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, September 24, 2013

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread

Russ was right. And I look dead sexy in my yoga pants. I might not, however, after I gorge myself on every pumpkintastic item I can get my hands on because I will have gained about 30 pounds by the end of this season. As of Sunday, it's officially fall. And yes, like any red-blooded American man with northwestern Euro-mutt roots, I love me some Oktoberfest beers, but the giggly 21-year-old college girl living inside me loves pumpkin ales just as much. Guess what else she loves?

This pumpkinriffic cream cheese. It's super soft and plenty punkinny for me. It's a nice balance of cream cheese, pumpkin spices, and actual pumpkin. Sonia seems to think it needs more pumpkin flavor. I disagree. It's not pumpkin pie here. Nor is it pumpkin pudding. And along those same lines, one should definitely not eat this stuff straight out of the tub with a spoon, tempting as it may be. It's meant to top a bagel. I actually think the pumpkin-factor is a bit too much when it's spread on
toast. A bagel has enough breadiness—enough substance—to put this pumpkin cream cheese in check, just like regular cream cheese works with a bagel while butter and jelly works with a piece of toast. 

But I will say this: there is something light and fluffy about this cream cheese. It almost feels whipped. It's not as dense as a regular cream cheese if you ask me. When you're knifing it out of the tub, it comes out with ease. There's very little resistance. But the full-bodied flavor is still there somehow. It's a miracle of science. It's a miracle of nature. Just like the pumpkin. And the pumpkin spices. And the drool that now covers my desktop as I sit here and pine for more pumpkin. Stay tuned to WG@TJs for more ridiculous, fictitious, pumpkin-based adjectives like "pumpkinlectable" and nouns like "pumpkinnishness." 

When we made our latest TJ's run, the checkout guy looked at Sonia and I and made a funny face. "I see you've been stricken with the same pumpkin affliction that I have, too." We both just nodded and slobbered all over the counter and grunted out a zombie-esque "Puuuuumpkiiiiin."

I give this pumpkin cream cheese 4.5 stars. Sonia gives it a 4.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

21 comments:

  1. I'm glad this is back! They used to make some PB cream cheese which was TO DIE FOR. Seriously, 10 spoons.

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    1. Peanut butter cream cheese?? I hope they bring that back!

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    2. Yes, the peanut butter cream cheese was pretty fantastic, and the pumpkin is THE BOMB on TJ's triple-ginger cookies (recently reviewed here). Just dip the cookies in the pumpkin cc and feel your tastebuds explode.

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    3. Another TJ pumpkin treat: put a spoonful of pumpkin ice cream between two of those triple-ginger cookies for an AWESOME dessert bite! I just picked up my first quart of the season.... Will have to try the cream cheese with the cookies I have too....

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  2. Ooh this stuff looks good. You know what is also really good? Mixing a jar of TJ's pumpkin butter with a thing of cream cheese, I'm assuming it would be similar to this (read: delicious).

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    1. I think you might be right about the pumpkin butter and cream cheese, Rebeka. But this stuff is already mixed in perfect proportions! Although, if you wanted more pumpkin or less pumpkin, you could adjust it to suit your tastes if you used pumpkin butter...

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  3. My daughter danced around yesterday when she discovered this was back!! My kids love pumpkin cream cheese on pancakes in the morning.

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    1. Pumpkin cream cheese on pancakes? That sounds really good!

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  4. Pumpkin cream cheese on TJ's Hobo bread - warmed up or room temp. Delish! And there are pumpkin bagels this year that I haven't tried before - match made in pumpkin heaven!

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    1. I've always wanted to try the hobo bread. Nathan/Russ--any plans to review?

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    2. We'll add it to the list...but we probably won't get to it for a while, to be honest.

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    3. I wonder if this will be good on the TJ pretzel sticks? Might be worth an experiment...

      Nathan, another rec if you run out of review candidates: The TJ frozen Turkey Burgers (4 per pack in small reddish box) are amazingly juicy/tender. Haven't grilled them, but surprisingly great on a pan or griddle--and healthy too! FWIW, I was not a fan of the TJ lime chicken burgers, but these are amazing! Should be good for chili, etc. too. I love them in breakfast sandwiches too.

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    4. I will definitely keep the turkey burgers in mind! Thanks!

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    5. it seems to me i recall enjoying the peanut butter cream cheese on the honey-wheat pretzel sticks. and the pumpkin cc would be fine on them too. i think the key is that these particular pretzel sticks are not too salty so they really work with the sweet, creamy flavors.

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  5. This stuff is like putting pumpkin cheesecake on a bagel...yum.

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  6. Think it would make a good cupcake frosting? I'm thinking spice caked flavor...

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  7. That's a really good question, Missy. My baking skills are a bit rusty, so I'm probably not the best person to ask, but my instincts would tell me...yes it would make a good cupcake frosting...?

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