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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Monday, December 29, 2014

Trader Joe's Petite Fig, Pear and Cranberry Tart

So far this holiday season, I've seen some incredible Christmas lights, had some excellent beer and great food, played some fun games, watched some classic movies, and read a great, inspiring book. And unlike certain eventful Christmases past, my family members came and went without anyone wishing eternal hellfire on anyone else. 

It's been a whirlwind of awesomeness, and it's not over yet. At the moment, I'm so content, I'm not overflowing with that cynical, sarcastic sense of humor that graces so many of my reviews here on this blog. It's a weird feeling, actually—but not entirely unwelcome.

This year was the first year my wife and I hosted Christmas at our house, so naturally, we tried to impress people with decent food. This tartastic little product was one of the desserts we had on hand. It's not exactly what we expected, but it's certainly not bad.

It's spongy, not flaky. In my mind, and apparently in the minds of Sonia and my parents alike, the word "flaky" signifies a pie crust-style breading. However, this crust is more like a sponge cake than a pie crust. And that's our biggest complaint. It was tasty enough, but we felt the description was a tad misleading. "Buttery," yes. Soft, yes. "Flaky," not so much.

The filling was pleasantly tart and sour. It's also slightly sweet, but nowhere close to a traditional pie filling. Even the sweetness of the pears is overshadowed by the tartness of the cranberries. And there's not much "jelly." It's mostly actual fruit. The overall effect is satisfying, yet lighter and subtler than most desserts.

My dad seemed to like it a bit more than the rest of us, but we all settled on a consensus of 8 out of 10, which puts this squarely in our really darn good category. In our humble opinions, it's worth checking out.

If I don't get another review out before 2015, let me say "Happy New Year!" and thanks for reading!

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.


  1. This is one of a very few TJ products that lacks eye appeal..omg.. hope it tastes better than it looks.

    1. Yeah, it looks a little goofy, KBF...we thought it tasted pretty good, though...

  2. 8/10 is surprisingly good. TJ's baked goods are my least favorite items. They often taste a little stale to me... May be I have yet found a winner. I haven't tried this one because I've been to afraid to try anymore of the bread, cakes or cookies there....after those poor tasting ones I bought a few years ago...

    1. They can be kind of a gamble, but we were pleasantly surprised with this one...

  3. I tried this as the calorie count was reasonable compared to most bakery treats. Was pleasantly surprised as it was moist and fruity. Shall I dare compare the taste to fruitcake? I happen to love fruitcake. In any event, it is a "seasonal" taste. Never realized, but you are right— not flaky. I also warmed it up a bit in the microwave before digging in.

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