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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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Trader Joe's Shrimp Corn Dogs

This is one of those items that I have to smile about every time I think of it. Not just because it's tasty, but because it's a silly idea. I wonder who came up with the concept, initially. I wonder whether there was some particular task assigned to Trader Joe's Research and Development department that might have read something like this:

"Corn dogs are awesome. Even fake-meat corn dogs are awesome. Your assignment: put different foods on wooden sticks and cover them with cornbread. Report back with your top three new corn dog discoveries. Go!"

The lucky jerk whose job it was to accomplish this task dutifully paraded out of his office with a handful of cheap wooden chopsticks or perhaps popsicle sticks—or maybe he just grabbed a couple of his cubicle-buddy's no. 2 pencils...he strolled down some boulevard, presumably in Massachusetts or Monrovia, CA, approached some random food trucks and plopped various foods on the sticks, then took them back to his "lab," dipped each item in a cornbread batter and then dunked it in a deep fat fryer. As he tasted each one, he taped his thoughts in a little hand-recorder:

"Hmmm...grilled cheese corndog...very yummy, but messy and impractical."

"Carrot corn dog...certainly edible...with a vegetable tempura-quality...but lacks the zing required of corn dogs."

"Doughnut corn dog...promising for carbivores and the health-unconscious...but we'd be sued for negligent homicide or something..."

"Burger corn dog...hrm...if they weren't circular, this might work..."

"Shrimp corn dog...um...yeah...if this is wrong, then I don't wanna be right."

He pitched the idea to his boss the following day, complete with prototype samples and an experimental predecessor to the sweet and hot chili sauce for dipping. The presentation resulted in promotions, bonuses, and accolades for the aforementioned lucky jerk, and thus, Trader Joe's Shrimp Corn Dogs were born.

Yummerific. The sweet and hot chili dipping sauce isn't hot at all, but other than that, no complaints. Another 4.5 from me.

Sonia says she doesn't like corn dogs. They should be able to deport people for such blasphemy. She's really only a 1st generation American. "Back to Oaxaca, Mexico with you and your misguided family, ma'am...until you learn to appreciate our culture!" She wanted to give them a 3. I told her that was too low. So she said, "Fine. 3.5." She added that there wasn't enough shrimp on the stick. I'll give her that. They should totally go with jumbo shrimp for version 2.0.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

12 comments:

  1. First comment! Oh, how I wish you had more celiac and vegetarian friendly reviews. I will sit here and wait. :)

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  2. Nellie, thanks for your comment. We try to get a fair amount of vegetarian reviews in the mix (not this one, obviously) but we've had so many requests for those items, we might try to do even more. What celiac-friendly items do you recommend?

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  3. Hahahaha! I'm sure I'll be getting a knock on my front door by the corn dog enforcers.

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  4. Cookies and yummy treats, of course. :)

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  5. Sounds interesting. Will look for it next time I go to Trader Joe's.

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  6. Nathan, I swear I thought this had to be a joke when I read the title.

    Also, you have a spam comment above. Might wanna zap it.

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  7. YUMMMM!!! I have got to try these. Thanks for sharing. :-), Susan Cooper

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  8. Saw these today, but hesitated to buy them until I read your review. Will pick up a pack on my next outing. And btw, their HORSERADISH pub cheese on those pumpernickel pretzel sticks is to DIE FOR!!

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  9. Will have to try the horseradish pub cheese w/ pumpernickel pretzels! Thanks!

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  10. Picked up two boxes and just cooked up one for dinner. LOVED THEM. Will cook the other box tomorrow and will hit the store to buy all boxes in the freezer case. They are a great treat. The cornbread tastes sweet and the dipping sauce had a nice mix of pepper and sweet. Thanks. Anyone on the fence should go for it and buy a box.

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  11. These were good. I'm used to buying foster farm's chicken corn dogs and getting like 16 for about $6, so at 5 dollars a box for 6 of them, these are quite a bit more expensive. We each gave it a 4 so 8/10 from my side of things.

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  12. Not fair to compare the cost to the that of a regular corndog, it's like comparing soft-serve ice cream to Creme Brulee -- they both taste good, but you don't expect them to cost the same.

    Love the Shrimp Corndogs. Throw the sauce away, it's nasty.

    9/10. It would be a 10 if it came with a really good tartar or remoulade sauce.

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