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, August 29, 2012

Trader Joe's Strawberry Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

I hate to start things off with a semi-non-related gripe, but, well, it's my blog post and you can't stop me. Last week the night before my birthday, all I wanted to do was go out to Rita's with Sandy, Baby M, and our trusty mutt (he usually gets a dish of vanilla ice cream on the house there!). Anyways, I had to work a little late, come home home, make dinner, eat dinner, and deal with the usual little delays that come with having a not-quite two month old baby. Despite all that, we got to Rita's at 9:55pm. That shouldn't have been a problem, as that location closes at 10, but...as we parked right in front, maybe three spaces aways, within easy eye shot, the lil snot-faced teenie bopper running the joint snapped the window closed and closed the blinders and turned off the light. Granted, we were the jerks showing up 5 minutes before closing time...but it was 5 minutes before closing time. Take the 30 seconds to scoop me and my wife some Italian ice, and my dog a dish of ice cream, and make us happy. Heck, I'd even be inclined at that point to not use the BOGO coupon I had in my wallet. Jerks.

Anyways, we had to settle for a not-nearly-as-good Squishee from the gas station next door. And I'm not saying that I'll never go to Rita's again, because that's just a bold-faced lie. But between that experience, and Sandy apparently having to be mindful of dairy intake because Baby M seems to be a lil' sensitive about it, we're going to try and see what other frozen non-dairy delights we can find.

That search brought us to Trader Joe's, more specifically to Trader Joe's Strawberry Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert. It's just like ice cream, minus the whole "cream" part, at least as it pertains to moo cows. Instead, it's made from coconut milk, and in fact is completely vegan. For the record, it's also gluten-free. And you know what? It's absolutely delicious, to the point that I can't believe we didn't finish the pint in one sitting. The strawberry flavor is so full and rich that it tasted like a bowl of frozen mashed strawberries, except smooth and creamy and without all the little seeds. Loved it, and I swear that, unlike most things, it tasted better with each bite. There's no such thing as the law of diminishing returns here. Initially surprisingly to me, it doesn't taste much like coconut, until I remembered that coconut milk doesn't necessarily taste a lot like coconut, and indeed there's no little flakes of it about. It's soft, sweet, and addicting. For a self proclaimed ice cream expert, I don't think there's a higher compliment.

Sandy and I plopped down on the couch the other night with the pint-sized carton and two spoons and went to town. As she was scooping up her first bite, Sandy exclaimed, "Oooooh, it's soft!...That means it's good!" And she was not lying at all. There's also a chocolate version of this dessert, which we haven't tried yet, but will be probably as soon as our next TJ's stop. In Sandy's mind, there's nothing that could possibly be any better about our strawberry ice non-cream, so she's going with a full-handed five. Me? I could choose to quibble some over the price (it was somewhere between four and five bucks, closer to five, I think) but, I figure, with a little self-control we can each get two desserts out of it, making it about half the price of going out somewhere (you listening to me, Rita's???...of course, if I find more coupons...). what I'd say, although, is some actual little strawberry bits would be welcome, but not absolutely necessary. It's not too often we have two pantheon entries in one week, but when we pick 'em, we pick 'em good.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Strawberry Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert: 9.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
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  1. I agree with you...yum!!! ♥ I reviewed this back in March 2012: http://thescrumptiouslife.blogspot.com/2012/03/going-back-for-seconds.html

  2. Ohhhh boy, this sounds fantastic!! Looking forward to picking some up next time I venture into Trader Joe's!

  3. I want to try it, I do, but the saturated fat content is just too high for me.

  4. didn't see in my NorCal TJ. Wanted to try. But picked up a bottle of Rye that's pretty good to make up for it.

  5. One of our favs!! Definitely try the chocolate one. My bf loves that one the best of the two.

  6. Picked it up at your recommendation: exceptional stuff, probably the best "supermarket" ice cream I've tried. It did cause a mild allergic reaction though. I can't imagine what may have caused it.

  7. I'm shocked by the high reviews for this product. I'm trying to be vegan, or at least more vegan, and bought this to try a few weeks ago. It wasn't bad, but also wasn't good... certainly not worth eating. I had no issue with the texture, but it seemed pretty tasteless to me. Much better off freezing a banana and blending it with fruit, chocolate, peanut butter, etc.

  8. I tried some of this and it's great! Much better than I expected. I agree that some strawberry fruit bits would be a nice addition.

  9. I just tried this and found it disappointing. To me it tastes more like LEMON than strawberry. Needs a LOT more fruit.