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, February 18, 2014

Trader Joe's Meatless Italian Style Sausage & Cheese Flatbread

So, I'm not exactly a trendsetter kinda guy, if you haven't noticed. But, I'd like to be one. Sort of. For instance, one of my very covert goals for this blog has been to try and enter the phrase "chocolate gum theory" into the parlance of our times. I mean, it makes sense, to me, at least. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go click that link, it'll explain it. Just...think about dropping into a conversation every once in a while, will ya?

But one way I just might have been a key force in bringing in some new trend: flatbread pizza, or just flatbreads, or Flatizzas, or whatever silly (or in the case of Flatizza, absolutely stupid) name you want to slap on them. You see, a few years back I reviewed Trader Joe's Lavash, and specifically mentioned how delicious they were to use as a pizza crust. I feel like I stumbled across that idea by happenstance, by some remnant shred of bachelor laziness that laid dormant until that fateful purchase.

Okay, perhaps you're still not convinced. That's fine. But I am, thanks to Trader Joe's Meatless Italian Style Sausage & Cheese Flatbread. I mean, is it absolutely crazy idea that "Big Joe" read that same lavash post, knew about my outspoken displeasure of the discontinuation of the soy chorizo (bring that back already!), knew about my appreciation of most TJ fake meat products, and came up with this particular item to try and get me off his back? Is it?

Well...if all that is true, he'll need to do a little better next time. I mean, this isn't a horrible pizza/flatbread/flapizza/piflatbrezzad/whatever at all. The "sausage" is a convincing enough knockoff of the real deal to fool both our toddler, who hates meat, and the teenaged Chinese exchange student who lives with us, who loves meat. It's got the right bite and texture and overall flavor, and to TJ's credit, there's a lot of it. The little roasted red peppers and tomatoes make a nice addition, though I wish there more of them. And even though we could've baked it longer, the flatbread crust got reasonably crispy enough, while the cheese was plenty stringy and gooey, much to our toddler's delight.

It's just...the end result tasted too much like an average thin crust freezer pizza. It just lacked something, anything, to go to the next level, like even a little red pepper flakeage, or whatever made another one of their pizzas so darn good. If I weren't so bent on preserving the last few drops of the world's best hot sauce I have readily on hand, I would've slathered that all over the place, just so my dinner would have a little flavor. It's just fairly nondescript as is, and I know TJ's is capable of better.  C'mon, TJ's, can't you just...TJ it up a little? Please?

Sandy kinda agreed, while noting that she enjoyed the salchicha falsa, she wishes the pizza was a little bigger, so it'd be more servings for the four bucks or so for the pizza. It was kinda small overall, but piled reasonably high with toppings, so perhaps it was a bit of a trade-off. "Kinda average at best," she said. Agreed. She defines average as a 3, while I say average means a 2.5.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Meatless Italian Style Sausage & Cheese Flatbread: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons    

9 comments:

  1. soy chorizo hasn't been discontinued. it's been reformulated and should be back within the next few months (tjs employee here).

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    1. No offense, but I've heard that enough times (see: valencia peanut butter) that I don't believe it until I see it. I'm keeping on the lookout, though.

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    2. to be fair the valencia pb was recalled not discontinued due to a salmonella outbreak in the peanut.

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    3. Yep, I know, but I was told that it'd be reformulated and come back and never has. It's in a shame, in my little ineffective opinion. :)

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    4. i can confidently say that soy chorizo will be back in march though. it's almost ready for public consumption again.

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    5. Hope you're right! Expect a review if/when it comes! :)

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  2. Oh man, I MISS the valencia peanut butter! Epecially the one with flax seeds!! :(

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    1. Best. Peanut. Butter. Freakin'. Ever.

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  3. I think this "pizza" is actually quite tasty. Leave it in for a minute or two longer than the instructions. Unless you're a child, you won't have two servings out of this thing. Maybe one and then some, if you're not hungry.

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