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, October 14, 2014

Trader José's Hatch Valley Salsa

So here I am, on one hand, casually mentioning my diet here and there, while reviewing things like new fangled cookie butter and mini ice cream sandwiches and kinda disappointing chips and all that stuff. That obviously doesn't add up. So, what do I eat when not indulging myself for your sake, not to mention my very pregnant wife's?

Let's see...chicken. A lot of chicken. Eggs. Sweet potatoes, but not too often. Veggies. It's kinda surprising to me how much I've come to really enjoy good, fresh spinach. Lots of nuts (except peanuts). A lot of fruit. Black coffee. Water. And that, surprisingly, is about it - no dairy or carbs or anything. Still learning the paleo ropes to a great extent, but the results speak for themselves.

You know what makes almost all of that taste better? Salsa. Lots and lots of salsa. Gotta be careful perusing the ingredients list, which for the longest time left me basically with one TJ's choice (which was okay, it's my favorite anyways).

Well, here's another one: Trader José's Hatch Valley Salsa. I love it when that José hombré comes to town - almost always means a win. This take on a classic salsa verde is no exception. I'll admit, before this salsa, I've been somehow ignorant of the whole "Hatch Valley chile pepper" thang - like, yeah, I've had them, but just the mini-canned version, which don't sway me one way or the other. Not anymore. If this salsa is anything like "real Hatch Valley chile peppers," I have a new vacation spot in mind. Every bite is full of roasted, smoky chili peppers, with a little sweetness from the freshly crushed tomatillos adding a nice little balance. The lime and garlic are a nice little touch, too, giving plenty of flavor before the heat descends. If you're a spice-adverse type person, this salsa is not for you. The heat kinda meekly introduces itself, before beginning to build and build, and by the time you're a couple bites in, it's all there in its smoky spicy glory. Yet even then, each subsequent bite still has lots of flavor, from those tomatillos, etc, and it doesn't overpower your food, either. Me gusta mucho.

I've yet to find anything that I reasonably enjoy salsa on that this doesn't work. Meats? Eggs? Veggies? Even those couple tortilla chips I swore I wouldn't sneak and then did? Ab-sah-lutely all of them. One of our loyal readers, a "stevenp", mentioned in  a comment a week or two ago he used this and some coffee-garlic rub as a steak marinade with amazing results - haven't tried that yet, but I'm intrigued - thanks for the idea!

Sandy's not as enamored as I am. "It's just too spicy for me," she said. I guess this salsa is mas pica than most other salsa verdes, which she routinely chooses for her burritos at Qdoba (mmm,Qdoba....). I couldn't get a definitive score from her, but her voice was telling me she was wavering between a 2 and a 3, so I'm going with that for her. For me, I'm just glad to have another tasty, healthy salsa option that fits in my diet pretty easy. As tempting as it is to five it up, I can't give those out too often, so here's a 4.5 instead.


Bottom line: Trader José's Hatch Valley Salsa: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

 

6 comments:

  1. Glad, u found it!.. btw here's an article:http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-ff-new-mexico-chiles-20141012-story.html
    I found it interesting after I mentioned this salsa.

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  2. looks good. no cilantro! Hope it's available out west.

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    1. You know, the "no cilantro" thing didn't even occur to me until you mentioned it - as a guy who likes cilantro, this stuff is so good, it isn't needed!

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  3. Might be a good spicy food to keep on hand in case baby #2 needs a little nudge down the spout later!

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  4. A couple of spoonfuls of this mixed with mashed avocado makes a quick guacomole-like dip.

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