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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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Trader Joe's Honey Glazed Miso Salmon on Salad Greens

I'm beginning to grow skeptical of Trader Joe's salmon products. The best score we have so far on a TJ's salmon dish was a measly 6.5 stars out of 10. But our biggest complaint about the Mojito Salmon wasn't the salmon itself.

The Sockeye Salmon, however, was a different story. In this case, the salmon completely ruined a halfway decent bag of pasta and vegetables. With a few notable exceptions, we had a lot of comments and emails supporting our findings and opinions about that particular product. The salmon in that bag was just nasty.

Yet, brave adventurers that we are, the foodie-hack bloggers of WG@TJ's plow forth—with our tongue-in-cheek statements of self-aggrandizement held high, ingesting even the most risky of TJ's dishes, hoping that we, for the vicarious benefit of our readers, will discover something unique and tasty and worthy of our hard-earned dollars.

This dish, unfortunately, does not fall into that category.

I must admit that there is generally a huge range of differing experiences when it comes to Trader Joe's already-prepared, refrigerated meals, since the freshness factor can vary a bit, and the amount and quality of each ingredient used can also vary. But again, as in the case of the Sockeye Salmon, we have a meal with great veggies and pasta that is spoiled by a batch of highly-fishy salmon. The dressing was good, the lettuce was fresh, the lo mein was tasty, if maybe a bit too soggy. No major complaints, except for the salmon.

But unfortunately, the salmon is the centerpiece of the meal—or so one would think by looking at the label. I suppose in this case it was a saving grace that there wasn't very much salmon in the salad. What little salmon there was tasted like dirty socks—and yes, I know what dirty socks taste like...long story, don't wanna get into that now #childhoodtraumas.

I'm just going to go ahead and tell you to try it if you're desperate for a lo mein-topped salad with Asian-ish dressing. But be prepared to scoop out the salmon and serve it to a starving stray cat, who very well may pass on the offer.

2.5 out of 5 stars from me. The same from Sonia.

Bottom line: 5 out of 10 stars.


  1. I was mulling this one over when I was at TJ's.. glad I chose another instead!

    1. Personally I think that was a good call. :)

  2. What would you say the price comparison is to that of Whole Foods? I've never been to Trader Joe's before, but I've been to Whole Foods. We are a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, peanut free household. It's often hard to find anything that is free of all of the above without some kind of a warning label on it.

    1. From personal shopping experience I would say TJ's is less expensive than Whole Foods. Although there are some items at TJ's that can be a little overpriced. I agree WF has a better selection for egg free, gluten free items, etc... One thing I recently learned at TJ's is you can request a list with all the TJ's products that are Vegan, Gluten Free, etc...from the cashier or manager. Hope this helps out. :)

  3. Personally I think that was a good call Kalei's Best Friend. :)

  4. Yeah... this was totally gross. I brought it with me for lunch today and it's going directly in the garbage without passing Go. So, I'm heading over to the corner deli to purchase something that's at least edible...

  5. I'm eating one of these salads as I type this, and mine's not bad! I made sure to dig all the way to the back of the salad rack, and grabbed one that expires on 9/22 (three days from today). Agree the amount of salmon is small, but mine is def not fishy nor gym-sock tasting (phew). I purchased it this morning from the Trader Joe's on Showers Dr. in Mountain View CA.

    1. It's been long enough that maybe TJ's has taken the hint and gotten better salmon, because we definitely weren't the only ones who felt the salmon was sub-par...plus, we got ours a long way from CA. Maybe TJ's salmon is better out there for some reason.