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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Friday, January 4, 2013

Trader Joe's 10 Minute Bulgur

It's very easy to get all caught up in all the unusual goodies that Trader Joe's offers that it's pretty easy, at least for me, to overlook some of the wholesome, down to earth, deliciously good stuff they carry without all the fanfare. I'm talking about things like an inexpensive alternative to a cereal classic, or a versatile bread that has 513 different uses, and things of the like. I mean, sure, it's easy to get all excited about this or that or these, but you can't (at least you shouldn't) compose your diet of just those. Tradcr Joe's, despite not quite being a complete grocery store, does a pretty adequate job of filling in the margins, and more times than not, in unexpectedly surprisingly good ways. It's nice to know that for as many of the "big things" they do right that get all the attention, all the small stuff doesn't get overlooked.

I kinda thought about that when Sandy snatched some Trader Joe's 10 Minute Bulgur on a recent trip. Honestly, I've probably always been too mesmerized by everything else to ever notice the bulgur there before, so it's probably been around forever. But, really, this is a pretty good find, even before trying it. Around our area, bulgur's usually only available in ethnic Turkish groceries, which while fun to go to, aren't always necessarily convenient.

If you're not familiar with bulgur, think of quinoa, only a little denser and a wee bit chewier. A great way to try it out is to make some bulgar pilavi, which is exactly what Sandy did. She's made it before, but not in years, so it's hard to make a direct comparison using TJ's bulgar as the key difference. No matter, the end result was pretty tasty. The bulgar did seem perhaps a little drier then we've recalled, but for all we know that could've been more Sandy being a little out of practice than on the bulgur. Prepwise, Sandy had no complaints, as it certainly cooked up a little quicker than regular bulgur. Overall, it made a delicious little dinner along with our salad and turkey meatballs - no complaints here whatsoever from me.

Sandy wasn't quite as happy as I was. I'm guessing something in the texture was a little off for her (it takes a little getting used to), but she'll be ready enough to give it another try the next time the hankerin' for some bulgur pilavi hits. As an alternative to rice or pasta or potatoes, I'm hoping that'll be soon. She gives it a three. I'm willing to give the bulgur a little more of the benefit of the doubt and say a four.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's 10 Minute Bulgar: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons 


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