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, July 18, 2014

Trader Joe's Five Seed Almond Bars

It's a pretty well established fact by now that the checkout displays at Trader Joe's sometimes giveth and sometimes taketh away. Generally, by that I mean they giveth something yummy for me to eat while they taketh my dollars. There's been a few tremendous finds, some fun combos, and very few duds. Nutritional value is occasionally very debatable at best.

But...what if something there could be healthy and taste good?

It was upon the checkout lane that I first discovered Trader Joe's Five Seed Almond Bars. Usually, they're nestled in some nether regions above frozen Asian food and below much flashier-looking cookies that I'd never really seen them around until they were a featured item. Indeed, I had to look around for a couple minutes to find them once more even after being told exactly where they were by an employee. Maybe if they wore a red-and-white beanie, goofy glasses, and a striped shirt they'd be easier to spot when only at their normal home.

Tell ya what: Regardless of where displayed, these almond bars should not be overlooked. They're that good. Each bar isn't that big - about an ounce, a little more than an inch wide, maybe three inches long, half an inch thick, maybe - but they pack a lot. Each bite is soft and inviting, yet chewy but still crumbly, with some seeds randomly interspersed that make the bars pretty fun to munch on. Indeed, I had to chomp on these a bit more than I usually chew my food. For taste, they're like an amazing hybrid between pumpkin pie and my grandmother's molasses cookies, even though there's no molasses in them. Must be the cinnamon and cloves, which really shine through. Each respective seed - flax, poppy, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin - adds even more flavor to the subtly nutty base. And yes, there's a fair amount of sugar, although it sure doesn't taste like it - these are more geared for grown-ups and not kids, it seems. Not a bad thing. If you're a morning yogurt person, I'd imagine some yogurt with a bar crumbled on top would be a fairly tasty treat.

Both Sandy and I are fans. They're soft, delicious, and surprisingly filling. One of these, an apple, and some coffee, and I'm set til lunch. As an added bonus the almond bars are pretty decently priced ($3.99 for a package of 8) and pack more nutrition than a regular ol' granola bar. It's just a good, honest bite that's pretty close to perfect for a busy, on-the-go day. Sandy gives them a four, I counter with a 4.5,

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Five Seed Almond Bars: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons   


  1. Baby M, does in fact, like these crumbled on her yogurt!

  2. never saw these before but looked for them after reading your post & WOW I'm glad I did. they are great! thanks for the heads up to another stellar TJs item

  3. These are really tasty, especially with yogurt. Though as a vegetarian I didn't notice they contained fish oil until I was on the second bar. Oh well… My co-workers will like them!

  4. These are simply great. Our store is constantly running out of them.

  5. They're ok, but the cloves take over the flavor and they are a bit oily. Seems like a Christmas snack.