticated as they'd like to think! At any rate, I'm not a huge fan of Trader Joe's because of their part in the corporate takeover of America, but they do offer some interesting products. I've been in the store that opened near me maybe a few times, and I think I'll go back for the frozen vindaloo and keep an eye open for anything else interesting.

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  15. I love the Lamb Vindaloo. I wish they offered more pieces of lamb but otherwise, I have no complaints. This is one of my favorite TJ's treats.

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  16. I have a severe dairy allergy, so this is a fantastic option for me on days when I'm too tired to cook after work. It also keeps nicely till lunch just sitting out when I work someplace that has an accessible microwave. They're good out of the micro, but WAY better from the oven. More would be better,

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