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, July 5, 2013

Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Brownie & Oat Bars

Along the same lines as the Peanut Butter and Oat Bars or the Fiberful Granola Bars, these are pre-packaged snack bar thingies that come 6 in a pack. They're filling, chocolatey, and a good size for an in-between meal morsel.

The actual product is pretty moist when you first unwrap it, but it's a texture that instantly makes your mouth dry. If you're the type that loves to drown chocolatey things with milk or a coffee-type beverage, these little bars would probably be alright for breakfast or some similar situation. On the flip side, if you're hiking or walking around in the summer heat, I personally would think these would be the last things you'd want to eat. They cause thirst. And not just thirst, but they leave this sensation in your mouth that begs for something more than water. There's still an aftertaste even after a few swigs of H2O.

Sonia thinks the chocolate tastes a bit like carob in this case, and I agree. It's a "healthy" chocolate taste. It's "oaty." Which, of course, isn't that bad if you're a fan of carob and oats. The icing drizzle on the top of the bars is sweet and tasty, and both Sonia and I wish there were more of it.

All in all, because of this product's heavy, oaty chocolatiness, I think this is more of an autumn/spring pseudo-healthy morning food than an indulgent, refreshing summer afternoon snack. But not bad in a pinch. Just be sure to have some milk or creamy coffee on standby. 

Sonia gives these bars 3.5 stars. I give them 3.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.


  1. I'm a huge fan of these bars, although I agree that they sort of taste carob-y more than chocolaty. They're a yummy pseudo-healthy lunchtime dessert!

  2. I hear ya, Beth. As long as you're down with the carob-esque-ness, these would be pretty good.

  3. These bars are almost an exact replica of the Chocolate Brownie flavor of Kid's Clif bars, same calorie count and everything. The Clif Bar version has a chocolate drizzle and is a litttttle more moist, but both are decent.

  4. Try warming these in the microwave for 20-25 seconds. They become fudgy and gooey--delicious and brownie-like! (Best with a glass of cold milk.)

  5. Never had a Kid's Clif bar, Emma. I'll take your word for it :)

    That actually sounds like a great idea, Beth! I'll have to try that with our last bar...

  6. I was trying to identify the flavor and searched if you had reviewed these which thankfully you had! Yes! Carob-y is the flavor. While I was not as impressed at first bite as I had hoped, I am happy to find an oat bar that is under 150 calories and has 5 grams of fiber (and not <1 gram of protein!)

    Beth: Great idea about warming in the microwave. I'm going to try that.