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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Monday, May 12, 2014

Trader José's Guacamame Spicy Edamame Dip

If you like the texture of guacamole and the taste of edamame beans, then this product might be right up your alley. It's slightly spicy, so there's something weirdly reminiscent of wasabi about it too, although the spice level doesn't quite have the nasal passage-clearing potency of actual wasabi sauce. I might be wrong, but I think most people can handle the spiciness of this product because it's balanced with cool, smooth edamame.

This stuff is great with chips, especially any kind of corn chips or tortilla chips. Sonia was a huge fan of it, gobbling down a bit with each meal until the tray was gone. I liked it too, but I noticed that after I had a bunch of it, I consistently got a very slight case of nausea. Not sure why. Edamame has never done that to me before, but I'm not sure that I've ever had edamame—which are really just unripe soybeans—in such large quantities before. I've usually only had a few at a time, whether they're an appetizer at a sushi restaurant, or in nuggets
or rangoons. It's harder to quantify the number of actual soybeans when they're just a big green mush. Like really, ask yourself how many avocados you're actually eating next time you have guacamole. "I just ate three quarters of an avocado. Maybe." A rough guesstimation is probably the best you'll be able to come up with.

But that brings me to my next point. As interesting and novel as this stuff may be for a single purchase, I simply couldn't see it replacing guacamole in our household. Weird nausea issue aside, I think I just like the taste of avocado better than edamame—especially when we're talking about green mush. Edamame beans are better as beans if you ask me. 

Sure, guacamame has a few advantages over regular guac. It has a really clever name. It doesn't brown nearly as fast, although we did notice the slightest bit of darkening toward the end of the package. It has fewer calories and less fat. Plus, it's actually spicy. They need to make a regular avocado-based guac with a bit more of a spicy kick. Now that would be an improvement over the original. This stuff is fun, weird, and tasty with tortillas, but guacamole is just a better product in the end. Sonia agrees on that point, but she could see herself alternating between guacamame and guacamole from one time to the next. After all, variety is the spice of life—and FYI, pickled jalapeño peppers are the spice of this $2.99 pack of guacamame. Sonia gives it 4 stars. I give it 3.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. Maybe the nausea is from the combo of the vinegar and jalapeno? I saw it in the store and almost got it.. then wondered hth to store it... I don't trust the fold top would reseal and it would be brown gunk the next day.

    1. Maybe, KBF. We just put ours in the fridge and it kept pretty well. Not much browning.

  2. Perhaps you are allergic or intolerant to soy. It IS a common allergen. Stomach upset after a certain food (like nuts, soy, shellfish, etc.) is a warning sign... This does look good, though. :)

    1. I do have a history of food allergies, FE. But when I drink soymilk, I seem to be ok. Maybe I'm just now developing some kind of allergy to soy...

  3. My local TJ's had Guacamame as a sampler yesterday. I sampled and then I bought. However, I was slightly disappointed when I opened the package at home because it tasted to me as if the product had spoiled. It has an odd spicy sensation when you first taste it, and, to me, that reminded me more of a spoiled/fermented taste than a yummy pickled jalepeno taste. Curious if you could detect this flavor as well.

  4. I'm surprised at this got such a positive review. This product was pretty polarizing in my store - most of my coworkers hated it, while the rest of us were like, "meh. Kind of makes me want REAL guacamole."

    I can't say I loved it nor hated it. It might be nice as a spread. The fact that it keeps longer than "real" guac is a nice plus, too.

  5. They were sampling this at my local tjoes and I thought it was tasty. I was still a fan until I noticed this contained NO actual avocado. If theres no avocados, is it really even guac?

  6. There was just a big recall of some of TJ's Edamame Hummus, not sure if it included dips or not, but might explain the upset stomach