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, December 10, 2012

Trader Joe's Fruit & Nut Log

The really short version: if you like dried fruit and pecans, you’ll love this thing.

The kinda short version: as Trader Joe states on the packaging, this product is basically a traditional pecan log, but with cranberries, apricots, and pistachios, too. They’re all rolled onto a nougat cylinder, making a “new festive holiday treat.” That’s accurate enough, I think. Plus, it’s kosher. Happy Hanukkah, friends!

I was surprised at how much Sonia loved this thing. I didn’t think she was a big dried fruit fan. But apparently, she’s been hiding that part of her identity from me. Now I know.

I, on the other hand, really like dried fruit. But I think I prefer just plain pieces of dried fruit to this holiday concoction from TJ’s. I have nothing against it. I guess I’m just a little freaked out by the massive quantity of creamy white nougat stuck between the fruit and nuts. Despite the nougatiness, this product is still relatively good-for-you. Please note that I said relatively good-for-you. People usually fall into one of two categories: (1) the group of people who wouldn’t even try this because they think it’s some kind of health food, and (2) the group of people who think I should be tarred and feathered for insinuating that a giant stick of glucose syrup is in any way “good-for-you.” I fall directly in between these two groups. The fruit and nuts are probably healthy, but the nougat…maybe not so much.

And if I’m going to eat something that’s not completely good for me, I want to eat something really, really tasty. And I’m probably going to eat a lot of it. This stuff was nice to try, but it wouldn’t be the dessert of my choice. I’d pick regular dried fruit for a snack, and then I’d pig out on pumpkin pie later on.

Sonia disagrees. She’d like to make this item a staple in our home for snacks, desserts, and not just for holidays. Sorry, Sonia. I think this is just a seasonal treat…

At any rate, she gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I give it 2.5.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10. 

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