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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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trader Joe's In Shell Pumpkin Seeds

Just over five years ago, Sandy and I had our first unofficial date, and me being the euphemistically labelled romantic guy, I still have us a little souvenir from the first magical night: a plastic baggie of pumpkin seeds. It was a few weeks before Halloween and I figured, why not carve pumpkins with this cute chick who I just somehow convinced to start talking with me? This, of course, was kinda neglecting the fact that when I get nervous, my hands get all sweaty, thereby making holding sharp objects not that best of ideas, but, well, you know, gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Anyways, yeah, I still have the seeds we roasted from that first pumpkin. What I thought I'd eventually eat as a nice little snack just may end up as a family heirloom. I'm sure my almost four-month old daughter can't wait for those! We've roasted pumpkin seeds plenty of times since then, only to eat them in quick succession. That's a lot of work though - cutting the hole, scooping out, pulling the orangey goo strands from the seeds, roasting them, etc - that between everything this past fall, we just haven't done so yet, much to our chagrin. Homemade are always the best.

Well, for a consolation prize we got Trader Joe's In Shell Pumpkin Seeds. They're pretty much what one should expect from a bag of pumpkin seeds. All they are is dry-roasted with a little salt, so nothing too utterly special. There's the usual good qualities of roasted seeds - a little nutty, a little earthy, even a little sweet like pumpkin seeds ought to be. There's a few of them still with a little pumpkin gut still attached and charred on, but much less than what you'd have in a typical homemade batch. The one thing I liked about them that I didn't expect is how fresh they taste. Seriously, I've bought some before which were so stale I could've confused with my daughter's inheritance. That's not the case here. They're highly munchable, and a snack equally as good for either pairing with a beer or having in the car for a driving snack....just don't do all three at a time. Drive safe, all.

There's been times I've witnessed Sandy glancing squinty-eyed all over the pumpkin patch while diabolically uttering the phrase "I want your seeds, man", so believe me when I say she likes pumpkin seeds. She's said most of what I said above, but noted that when they're homemade, she likes roasting them a scant more to ever-so-slightly burn them for slightly bigger crunch. She'll shell out a 4 for these while gently reminding me that hey, we gotta make our own soon. Yes, love. In the meantime, I'll munch on these fairly happily and give them a 3.5.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's In Shell Pumpkin Seeds: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. Please review the pecan pie ice cream. Pretty please.

  2. We got a bag of these. They are addicting!
    Great blog!