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?"

Search This Blog

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trader Joe's Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers

I've never been to a Thai restaurant outside of Pittsburgh, so I don't know if this is the usual protocol or not, but when you order your fried rice or curry or what have you out here, you're asked how spicy you want it on a scale of 1 to 10. There are certain things I may do in my life with a questionable percentage of my gluteus maximus invested, but heat is not usually one of them. I have to go ten. Sometimes, I get extra spice on the side. One particular time several years ago, an acquaintance whom I was dining with stated he could handle hotter food than I ever could. Game on. Ordered a ten, got extra spice, coated every bite with the hottest chile powder, peppers and curry paste, and didn't take a single sip of water, drip one tear, or heck, even cough. He tried to match me, and it was a cute effort, but it fell far short. That guy's still intimidated of me to this very day.

So, yeah, the Thai spices. Love 'em, though I'm also learning to appreciate other flavors and aspects of Thai cuisine, like sweet coconut undertones, and as experienced here and there, lime leaves. It's a good thing, because otherwise, these Trader Joe's Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers would've been a rather large disappointment.

If you have any preconceived notions that all Thai food is spicy, throw it completely out the window here. These are not spicy at all, in any way that any tongue, branch of science, or philosopher could ever discern. In yet another example of TJ's exemplary track record in overall shrimp quality, each one of these are firm, fresh, non-fishy tidbits that heat up quickly and easily. For flavor, instead of the usual spicy suspects, it's all about the lime, but not in a citrusy Warhead-esque way, It's more refined. Such is the way of the kaffir lime. Not sure how to accurately describe it - Wikipedia uses words like "aromatic" and "astringent" which sounds like a smelly zit remover description to me - but perhaps it's like a limey answer to lemongrass. The citrus is subtle, while the herbal taste isn't but it isn't overpowering either. It's just good.

However, it ain't all perfect. This is yet another silly pet peeve that I'm slowly becoming more cognizant that I have, but the tails on? Really? Haven't we evolved past this? I hate shrimp tails, especially because it's not always easy to get the last little shrimp nub in them. My toddler daughter also kept reaching for pile of tails, much like she usually does while making a scene trying to grab clementine peels, except she loves clementines and didn't care for this shrimp whatsoever. Also, these got cold really fast after finishing cooking them. I'm talking ice cold in about three minutes. That might be more me than my little crustacean cronies - anybody with some insight? I could also live without the skewer itself, but meh. Also, please just a little spice. Please.

All told, the shrimp skewers aren't a bad buy. They're definitely much better than our previous meat-unnecessarily-on-a-stick purchase. You get five sticks with five shrimp on each for either five or six bucks. That's less than a quarter each, and given that I saw a bar advertising 90 cent wings as a special the other day, I'm thinking a restaurant would charge much more. Sandy liked 'em enough to score them a four without much to say one way or the other. I'll counter with a three.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons



  1. Shrimp tails are annoying. But keeping them on packs in the flavor right?

  2. OT, but have you tried the habanero hot sauce?

    1. Yep - pretty good, wish I had some! http://www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com/2012/05/trader-joes-habenero-hot-sauce.html