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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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Trader Giotto's Bambino Pizza Formaggio

Back when I was a kid in elementary school, one of the highlights of the academic year was participating in the BOOK IT! program, which apparently still exists. It involved reading books for free pizza. Each student got an oversized button with 5 or 6 blank star-shaped spaces. For each book we'd read, we would receive a little star sticker to put on our button. We're not talking Crime and Punishment and Moby Dick, of course. We're talking Amelia Bedelia and Freckle Juice—books we'd be reading anyway, even if there weren't free food involved. 

So we'd read like mad in anticipation of our free personal pan pizza from the local Pizza Hut. On the day of redemption, we'd turn in that button at the pizza counter feeling like kings. The little round pizza would come out steaming hot, and it tasted better than any pizza we had ever had before, because we knew we earned it.

These Bambino pizzas from TJ's remind me of those personal pan pizzas from pizza hut in size, shape, and appearance, but the flavor is a little more grown-up. They taste just like really good Sicilian-style pizza with plenty of Italian herbs and spices in the mix. Although, I must say that unlike the picture on the packaging, you can't really see flecks of green herbs (I guess that's oregano?) all scattered across the tops of the pizzas. You can taste it, but you can't see it.

Each Bambino pizza is about the size of one large slice of pizza, so if you're having this for dinner, you can probably count on each person eating at least two. They come in two individually wrapped packages of two pizzas a piece. I like my crust fairly crispy, so I wound up leaving my pizzas in the oven for a minute or two longer than the instructions called for, but other than that, the baking time was spot on. Like most other frozen pizzas, I simply can't imagine these being half as good if cooked in the microwave.

If you're a fan of Sicilian pizza, check these out. I was really happy with the texture and taste, and I give them 4.5 stars. Sonia will give them a 4.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.


  1. Oh these look delicious! And the ingredients list make it seem not too overly processed. Thanks for the review, will pick these up next time I'm at TJ's :)

  2. Because you brought up Book It!, I'm all nostalgic now and feel like I must go buy these from Trader Joes today. They should probably pay you commission...

  3. You're welcome, Nilooooo!

    Yes, we should earn commission, Holly. That's an excellent idea!

  4. Agreed about the commission! I'm planning at TJ trip this weekend and have made quite a list (thanks to you)!

  5. These are good. Sometimes I will make them for lunch...one for each of the three kids and one for me. Delicious!

  6. Your review surprises me. The full-size cheese pizza is like eating cardboard covered in plastic, so I've sworn off classic TJ's pizza. Maybe I'll give these a try...

  7. I like their little pepperoni ones...they come wrapped in a stack in plastic and have pepperoni but otherwise seem the same. Yum. :)

  8. Oooh, I didn't see the pepperoni ones. I'll have to keep an eye out!

  9. I found these pizzas to be no better than typical frozen pizza from any grocery store. The sauce shows hints of higher quality (e.g., a little more body than typical, and slightly fresher taste), but the crust and cheese are classic frozen. I'll be focusing on other TJ items, many of which I really like.

  10. Help..I don't have the original box for these to follow cooking time and temp…anyone have info…thx