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, July 2, 2012

Trader Joe's Wild Blueberry Pie

Since the Fourth of July is right around the corner, we'll go ahead and review this American picnic classic: blueberry pie. Perhaps it's not as stereotypically American as apple pie, but it's made with real Maine blueberries, and if you serve it on a traditional tablecloth like the one in the photo to the left, you've got an authentic slice of Americana, complete with red, white, and blueberry pie.

Upon first bite, I was a little disappointed with the texture and taste of the crust. It's a poor imitation of homemade, it lacks uniqueness, and while I wouldn't call it "stale," it's way too stiff to feel like it's even approaching "fresh." Plus, it's entirely bland.

The blueberries were a shade more exciting. Hundreds of perfect little blueberries in a subtly-sweet, semi-syrupy sauce saved the flavor of this pie. Coming straight out of the fridge, however, there was still an overall firmness that left me feeling like I was munching on something that fell a great deal short of the high standards I hold TJ's to.

Sonia microwaved her second piece for twenty seconds or so, and claimed that it greatly improved the pastry. I followed suit, and wouldn't you know it—the pie took a giant leap in the direction of delicious. Still, the crust couldn't be redeemed entirely, but the smoothness of the blueberry elements all but made up for it.
Could be if you tried this pie at an actual outdoor picnic that the hundred degree temperatures would have a similar effect as twenty seconds in the microwave. But served cold or warm, it's still a far cry from fresh-baked. However, keeping in mind that it's ready-made, sitting on a shelf, and only about $5 for a whole pie, we'll be merciful when we give our scores.

Sonia and I are on the same page with this one. 3 stars a piece. Not bad.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.


  1. Blueberry pie is my favorite and I was very disappointed with this pie. I warmed it in the oven and the crust as still terrible. I can not believe that the same company that makes apple blossoms make this mess of a pie.

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