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, December 9, 2014

Trader Joe's Gingerbread Pancake Mix

I'm going to kick off this review by comparing these pancakes to a cereal we reviewed earlier this year. First, they're both for breakfast. Second, we prepared both of them with milk (although the instructions for these pancakes said to just add water). Thirdly and most importantly, they were both just too gingery for us. Or rather, certain bites were just too gingery for us in both cases.

The ginger bits in the batter had a tendency to sink down to the bottom of our mixing bowl, so the first few pancakes we made were just like regular flapjacks but with a mild to moderate gingerbreadishness about them. Really pleasant overall. With butter and maple syrup, they tasted really good, and the gingerbread vibe was a nice holiday twist. However, the last few pancakes had at least one hunk of "crystallized" ginger in every bite. 

You can chalk it up to user error and say we should have fluffed up the batter a bit before each pancake hit the skillet—and in hindsight, that might have solved the problem. But even then, I think there would have been too much ginger. It might have been a blessing in disguise that the first half of our pancake batch was relatively ginger free. Because the ones with ginger were WAY too gingery, even dressed up with butter and syrup.

Each ginger chunk was about the size of the piece of pimento you might find in an olive. That might not sound very big, but the flavor of ginger is so potent, it overshadowed everything else. We were expecting something that tasted like gingerbread, not raw ginger. Ginger's great as a spice, but it's just too much for Sonia and I when it becomes the main attraction.

This pancake mix isn't a complete fail, in my opinion, but you really have to love the taste and texture of actual ginger for them to be considered a win. Sonia's only other comment: "Not terribly impressed." She gives them 2.5 stars. I'll be the slightly less grinchy Grinch this time and give a 3.5.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

7 comments:

  1. Well, that's disappointing...but it gives me an idea of how to gingerize my Pamela's gluten free mix: add some molasses for extra sweetness, a splash of vanilla extract, and then ground ginger, clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.

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  2. They gave these for free samples, and I thought they were pretty good! How do these compare to the coconut pancake mix?

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    1. Russ and Sandy actually reviewed the Coconut Pancakes. Sonia and I haven't tried them yet, Diya.

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    2. Oh whoops! Both of you have similar writing styles!

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  3. I love ginger in baked goods, but not when it's overpowering...

    Just wanted to stop by and tell you about the new quinoa pesto Trader Joe's just came out with. My friend works at our local store and she brought me a sample jar to try and it's SO delicious. I can't stop thinking about it!!

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