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, December 12, 2014

Trader Joe's Cookies Beyond the Pail

And now for today's lesson in rarely used English idioms: "beyond the pale." Basically, it means outside an acceptable bounds, such as my language and use of middle digits during rush hour traffic. Deplorable. Disgraceful. Disgusting. Like the driving actions of others that facilitate my own improper response during said rush hour. But where does this expression come from? Um, here's a pretty lengthy breakdown...something about stakes and Ireland and colonial resentment...I'll admit I stopped less than halfway through.

What the h-e-double-bendi-straw does that expression have to do with the naming of Trader Joe's Cookies Beyond the Pail? These aren't cookies gone wild or behaving badly. No bleeps. No blurs. Just some butter cookies hanging out in the bucket with a windmill on it. Yeah, fine, there's the "pail" they come in, and the chance to make a stupid pun (which I always appreciate), so perhaps we'll just to settle for that.

Butter cookies are always everywhere this time of year, usually in fancy tins that I feel guilty about tossing but foolish for wanting to hang on. In lieu of festive decorative packaging, to get us all more in the spirit, focus more on the beautiful LL Bean table wreath my folks sent us a few days ago. At least Big Girl M is already excited about the prospect of having a "cookie bucket" to play with when we're all said and done, and it won't look all that ridiculous.

Packaging aside, there's four types of butter cookies here: pretzel shaped with vanilla-y crystals, snickerdoodles, almond bars, and chocolate chip. Each are pretty representative of the general butter cookie genre in their own right - good bite, crumbly, sugary, rich but not too much so, nothing too fancy but yet so satisfying. I prefer the vanilla pretzels the most, as they seem a little tougher and crunchier than the rest, but man, those almond bars practically melt...Not a huge fan of the chocolate chip ones, though. There's only a few chips in each cookie, and any chocolate flavor is so muted compared to the rest of the cookie that if I didn't see them, I wouldn't know they were there. The snickerdoodles could use a tad more cinnamon, too, in my opinion, but they're pretty decent as is.

I'd rank them in this order of preference: vanilla pretzel, almond bars, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip. It's funny and probably very beneficial for the two of us that Sandy's list would go the complete opposite, so we can each focus on the cookies we like best. There's nothing too above and beyond about these nominally brash buttery bites, but man, we like them, and for the price (big bucket for like $4, cheaper than most!) they're definitely worth checking out.



Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cookies Beyond the Pail: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

7 comments:

  1. I wore a Christmas cookie bucket on my head for basically the entire second year of my life. I wouldn't leave the house without it.... You have been warned.

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    1. LOL....I'm assuming you still turned out okay? :)

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  2. Ahh memories. We always had the kind from the blue tin growing up. I can still taste those pretzel shaped ones! They are the best.

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  3. OMG, these are good.. Wish the pail was Costco size! :-)

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  4. Just finishing up my first pailful and hoping I can find them still in stock when I hit TJ's on the weekend. When I started the pretzels were my favorite but I have grown to love them all.

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