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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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trader Joe's Mini Cheddar Chipotle Potato Bites

Okay, for once, I don't have any long, drawn-out cutesy tales about potatoes or whatever. I can't even think of a decent way I can use these Trader Joe's Mini Cheddar Chipotle Potato Bites to poke some fun at my wife. I mean, a potato is a potato, right? There's really not anything that can be said for it, except, dangit, they're good in nearly every incarnation. I cannot think of a single bad thing to say about potatoes, which is really kinda the best thing one can say about something. Potatoes are even better when you use them as base for all sorts of toppings and goodies. For me, it's tough to beat a little butter and some cheese, but if there's bacon, some sour cream, and something spicy available, well, hey, they're all welcome to the party, too. I don't discriminate.

That's pretty much exactly what you get with these potato bites. For $3.99 a box, you get a bunch of the little Lilliputian hors d'oeuvres which are a reasonable knock-off of one of those 37 pieces of flair-type restaurant appetizers. They're kinda better in some ways while not as good in others. Let me explain. First and foremost, when's the last time you actually tasted any potato in a loaded potato skin-type dish? For me, I'd have to say...never. There's all the stuff glopped on top that keeps your tastebuds way too otherwise occupied. Not these Trader Joe's tasty taters. Every single bite had plenty of warm, soft, baked potato to it. Absolutely delicious in that regard.

The issue is, aside from the potato, the predominant tastes are cheddar cheese and sour cream, both of which are pretty mild. Now that's not a bad thing, but both the box and my eyes tell me there's also supposed to be chipotle peppers and bacon in here. Can't taste either, though, and I really wish I could. There's maybe a vague hint of smokiness but that's as close as it gets. That's kinda disappointing, because dangit, I know how good potatoes and cheese and bacon and hot peppers taste together. That's what I like to fill my own homemade pierogis with, and with a little sour cream to top them off, they're perfect. These could be almost as good...oh great...I just made myself hungry for homemade pierogis...do you have any idea how much work those are?...dangit...I digress...

Anyways, Sandy loves these potato bites. Loves them. From what I've heard she's been yapping to a bunch of her coworkers how good they are, and in the few days since we've polished them off, she's said more than once about how much she wishes we still had some around the house to munch on down. The only slightly negative thing I've heard her say about them is how she wishes they had just a little kick to them. Anyways, they're a 4.5 in her book, and I imagine next tme we go to TJ's she'll pick these up and give me the puppy dog eyes to convince me to get them again. She won't have to try too hard, because overall I like them too, despite how much better the mini spuds could be. Let's say I like them 3.5 Golden Spoons worth.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mini Cheddar Chipotle Potato Bites: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. I love potatoes in every shape color and form! I can't wait to grab a box of these next time I go to TJs.


  2. I've been thinking about buying these for those times when someone drops by unexpectedly.

  3. They no longer offer this product, per the trader joes in AZ...I have written a complaint about that..If you love this, complain to them