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, March 8, 2013

Trader Joe's Cowboy Caviar

There's a few random things that spring to mind when I think of the product name "Trader Joe's Cowboy Caviar." First, for whatever reason, I can't recall right now what exactly real caviar is, so hold on just a moment...alrighty, well, honestly, that sounds kinda gross. A "cowboy" version of that woulda be even more gross, considering what we know of "Rocky Mountain oysters" and all, so, first, there's some gladness that this isn't something a little more literal. Secondly, there's the vision of actual cowboys eating actual caviar. I've always thought that the only people who eat caviar are people like the Grey Poupon gents, though it seems a little beneath them to randomly stop alongside another car and beg for condiments. So it's tough to think of grizzly, musty old booted cowboys enjoying some fine salt-cured fish eggs. It's a "tough meets classy" juxtaposition that's as comically out of place as Chuck Norris at a tea party (note carefully the capitalization of what I just said).

And third, well, despite the goofy name and all, Sandy and I were pretty glad there's a new salsa sheriff in town for our samplin'. Here's the actual verbatim exchange that transpired last Monday night between the two of us in the salsa/chip department. Unlike other conversations I've let you eavesdrop on, this one is not made up at all.  Me: "Want some chips and salsa?" Her: "Hrrmmmm...nah. There's nothing we haven't had." Me: "Yeah....wait... Cowboy Caviar? What the eff? Let's try it." Her: "Oooooooo I'll find us some chips!!!"

So, how does it stack up? Purdy darn well, amigo. Obviously, from the label and a quick peek at the jar contents, the base of this salsa is comprised of black beans, corn, and red bell peppers. Those just happen to be three main staples in our house that we seemingly never get sick of. There's nary a trace of tomato, except for a little puree that's the base for the chipotle adobo sauce that gets mixed in. Mmm, adobo sauce....that's the primary taste here. It's deep and smoky with a sneaky little kick to it that'll rattle you like a snake in your boot if you're spice-adverse. Despite that, though, you can still taste everythng...the citrus bite from the lime, the little flames of heat courtesy of the jalapenos, even a little sweetness, with the flavor of the beans and corn and peppers still poking through without getting too muddied up. This is certainly tilts towards chunky, with everything in it, but man, it works well. I misplaced the receipt so I can't tell you the exact price offhand, but it's about the price of a typical jar of salsa there, somewhere around $2.49 to $3 or so.

I'm not sure how the jar survived three nights between the two of us. It must be some newfound restraint Sandy and I have, because in the good ol' days, I could see this being polished off in a night. Seems to me the Cowboy Caviar would pair well with most any chip, but it was especially good with the veggie flaxseed tortilla chips we picked up (which may just be the most uncowboy-like ones available. Regardless...). It's a much better, taster spicier and truer salsa than the Corn and Chile Tomato-Less Salsa we tried way back, though Sandy loved that one too because of its lack of, well, tomatoes. This one had her fooled, too. "Four it up!," she exclaimed. Four it up, indeed, and tack on an extra half spoon just because. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cowboy Caviar: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons     


10 comments:

  1. This sounds like it is worth trying. I have been reading your blog for quite a while, I shop at Trader Joe's and my son has worked there for a very long time. It is fun to tell him what I am trying due to your influence.

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  3. Costco also sells a cowboy cavier would be interested to see how this compares.

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  4. Thanks for showing the nutritional info on the back, I am always looking @ sodium content on items and this looks pretty decent.

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  5. I recently bought their corn salsa and it's incredible! I will have to try this one next!!

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  6. This was yummy! I picked up some this weekend after seeing your post. It was great on my eggs this morning!

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  7. I love Trader Joe's and this is really good, but real Cowboy Caviar uses black-eyed peas. In fact it was invented to showcase black-eyed peas, so any "cowboy caviar" that doesn't have it is...good, but not really cowboy caviar.

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  8. I love this stuff- it actually made me forget the high percentage of soy in my "Choriso & Eggs"!

    Like you, I noticed a certain time-displacement algorithm seemed to be in effect while eating it- I should've have polished off the jar in one day but I found it lasted much longer than that. Perhaps there are "salsa elves" refilling the jar while I sleep...

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  9. Take a jar of the corn salsa and mix it with a can of drained & rinsed black beans. Very similar and twice as much in quantity for much less $$.

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