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?"

Search This Blog

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Trader Joe's Super Nutty Toffee Clusters

Ah...remember the 80's? (cue Goat Boy's baa-ing). Sonia and I got into an epic conversation the other day about how great it was growing up in the 80's. Two of the prime components of those glorious youthful days were Saturday morning cartoons and the breakfast cereals we'd inhale as we consumed those primitive animated TV shows—or "30 minute-long toy commercials" as some have put it. A cynical, yet not inaccurate observation.

The conversation flowed over Masters of the Universe, She-Ra, and beyond. The Smurfs (before they were C.G.) and the Shirt Tales were mentioned. We disagreed a bit on cereals. I thoroughly enjoyed tooth-rotting rice and sugar based cereals like Fruity Pebbles, while Sonia preferred tooth-rotting corn and sugar based cereals like Froot Loops. (Mexicans are all about their maize). But we had some common ground on tooth-rotting oat and sugar based cereals like Lucky Charms, which we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Then we proceeded to talk about the "healthy" cereals we enjoy as adults, such as Basic 4, Raisin Nut Bran, and Cracklin' Oat Bran. All classics. And in my opinion, they all overshadow this Nutty Toffee nonsense. It's certainly not terrible, but it's not my favorite. As much of a sweet tooth as I may have, I'm not really into the whole "toffee" thing. I've eaten some Heath and Skor bars in my day, but they're just nothing compared to Zero or Snickers. It must be the nougat. (Note to self: invent cereal featuring massive amounts of nougat and market it as being sorta healthy).

But anyway, I do have to be almost kinda sort of slightly objective. My opinion isn't the only opinion. So I'm going to semi-objectively describe this cereal to you. It's similar to Honey Bunches of Oats or Honey Nut Clusters. The flakes are light and...well, flakey. And then there are little clustery things. (Hence the word "cluster" in the title). Only, in this cereal the clusters are full of mapley-nutty-toffee-matter instead of honey-oat-matter. They could have totally called this "Nutty Bunches of Toffee." Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind Honey Bunches of Oats or anything, I just don't think it's among the truly great cereals of our time like the ones mentioned in the paragraph above. It's a little overrated if you ask me. Also, you'll have to love toffee to love this cereal. And nuts. And not just good nuts like almonds and pecans, but also Brazil nuts—which, in my humble opinion, are nearly as revolting as pine nuts, which are, in my humble opinion, the worst nuts EVER. (Brazil nuts being the second to worst nuts EVER). Again, don't get me wrong. I love Brazil. Two of the nicest people I've ever met were from Brazil. I roomed with one of them for a while. And I absolutely admire that country's commitment to using biodiesel instead of ozone-depleting fossil fuels. And they produce good soccer players. It's just their nuts I'm not a big fan of.

Sonia gives Trader Joe's Toffee-ish Clusters of Nuts a 3.5. She likes it overall, but thinks it's too hearty. She's not crazy about Brazil nuts either. I give it a 2.5. But if you're a fan of Brazil nuts, toffee, Honey Bunches of Oats, and little clustery do-dads, then by all means, go for it.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10 stars.


  1. Sonia thinks it's too hearty? I love that in my breakfast.

  2. Yeah...too hearty. I don't think hearty is a bad thing. I just wasn't a huge fan of the taste. Not terrible. But not amazing, either...

  3. Kerry

    Super Nutty Toffee Clusters is by far my favorite cereal! I eat about 10 boxes a month or more. My wife is Chinese and also loves it, and not many other U.S. foods.
    Only problem is I have to drive round trip 3 hours to buy it, not counting shopping. If anyone has a suggestion on where to buy this online, that would be exciting.