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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Friday, May 23, 2014

Trader Joe's Coconut Cranberry Granola

Today's gonna be a good day.

It's Thursday morning when I'm writing this. I have this theory about Thursdays: they're the worst day of the week. Monday gets a lot of flak, yeah, but for me, it's the start of the work week, and I got a decent job which I'm thankful for and enjoy enough, so the start of the work week, although daunting, isn't that bad. Tuesday, Wednesday, eh whatever. But Thursday? Blah. By Thursday, I'm beginning to feel a little worn from the week, I'm ready for the weekend...but I still have Thursday and Friday to go. Friday? I'm in love.

But yes, today is going to be a good day. Doesn't matter I'm one week out from an emergency root canal (done on a Thursday, naturally) - Hey I can close my mouth and chew again. It doesn't matter that last night I got ripped off $10 at a local bar on a wings and beer night when someone (probably barstaff) pocketed the tenspot I paid for my first beer with - wings were good, had a good time with coworkers, I supported the local economy, and I'll consider it an extra generous tip, although I probably won't go back, Mike's Wife's Bar in Oakmont, PA (if you go there, pay with card, apparently). And, well, anything that can happen today shouldn't really matter or be all that bad, cuz I have me a good belly full of Trader Joe's Coconut Cranberry Granola.

I've been a big fan of TJ's granola in the past - maybe too earnest a fan, according to some of you. No matter. I hate too dry, too hard granola which I've gotten too often in the bulk bins at places like Whole Foods. This coco-cran-concoction is perfect bitewise - a little crunchy, a little crispy, even a little chewy, but remains crunchy from first spoonful to last gulp from the bowl. There's bigger and smaller clusters all over the place, interspersed with light, crispy coconut flakes and chewy, tart cranberries. It's a joy to eat. The granola itself has a light cinnamon flavor that jives with everything else perfectly in a tasty little balance - yum yum extra yum.

And like a good granola should, this gets me going for the day. Way back in the day I alluded to a "10 a.m. test" for cereals - namely, if I'm still reasonably full from a bowl at 10 a.m. Too often regular cereals just seem to make me even hungrier somehow, like they're made out of Chinese food or something. But oh no, not this granola. I ate a bowl a day or two ago at about 8:30, and it held me clear over til my lunch break at about 2 or 3. That's impressive. Well done.

Sandy also likes it, maybe not as much as I do, but still a pretty decent amount. "It's great for a little snack on the go, or if I save some for my afternoon yogurt, for a little crunch," she said. I've never been a huge fan of the yogurt and granola combo, but if you are, I'd imagine this would be a perfect mix-in. Speaking of perfection, I'm going with a full-out five, while Sandy is going a little lower but not by much. If Thursdays and the TJ's coconut cranberry granola could collaborate on a theme song, it'd probably sound a lot like this. It's gonna be a good day.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Coconut Cranberry Granola: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. hey u forgot to post the nutritional stats... bet its full of sugar... :-)

    1. shoot you're right! arrrgh....will fix tonight when I can. Thanks KBF!