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, March 12, 2012

Trader Joe's Santa Fe Style Chicken Flatbread Wrap

It's dangerous to go to Trader Joe's while hungry. I mean, really, it is. I picked up Sandy from work a few nights ago and as we made our way over to TJ's (it's literally halfway between her job and our house). we discussed what we'd like for dinner. When hungry, I tend to go by power of suggestion, and since she's expecting* and all, I asked her what she wanted for dinner. "Hmm...hot dogs and tater tots," she says. I can go for that, and before y'all freak out, we were talking about these nitrate free chicken beauties that TJ's has, so chill, it's cool. We get there, and the front display is all about their Wisconsin cheddar mac 'n cheese. She's already inside with a box in her hand as I pull the cart in. "Ooooh, I meant hot dogs and mac 'n cheese!," she exclaims. Okay, yes dear, we can do that instead. A few more steps in, and we stop and take a look at one or two of our fresh pizza top choices, and as we debate them, I see these new-fangled Santa Fe Style Chicken Flatbread Wraps. Instinctively, I think to myself, "Hmm, lunch?" But the gleam in Sandy's eyes tell me differently. "Dinner! Right here!" Yes, love. I wagered they'd be good with some chips and salsa or something of the sort, but as we walk by the produce, Sandy changes her mind to baked potatoes. So yes, that's what we had for dinner...a prepackaged ready-to-eat convenience item paired with something that takes nearly an hour in the oven so she can take a warm bath before dinner. Somehow, this is normal for us. God, I love her, even though she causes a case of some good ol' non-lice-related headscratchin' every once in a while.

So, here we go, TJ's Santa Fe Style Chicken Flatbread Wrap. It actually should be Wraps as it's a two pack with a cup of salsa verde for your $3.99. I'll start with the not so good, as it's obvious with the accompanying photo here: our wraps came prebusted. Both flatbreads were broken in half when we opened the package, causing some innards to spill out. It's not the first time something got mishandled that we bought, but it was off to a bad start. My theory is the flatbread itself is a little too thick to be flexible enough to roll with the S & H punches. Despite that, the flatbread is pretty decent tasting. as it's all nice and pillowy. There's a bit too much of it, though, especially because there's just not quite enough filling to go around in each wrap. The picture's a little misleading, I think, because if there's one thing it doesn't lack, it's the cheddar. Predictably, it's scroogey in the meat department (between the two, there *might* have been one reputable serving) and there's not enough black beans and corn to fill the void. I mean it all tastes good, there's just not quite enough in it. I think twice as much filling could fit in the wrapper, not that that much more would be necessary. As an added bonus for spice addicts like me, when the packaging just said "peppers" they really meant "jalapeƱos" and the salsa verde is legitimately hot for a salsa verde. I had mine cold as is, which I thought was pretty decent, while Sandy preferred to heat hers up a little, which she said made a big difference to her.

"I wouldn't go out of my way to get this again, but I wouldn't not get it again," Sandy said. Man, her double negatives sometimes...she's as bad with those as I can be with my ellipses while writing..."Maybe if we were on our way to a ballgame or something," she said. Well, I wouldn't recommend trying to eat this while driving, but I got her point, and I agree. I think we both wanted to like it more than we did, because chicken, black beans, corn, salsa, cheese and all, that's our style. It wasn't quite a dinner time fail, but it wasn't all that impressive, though with some tweaks, I think it could be a legitimate star. Eh well. I can't recall if she said a 2.5 or 3 for her rating, so I'm saying whichever one she didn't.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Santa Fe Style Chicken Flatbread Wrap: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* "What? A velociraptor?" as one of our friends likes to say when she hears the phrase "I'm/we're expecting." Cracks me up every time.


  1. I have seen this in the store.. and it does not look good.. Their wraps are so-so.. Let's face it a cold wrap or flatbread can't be all that great.

  2. best raptor comic EVER

  3. This is one of my favorite lunch items at Trader Joe's (we've had ours for less than a year here in KC). What I find interesting, though, is ours comes with a white cheese...not cheddar...and that white cheese is soooo good. In fact, it doesn't look at all like the one in your picture.

    Just discovered this site yesterday...love all the reviews. Keep them coming!

  4. Hi! I just saw your blog, that's awesome you do reviews of TJ's. I just did one of this and it is different than the one I saw at the store. Maybe they up'd the quality since your review?