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, January 8, 2013

Trader Joe's Crunchy Black & White Rice Rolls

I can already see all of the log-term readers of this blog rolling your eyes as I type this, but I'm going to try and eat healthier, and this time, I really, truly, honestly mean it. Scout's honor. Cross my heart and hope to (not) die. And I hear you thinking inside your head, "Oh, that's some New Year's Resolution that he'll give up on any day now, and before we know it, Ol' Chubbo will be back to doing stuff like writing a double review of chocolate potato chips AND pumpkin cheesecake in no time flat." Welllll....normally you'd probably be right. This time is different, though, I swear. I've decided to be a lot more intentional about food, in a lot of different ways, and if you're interested in such endeavors, scope out my new side-blog, Gruel Intentions. That'll keep me accountable, you'll see!

It's these new habits that both Sandy and I are trying to form that led us to our purchase of Trader Joe's Crunchy Black & White Rice Rolls. We saw them at the checkout lane, which was been the previous snagging hotspot for many fine grabs all chocolatey and sweet. Not this time.

And they're not bad. They're less like rice cakes but more like puffed rice. That's maybe a fine distinction to draw, but, well, there it is. I associate rice cakes with being more Styrofoam-y than puffed rice. Unlike rice cakes, these taste and feel 100% biodegradable. Other than that, there's not too much that's exactly special about them. I'm kind of skeptical of the claim of black rice because 1) I've never heard of black rice before 2) all of the roll is the same rice-y white and 3) black rice is one extra consonant away from being one of things I hate the most in the entire world and make a habit of trying to avoid, however impossible at times. It's a pretty uniform stick that's crunchy and munchy and a little sweet, and good enough plain, although some of my favorite TJ's peanut butter would be absolutely killer on it (killer, as in tasty, not in killer, as in still recalled because of salmonella. Sad panda).

Sandy's enamored with them. "They're crunchy and sweet, and not that bad for you at all!" she says. Our Weght Watcher app informs us that one of these is only one WW point. That's not bad for a light snack on the go. She's going almost all out with a 4.5. Me? I kinda wish they had some more flavor, or perhaps some variety - like, say, have a wasabi seaweed variety? Why not? Also, I kinda wish the dimensions of these were a little smaller, as they're way too big to take a full bite of, at least for me. No matter. I like them just enough to say a 3.5.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Crunchy Black & White Rice Rolls: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. They sell those exact same type of rice cakes at Korean markets in SoCal!

  2. Good Morning ; I just came across your blog and absolutely love it! I love shopping Trader Joes too, although Trader Joe and I are not exclusive,yet very often I have been very surprised and excited by some great finds....totally excited to see what you have listed. Thank You.

  3. I've been lurking here for awhile and love your blog! For this one, I'm with Sandy. As someone who also loves TJ's and on Weight Watchers, these are better than the normal syrofoam rice cakes.

  4. I love these! Just discovered them. They are perfect for snacking on when you want something to eat but can't ruin dinner. For breakfast or before the gym I smear a tad of peanut butter on them. So good! Alone...a 3.5. With PB a 4.5!

  5. Dip 'em in milk and it's sort of like having a breakfast cereal in stick form. Also, it softens them up so the diameter isn't as much of an issue.

  6. I put TJ vegan cream cheese on them and viola, breakfast!

  7. Costco sells them, (This is an AMAZON link to what Costco sells for 1/4 of Amazon's price: http://www.amazon.com/Bamboo-Lane-Crunchy-Rollers-Ounce/dp/B00FGKJQPE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1393280073&sr=8-3&keywords=crunchy+rice+rolls) They are called "Crunchy RIce Rollers" and come in packs of 4 bags of 8 in a bag. At Costco you pay less than $9 for FOUR BAGS of these.

  8. Costco ones are pretty similar to what TJs had. Same numbers, but just white rice.
    Ingredients: White rice, natural cane juice, rice syrup, agar.
    TJs first two ingredients: White sushi rice, black pearl rice.

  9. I'm being driven crazy here...what does one extra consonant make black rice say? I can't think of anything!!!