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, April 2, 2013

Trader Joe's Gourmet Jelly Beans

The past couple days have been significant double-holidays. In case you weren't paying attention, yesterday was April Fool's Day—not to mention, Holy Monday. And the day before that was Easter—and also, Cesar Chavez's birthday. The whole Cesar Chavez thing is way bigger out in L.A., where we used to live. Heck, they have streets named after him there. And here in Philly, Easter is a bigger deal. Most of the stores are closed, and everyone has family dinners in their fancy spring suits and Easter hats. We saw one lady wearing a two-foot tall Easter bonnet. She was the Mistress of Ceremonies at an Easter egg hunt in a nearby park, and a personal friend of the Easter Bunny himself.

Circa 1983, at the age of 3 and a half, I'm quoted as saying "Look what that rabbit brought me!" in regards to a basket full of goodies that I found on Easter morning. It had some carob bunnies (I was forbidden chocolate in my early years) some small toys, and yes, those timeless Easter classics: jelly beans.

I guess they're sort of shaped like little eggs and that's why it's sort of appropriate to eat them on Easter. But hey, why limit yourself to one Sunday a year? They taste good all the time...that is, unless you're talking about a popcorn-flavored Jelly Belly.

And like Jelly Belly, this mixture of beans from Trader Joe's contains both scrump-dilly-icious flavors...aaand a few not-so-scrump-dilly flavors. Sonia and I especially enjoyed the coconut, grape, and strawberry smoothie flavors, but we were less enthused about licorice and pomegranate. That's not to say those latter flavors are bad, it's just that they don't blend as well when you grab a handful of random beans and shovel them into your mouth all at once. The beans are made with natural flavors, and they're even colored with "fruit & vegetable sources."
Just look at the ingredients list pictured here. They were thinking outside the box with these additives. When's the last time you saw current, pumpkin, hibiscus, and gardenia extracts listed on the back of a food product?

I felt like these jelly beans were slightly stiffer than other brands—at least when you first start to chew them. It could have just been that they were cold when we ate them, though. I'll have to turn the heat up in the kitchen... Anyway, please comment below if you found the same thing.

All things considered, these were a nice little Easter treat for my wife and I. We enjoyed eating them and trying to identify each of the 18 flavors. We're still not sure if we got every single flavor in our box, but most of the ones we did get were tasty and unique. Click here for a close-up of the beans out of the box. Sonia gives these beans 4 stars. Me too.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys! I think you should review the strawberry licorice (located near the registers)
    They look like twizzlers but brighter and better! A bag is $.99 and they are totally cavity worthy.

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