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, November 27, 2013

Trader Joe's Peppermint Sandwich Cookie Cake

This item has pork in it. 

There is PIG in this product. Granted, it's just pig bones. Or possibly pig skin. But PORK GELATIN is listed on the ingredients. Didn't think we'd read the ingredients, did you, TJ's? Well, we did (unfortunately, not until after we got the cake home). And this product just isn't tasty enough for me to overlook that fact.

Putting pork in peppermint ice cream is nearly as gross as putting bugs in yogurt. Yes, Dannon and certain other brands put bugs in yogurt. LOTS of bugs. I'm not implying they put bugs in TJ's yogurts either...just yogurt in general. It's called "carmine." If you don't want to eat lots of bugs, look for it in yogurt ingredients. That being said, bugs are high in protein, low in fat, and are probably a lot better for you than the chemicals that some companies put in yogurt. But...they're BUGS. Similarly, I suppose there's not a lot of fat in pork gelatin. But pig-flavored ice cream just doesn't sit well in my subconscious. After this sandwich cookie was out of the freezer for a bit, I swear it started to smell like pork rinds, but that was probably just my overactive imagination.

Perusing the packaging of this porky peppermint product further, you'll discover even more fun facts that utterly defy logic, like "Product of France." Product of France?? They import this stuff?? What made them think this was worth importing?? You're telling me there isn't a better chocolate-peppermint sandwich cookie stateside? 

The peppermint is stiff, and it isn't particularly creamy or sweet. It's just minty. The chocolate cookie is powdery and kind of spongy. It's not very flavorful. The bread part and the ice cream part don't blend together all that well, either. You'd be better off mixing any other pint of peppermint ice cream with a chocolate Twinkie. 

This "Pork Peppermint Patty" is proof that the answer to "What's Good at Trader Joe's?" is not "everything," and this post is proof that we do not work for Trader Joe's. AdSense makes this blog lucrative for us, not TJ's. But at the same time, don't get me wrong—this blog IS a labor of love...just like this funny music video about the first TJ's in Denver, CO, or this well-written article about the guy who holds the "End of the Line" sign at a Trader Joe's in Manhattan, or this excellent cookbook about stuff you can make with Trader Joe's products. TJ's fans are enthusiastic, to say the least.

But in the end, we must give you our honest opinion. Sonia scores this product 1.5 stars. I give it half a star.

Bottom line: 2 out of 10.
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And just so I don't sound like a Thanksgiving Grinch by leaving you with a negative review right before Turkey Day (or Turkey-Less Day, as the case may be), I'd also like to say that I'm very thankful for a lot of things, including most Trader Joe's products, and you, our readers. Happy Thanksgiving!

15 comments:

  1. LOL ok so you are aware that gelatin is and always has been TYPICALLY made from pork? So, jello, marshmallows, etc--pretty much anything with gelatin is pork gelatin. I capitalized "typically" earlier because now there are vegan gelatins. So perhaps TJ's specified pork gelatin so as not to confuse those who may think the product is vegetarian?

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    1. Well, gelatin is very often made with cow parts, too. But the ingredients specify "pork gelatin" here. I've never seen that before where it tells you specifically that it's from a pig, like they're proud of it :) Plus, it sounds funny to say "there's pork in this peppermint product."

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    2. And yes, it's good that they specified that it's not vegetarian gelatin.

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    3. since they're using pork instead of cow, maybe they had to specify for people who keep Kosher.

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    4. Oh I never knew about cow gelatin. See--this blog educates, as well as entertains. LOL

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    5. Yes! And Happy Hanukkah to our Kosher Jewish friends!

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  2. Thanks for the warning. I've been tempted by this at the store because it looks so pretty! I guess looks can be deceiving.

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    1. Yep. The prettiness pulled me in. The porkiness grossed me out.

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  3. Sorry! I love your blog normally, but this one is particularly gratingly snarky! Perhaps they specify it for those who do not consume pork products for religious reasons. And as for carmine, it sure beats dyes made from god knows what chemicals...and has been used for years without health concerns, unlike manufactured red dyes. I do not find the idea of a peppermint cookie cake the least bit appealing anyway, but this was far from your best writing.

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    1. Snarky? Yes. You make a valid point.

      But you obviously didn't read the post very carefully. "That being said, bugs are high in protein, low in fat, and are probably a lot better for you than the chemicals that some companies put in yogurt."

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    2. And yet you felt the need to throw it in anyway.

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    3. I realize now the error of my ways. Thank you for commenting, and have a wonderful holiday!

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  4. All gelatin comes from animal products, they just let you know which one

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  5. I had some yogurt that listed tilapia in it the other day! Not TJs but still off-putting. I love tilapia - just not in my yogurt.

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