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, March 22, 2012

Trader Joe's Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips and Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus

Sometimes, I'll admit, I get a little tired of some of Trader Joe's offerings. Take, for example, these pretzels. I definitely think they're good and all, but I feel like I pick them up every week for work lunches along with some of the same Mexi-knockoff fare. A big part of it is, I just don't see a great alternative most of the time, so I go to what I know what I can rely on. But still, I want to try something new if TJ's could just be bothered to go put something new on the shelves. By in large, I've felt the same about a lot of their chip and dip offerings. Granted, some combos are great, but when a few months go by and it's still the same old same old, well, I begin to get antsy for something new.

Sandy and I found ourselves in this boat on our most recent trip. We had plans to have some friends and family over for some homemade calzones later that night, so dangit, we needed a great, easy appetizer. The Falafel Chips (which we've had and chomped down before we thought about snapping a decent picture of them) were out of stock yet again* so we were down one tasty (and out of consideration for one guest, gluten-free) alternative. It wasn't looking good until...

Boom! Trader Joe's Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips practically rose from the dusty bin like some cheesy glowing sitcom deus ex machina. Okay, well, not quite, but you get what I mean. It wasn't even a question, especially when considering some past tremendous experiences with some other bean-and-grain chips. Man, these chips are amazing. Each chip is thick and crunchy like any good stoneground corn tortilla chip should be, but have the added texture of quinoa coating sprinkled on each "bean-wah" chip (as I've caught myself calling them). Every bite definitely delivered not only that, but also a full tasty flavor coming from the beans with just the right amount of garlic and onion salt. Some might say they're a little salty, but to me, they're just right, as each chip is fully flavored on its own, but the taste won't interfere with your dip of choice. These were a great option with some leftover chipotle hummus we had from the week before, as well as...

...some Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus we picked up at the same time. Granted, this hummus isn't exactly a new product as we've seen it a few times, but haven't really tried it out, so let's just call it "new for us," mmmkay? Kinda like our recent vehicle purchase in that regard. Anyways, as we try to coach our two-and-a-half year old nephew to say, "hummus is yummus" and this one is no exception. Edamame is the rare veggie for Sandy in that it's acceptable in pretty much any fashon at any time. To call this a "hummus" seems a little off to me. Sure, it has all the good ingredients like tahini and garlic, etc, in it, but texture-wise it seems closer to a smooth guacamole rather than the usual smushed semi-grainy chickpea-ness of typical hummus. I'd say that it doesn't have an overly strong flavor - a little garlic, a little pepper, and a little, well, edamame - but paired together with these chips, I think it was perfect. Literally. No complaints at all.

I'll switch it up and do my ratings first this time. I might just be a little excited about some new flavors, but the quinoa/black bean chips are a rock solid perfect 5, while the edamame hummus...oh, what the heck, a 5 as well. Put the two together, and it's a personal pantheon level snack. While I didn't poll our dinner guests, judging by how everyone was scrambling for the chips and digging into the hummus, I'd say they weren't far behind. Sandy, though? Maybe she's returning the favor of me keeping these ridiculously good cookies from getting perfect marks, because I know she really liked them but she won't go with full fives. "Oh, something like a four for the beany chips, and something good for the humus, like a 3 or 3.5 or something," she said. I wanted to ask for a fuller explanation but she gave me a look that indicated that wouldn't be the best of ideas, so let's leave it at that. Eh well, For me personally, I can't wait to get tired of this snackalicious combo.

Bottom lines:
Trader Joe's Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
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* Yet another First World Problem.

5 comments:

  1. That edamame hummus is one of the best things I've ever eaten. The fact that it has 4x the fat of regular hummus might have something to do with it. I try not to buy it or I'll east the whole thing.

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  2. I need to try both of these asap! looks so good

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  3. I had the hummus once - ate the whole container in one sitting. I had it, however, with TJ's falafel chips - the combo was amazing!

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  4. These chips are ridiculously delicious. Especially with spicy guacamole. Ridiculous. It's like crack. Haha

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