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, June 10, 2014

Trader Joe's Ginger, Almond & Cashew Granola Cereal

There are certain bites of this cereal that taste like delicious gingersnap cookies with a dusting of cinnamon and spices and a few choice cashews. Other bites taste like pungent, raw ginger root and not much else. The discrepancy between those two types of bites is harsh, and it grates on your taste buds the same way a glob of horseradish might after a few pleasant sips of root beer

I'm guessing the bites are inconsistent because there are chunks of actual ginger floating throughout the cereal, but not enough that you get one in every bite. Or, perhaps, certain bites contain only small bits of ginger and others contain large chunks. Whatever the reason, it's difficult to
avoid while eating the cereal since each ingredient is more or less the same beige-ish color. I suppose one could inspect each spoonful meticulously before shoveling it down, but it would take a great deal of time, care, and effort to do so. It's much easier to make the following generalization: The only people who should consider buying this cereal are people who are madly in love with the taste of raw ginger.

I was skeptical when I saw this box on the shelf. Could ginger really work as the centerpiece in a breakfast cereal? The Ardmore, PA Trader Joe's was a madhouse on my last TJ's run, and it provided the kind of full-contact shopping experience I hadn't seen since I braved the hordes of colorful characters at 3rd and La Brea in L.A. There wasn't much time to linger there in the aisle staring up at the cereals, and much like my last review, I made a hasty decision. I'm a fan of certain ginger products: ginger beergingersnapsginger ice creamand even ginger wontons. But when it comes to ginger candy or raw ginger root, that's where I draw the line. As a spice, ginger should be used sparingly. It's simply too pungent when it shows up in abundance.

Sonia liked this cereal even less than I did, pointing out that the bites with excessive ginger kind of ruin all the other bites. That stuff lingers. She only gives this breakfast cereal two and a half stars. I think I'll be slightly more lenient and go with three since there's definitely some potential here. I think this could be a really decent cereal if they toned the ginger down a couple notches.

Bottom line: 5.5 out of 10.

9 comments:

  1. It amazes me the amount of sugar in some of TJ's products... this one is a definite turnoff.. Not just the sugar, but just the name of it makes me walk away.

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    1. You'd think the sugar would offset the ginger a little more...

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  2. I've noticed with other TJ products involving ginger...overload. The ginger snaps...I can barely eat one of them as that overpowering ginger taste (yes, I know they are called ginger snaps) is too much for me.

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    1. True, Stef. I like ginger in moderation. But this and the ginger candy (which Russ reviewed) are about the only things that are too gingery for me so far...

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  3. More for me! My husband and I love this stuff, but we're admitted ginger-freaks. I'll agree it's very strong, but I haven't noticed it being inconsistently strong. I hope they don't change a thing about it!

    One application if you find it too overbearing as a cereal is as the crunch or crumble part of a fruity dessert - it'd be delicious topping baked peaches, apples, berries... mmmm.

    (As for the sugar, it's not really higher than most granolas, though the 'just the clusters' varieties are definitely a little extra indulgent. Granola has a lovely health halo, but that's a lie.)

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    1. I maintain that this would be *excellent* for anyone obsessed with ginger...the rest of us...maybe not as much :)

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    2. I never think anything has enough ginger, TJs at least adds enough but I even ADD more to this. The problem is the people in US act like bland is good& its NOT. Other places people would think the ginger here mild and thats the norm, not all these sensitive folks. Ginger ought to be extreme, and nothing in the US comes even close to ok enough. At least TJs tries to do it as ginger should be, I with theyd add more however

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  4. It's really a matter of taste, isn't it? My wife is a superb cook, who happens to be Thai. I am definitely not the person to ask if something is too spicy, but I positively dislike ginger snap cookies. This stuff, once I got past the first bowl, is addictive. Truly, truly addictive. My mouth delights in it. I buy the stuff in lots of 6-10. Sugar be damned, it's the overall diet and mine is good and this is part of it. I put Nutrasweet in my tea as a concession elsewhere.

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  5. I LOVE this cereal because of the tiny bursts of ginger!I agree with the previous reply that it is a delightful experience to eat a bowl of this. I usually by 2 boxes at a time so I  don't  run out.  The ingredients list crystallized  ginger so if you don't  like crystallized ginger you won't  like this.

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