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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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trader Joe's Maple Leaf Cookies

I really don't know why Canada gets so much flack. Don't know what I mean? Google "Blame Canada" and that'll give you a brief lesson. It's a lovely nation, having visited it close to ten times myself. Montreal? Great city, as close as to being in Europe while still being in North America, as possible. Niagara Falls? A wee bit commercialized, but beautiful, and Niagara-on-the-Lake is pretty charming. And let's not discount what some famous Canadians have done to make our world a better place. Alexander Graham Bell? Jack Warner (founded Warner Bros.)? Bryan Adams? All Canadians. Arcade Fire is one seriously underrated band. And let's not forget my favorite Canadian contribution to society...Tim Hortons. Man oh man, Sandy and I love us some Timmy Ho's. Not that there's one in Pittsburgh (okay, a coffee stand at the Consol Energy Center), but while traversing to a neighboring state to procure some TJ goodies not available in PA (the really good, fairly good, and just plain bad), there's one or two stateside shops we can stop at for a sandwich/coffee/doughnut break. Two summers ago, before relaxing at my grandparents' cabin in Maine for a couple nights, we stopped at the Portland shop, and were incredibly irked when the lady in front of us bought every last Timbit that we were so eagerly waiting to munch on over the course of our stay, and were resigned to buying a dozen regular donuts. That just seemed so much more, I dunno, overtly gluttonous or something, and despite being so tasty and delicious, both of us were pretty aware of what we ate and how bad it was for us.

It's kinda like that with Trader Joe's Maple Leaf Cookies. I'll start with the positive: superbly delicious. Seriously, with just about anything maple-related, these were right up my alley. These are big, huge honking cookies, with two thick maple leaf-shaped shortbread cookies tinged with maple sandwiching a mega-swath of maple cream. Think Double-Stuffed Oreos on steroids except far, far tastier. The filling is rich and sweet and practically dripping with maple goodness, and I'm a sucker for a good shortbread wafer to boot. I want to eat and eat and eat these, and wash them down with a tall glass of milk poured right from the bag. On the merits of taste alone, both Sandy and I agree: pantheon contender, almost a certain shoo-in.

Except one thing...look at the second picture here. That's for one cookie. I've said it before, and will say it again, that I'm not a prude when it comes to nutritional info. Tastes good, eat it, I say, and damn the torpedoes. Usually. I'm slowly working myself out of that mindset, and this is one singular cookie we're talking about, with no inherent nutritional value nor any expectations thereof. It's like a luxury item, and for something so good it makes you want to eat more than one, well, before too long you could find yourself in some trouble that'll take more than just curling to work off. I don't there's much harm in having one, but that's not where I want to stop.

I needed something else to help justify the relatively low score these will be earning, because really, I wanted to five these babies up, but can't. I looked all over the box for something, anything, and saw that on the front, these are clearly labeled as "Maple Leaf Cookies" with "cream" filling. Well, I'm not sure if the side of the box was printed in Quebec or something, because it refers to the product as "Maple Creme Cookies" with "creme" filling. C'mon now, you couldn't expect to blow that past me like a Gretzky slapshot, could ya, Trader Joe? That's yet some more silly packaging from you. Gotta love it.

Sandy insists we've had them before, but I don't remember that at all. They really do deliver for a sweet, maple-y, sugary treat, but for Sandy and me at least, we have to begrudgingly hold ourselves to one, and that makes it harder to enjoy them, and so we may not spend our loonies and toonies on them for a bit again ($3.29 American for the box). Me forgetting about allegedly buying them before must have been a psychological defense mechanism, kinda like what kicks in whenever I hear Celine Dion and remember I saw "Titanic" three times in the theaters. Ugh. Sandy's divided between a 3 and a 3.5 for these, as am I.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

6 comments:

  1. AhhH! Look so good
    Blame Canada, indeed.

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  2. I agree they are pretty good, but I can only indulge in one which sucks!

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  3. I love these. I stopped buying them because I would eat the whole box in two days. Sigh.

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  4. Have you looked at the nutritional info on the Oreo cookies box? In my book cookies should be a yummy sweet indulgence and I will get my healthy calories somewhere else.

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  5. Indeed, the best cookies ever. Please become a fan of me on Facebook and tell your friends (unless you want to keep me a secret) :)

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trader-Joes-Maple-Leaf-Cookies/185494041486313

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  6. I saw these today, but I passed on them, as my dog is obsessed with maple and always finds a way to eat anything maple I buy!

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