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, February 2, 2015

Trader Joe's Triple Fruit Treat

The epitome of a First World Problem: Here I am, standing in my usual Trader Joe's on a snowy but busy Thursday morning before work. My desk drawer stash is completely barren, and I need me some vittles to make through another crushingly busy day...and my usual go-to goodies are gone. Out. No mas. Something about the truck being held up in the snowy storms that are common enough this time of the year. A crew member says they're busy unstocking but who knows, could be a while. And I don't have time to wait.

"Hmm, Triple Fruit Treat," I say to myself, not reading any further, as you'll see here in just a second. "Looks like pineapple, cranberry and blueberry. That's an interesting mix, and just $3.49. Let's do it."

My complete failure to read and/or lack of basic comprehension has foiled me in the past. This time is another example.

First, obviously, not pineapple. it's mango. But that's okay, I like mango. If it's actually, you know, a mango, or at least reminiscent of one. But it's not, and neither are the the cranberries all that cranberry-y or blueberries blueberry-y. That's because (and obviously, if I failed to read the front, then the ingredients list was skipped) look at all the added junk - oils and sugars and whatnot. Ugh. It's these kind of additives and extras that take a perfectly glorious piece of fruit, one of the wonders of creation, and make it a chewy, waxy, falsely sweet lump of Frankenfruit.

And that's pretty much how this tastes. It's like I chopped up some wax fruit from your Aunt Betty's coffee table and tried to ingest it. Ugh. The "mango" tastes nothing like mango, and I could only tell the blueberries and cranberries apart because of the color difference - it all just blends together in a mass produced blend o' blandness. I took a couple small handfuls hoping the experience would get better, and honestly it just left me a sticky gross sweetness in my mouth, a weird buzz in my tummy, and desperation in my soul. Yuck.   

How bad is this stuff? The following day, I came into work at 9:30 a.m., didn't leave until nearly 11 p.m. that night, and epically failed to either pack a lunch OR dinner after a meager breakfast, felt too cheap to go buy something, had these at my desk all day long...and couldn't muster up the guts to have more than a small begrudging handful. Thank goodness someone left a bag of crispy delivery lo mein noodles I claimed as mine when 9:30 p.m. rolled around. They're so bad I'm not subjecting my wife to them, and they are a strong candidate for a TJ's return (done only once for taste-related reasons).

Big Joe, as a suggestion, instead of calling these "Fruit Treats", call them "Froot Treets" to more easily tip off the oblivious shopper (namely, me) as to what they're buying, basically this ain't anything close to the goodness of actual dried fruit. I should have taken the hint that after a wintery blast, and with more snow on the way, there were still abundant bags of this garbage left.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Triple Fruit Treat: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons  

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