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, December 1, 2011

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe's

If there's one thing that Sandy and I continually do not see eye to eye on, it's the question of when it's appropriate to start playing Christmas music each year. I'm a proponent of enjoying each holiday as it comes; ergo, certainly no Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and preferably not until at least a few days into December. That way, I have a fighting chance of not wanting to claw off my bleeding ears from being pa-rum-pa-pum-pummed by the ubiquitous "Little Drummer Boy" for the umpteenth time. Sandy, though? She probably wouldn't play it year-round, but anytime after Labor Day seems to be fair play for her. Ugh. We've come to more or less a truce where she can listen to whatever when I'm not around (of course) and we can play it around the house after our annual "Elf" viewing (probably the greatest Christmas movie in the non-Jimmy Stewart genre, and possibly ever). Too many good scenes...just too many....

I kinda employ the same rule for Christmas-themed treats. We've reviewed plenty of tasty pumpkin-related Turkey Day treats on the blog. Well, now that Thanksgiving is done with, and "Elf" has been satisfactorily watched, it's on with the carols and Christmas cookies. Bring it, I say.

Long time readers (umm, let's see...my mom? Maybe?) may recall last December I reviewed the Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's. Rereading that, I probably sound like more of a grinch than I should have, except I remember not being overly wowed by them. It's probably not surprising that these, the Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's, are pretty much the same thing, except, obviously, being coated in yummy super delicious dark chocolate. And man, what a difference that makes. It's like Inspector Gadget got the assist from Penny or Cher found her auto-tuner. These, the choco-covered ones, are that much better. The candy shell just adds this cacao-richness that helps accentuate all the crumbly cookie wafer yumminess and the minty creaminess of the filling. It also helps that the white mint chunks on the outside aren't hard crunchy candy cane shards like they appear to be but instead soft and full of flavor, too. Altogether, each cookie, even by itself, is a rich and filling treat that satisfies my sweet tooth.

It's a good thing, too, if you gander over at the nutritional info. Like other extremely tasty TJ sandwich cookies, these are something to be taken in moderation. But unlike the Maple Leaf Cookies, I can't knock them too much for that for two reasons: First, it's Christmas. And second, whereas I want to eat as many of the maple cookies as I can, just one of the chocolate-coated minty Joe-Joe's is enough for me. Granted, I may want to eat one of them and maybe then a small something else (50/50 on that), but two of these? That's a bit much, and that means something coming from a big-boned cookie-lovin' kid like myself. They're just too rich for any more.

Sandy liked the regular candy cane cookies last year but she's in love with these. I've seen her munch one pretty much every night since we got them, and usually a big smile accompanies it. "Whatever I gave the other ones, give these a full spoon more," she said. Well, that would make them a perfect five from her. I like them almost as much, except when it comes to holiday cookies, pretty much nothing can beat my mom's or mother-in-law's. I'm lucky and spoiled. That and $3.99 for a sleeve of ten seems perhaps a slight bit high, but not overly so. Just tonight I repurchased some for a workplace potluck (along with some other holiday goodies), and they do seem to be a perfect easy option for a get-together like that if you're not one of those "hoarde-them-all-for-me"-type folks. Something around a four seems about right to me.

Bottom line:
Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons

4 comments:

  1. YUM..I've done my best to steer clear of these the passed couple of trips I have made to my Trader Joes...but you may have sabotaged my efforts with this post! The holidays are the perfect justification ;)!

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  2. I'm with you, NO CHRISTMAS MUSIC until AFTER Thanksgiving, and even then, maybe not until December 1. These are pretty dang good, especially crumbled over some chocolate sorbet ;)

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  3. Hey guys- thanks for posting pictures of the nutrition facts labels of the food you review. I hate falling in love with an item description in the Frequent Flyer then getting to the store and realizing there's no way I want to eat something with 30 grams of fat or 1,500 mg sodium per serving...Well, on purpose anyway.... Keep up the great work and excellent TJ reviews!

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  4. I agree 100% with Sara! Thanks a bunch!

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