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, September 4, 2013

Trader Jose's Chile & Onion Flour Tortillas

Some things in life just aren't fair. For a pretty benign example, imagine being a Pennsylvania resident (which I am) and going to an out-of-state Trader Joe's (which I have, on numerous occasions) and surveying the vast selections of consumable goods that just aren't available in your local store. It's unfair. I mean, I've been to the Woodmere, OH store on multiple occasions, and each time, I enviously eye them up. It's literally a whole section of the store. Why, as a PA resident, can I not buy the same goodies as a native of the good state of Ohio? Is it antiquated state law? Market demands?  Lingering animosity over the Buckeyes-Nittany Lions rivalry? I don't know, but it's not fair. Somebody get the governor on the phone.

Lest you think I'm talking about beer and wine (for those not in the know, PA does have antiquated state laws not allowing for alcohol sales in most retail channels, including grocery stores, so we're living in roughly the year 1792 here), this time I'm not. Though I did get some on my most recent trip, there's nothing I felt too compelled to review yet. The Stockyard Oatmeal Stout's pretty tasty, the Simple Times lager isn't great but is much better than their other cheapo option, and perhaps once we get in our new house Sandy and I will have the occasion to break out the wine.

But I am talking about the Trader Jose Chile & Onion Flour Tortillas. I first spotted these several years ago there and just had to try them, I loved them, an hoped they'd migrate just a little further east and south to my Pittsburgh home store. When they hadn't, I assumed they got discontinued for whatever reason. But no, they're still up at the Woodmere store, just outside Cleveland, along with other tortilla flavors that we in the 'burgh just don't have. We only have the run-of-the-mill flour and corn variety, with the Habenero and Lime  for an exotic option, which gets old after a while.

If these were regularly available to me, these would be my everyday tortilla. And I eat a lot of tortillas. They're just perfect. Take a good flour tortilla and add in onion and some actually legitimate chile spice, and BAM. They taste good plain, pair wonderfully with my fake chorizo/rice/bean delight I regularly make, and even taste alright and hold up okay after zapping a microwave quesadilla. Tell you what, though: fry them up in a little butter for a stove top quesadilla, and they are a-m-a-z-i-n-g. The tortillas crisp up perfectly, absorb in a little butter, and get all nice and flaky while the flavor just pops then. They're spicy enough to keep me intrigued but probably accessible enough to most flavor palettes. I've tried replicating their exact spice level by tossing in some red pepper flakes into the cheesy portion, but it just doesn't work the same.

These are some seriously good hombres, and they need to find a new home: Pittsburgh. Please come. I may be the bigger fan of these tortillas. Sandy kinda shrugged and said "I like 'em. They're good. I like 'em. Quote that." As you wish. I just wish I didn't finally eat the last one of them the other night after savoring them for a while. I'm giving them a perfect five and guessing for Sandy's score...

Bottom line: Trader Jose's Chile & Onion Flour Tortillas: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons    


  1. I love these.. I discovered them awhile back and this is all I buy... btw did u ever get in the blue corn tortillas? We had them, but due to no one buying them (except for me) they discontinued them where I live!... am a bit surprised considering our area is pretty into the blue corn flavor.

  2. Dude I live in the Burgh too and I went to Woodmere Ohio's TJ's a few weeks back. LOVED IT. That whole shopping area is awesome. Next time you go you guys have to go to the Firehouse subs next to Whole Foods over there. Speaking of ?Whole Foods, that was like 89 million times better than the one we have in Pitt.

  3. Those are my go to tortilla. We just tried the Truly Handmade tortillas and their texture is great. So pillowy!

  4. I love those tortillas and hope TJ's NEVER discontinues them. I've never had a store-bought tortilla that made my quesadillas taste so good. The only complaint I have is that from time to time, I get a few tortillas in a package that ate almost oval shaped, which makes it a little awkward if I'm just trying to fold the quesadilla evenly. But anyway, they are very good.

  5. These are really good. I got them for a taco dinner with friends and they amp the flavors of the fillings. Mmm. Definitely agree with the 9/10