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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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trader Joe's Organic Mini Cheese Sandwich Crackers

As a general rule, I don't write about (or even mention) my daughter much on here, but today, perhaps in honor of her recent second birthday, I am. You see...I love my girl to pieces, and I love spending as much time as I can with her. I find myself constantly learning how to enjoy her and my time with her, no matter her mood, how my day otherwise went, or what we're doing. Sometimes, it's the big fun family trips, like our recent overnighter to Ohio for a Reds/Pirates game and Columbus Zoo visit. Her highlight? Jumping on the bed at the hotel we stayed at in northern Kentucky (or as she calls it, "Kucky!!!"). Other times, it's the smaller, fun outings, like going to the pool or out for ice cream here (her favorite flavor of ice cream? "Blue."). Or, more times than not, it's the small, simple, everyday stuff that I just try to soak up. I love coming home after a nine or ten hour workday and snatching her up as she smiles (provided that she'll willingly part from an episode of Peppa Pig, of course) then going out to the kitchen and making dinner with her "help" and company as Sandy gets a few minutes to herself to recharge her batteries (seriously, she's tough, but everyone needs a breather). It's so much fun to be with her, talk about her day some, goof off, sing songs, do whatever...it all reminds of why I do what I do, all day every day. Then, of course, it's bath time, then jammie time, then brushing teeth and reading books and looking at pictures before I sing her to sleep - these days, I have to sing both "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and "Come Thou Fount" as I snuggle her in for the night. I hope that somehow, some way, she'll remember all those small moments, and that'll they mean as much to her as they do to me.

What does all this have to do with Trader Joe's Organic Mini Cheese Sandwich Crackers? Besides the "cheese" factor, of course. Well, sometimes while whisking away to make dinner, or getting to sit down and be still, or to tide her over at a ballgame or in her stroller, like any toddler she needs a snack or she will be NOT HAPPY and will let you know. These cheesy crackers have been a key find recently to combat her little hunger monster on the go.

Truth be told, I can munch on these, and not notice much of a difference between the TJ's brand and a brand like Ritz. There's not anything fancy - generic, kinda fake cheese (you know the type) sandwiched between two crackers.  At least these are organic, so presumably a tad healthier, although I look at the fat, salt and calories and kinda wonder. Good thing my daughter is on the smaller side and eats a reasonably healthy and balanced diet, so I don't feel too too guilty about it. I mean, she loves peas, for goodness sake. About the only difference I can discern is perhaps the crackers are a slight bit heftier than Ritz's, but that could be me trying too hard and making things up in an effort to try to draw at least a small distinction. Crackers are crispy, buttery, and fairly light, the "cheese" is a salty, gritty variant of creamy, and they're easily twistable so if you (or your toddler) wants to rip apart, lick cheese off one cracker, then devour both dime-dimensioned discs like some diabolical snacker cracker monster, go right ahead.

For two-ish bucks, not a bad pickup. No offense to my beautiful wife, but I'm skipping her opinion this time and going straight to the expert: my two year old. I explained the concept of Golden Spoons to her and was met with blank stares. Then I asked her if the crackers were "yucky" or "yummy." "Yucky!" she exclaimed. I then pointed out the two fistfuls she was holding, with crumbs down her front and smeared around her mouth and asked her if she was sure. "Hummmmm....yummy!" she then squealed. Glad to get that cleared up. There's also, naturally, a peanut butter version which we haven't tried yet but will probably soon as our next trip - I thank God every day she has no PB allergies, because I love me some peanut butter. Seeing as though these snacks make up two of her favorite things - cheese and crackers - when she eventually told me a five for these guys, I'll believe her. If they only had baseball, ice cream and fireworks involved for her...I'm going with a 3.5 myself.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Mini Cheese Sandwich Crackers: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. I don't know if I can trust this score. You clearly led the adorable witness. ;-)

  2. We had to ban them from the house because my husband and I will each an entire box in one sitting. I love these and the peanut butter version!

  3. I love hearing about the daughter! She sounds like a pure joy to have around. :) great review!