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, April 14, 2015

Trader Joe's Hobo Bread

This product is called "Hobo Bread" because hobos used to make it during The Great Depression. They'd cook it in old tin cans, hence the cylindrical, tube-like formation. I imagine them baking the bread over large barrel fires under bridges and overpasses, feeding scraps to stray dogs...although dogs aren't supposed to eat raisins...and I'm not sure if the average hobo knows that. I mean, I don't want to sound arrogant. Hobos probably know as much as I do. Although, most of what I "know" comes from Wikipedia and Google searches. So really it probably boils down to whether the hobos have internet access or not. I guess most do if they use the library. But I mean, this is just silly, since nobody had internet access during The Great Depression. I bet it cost like a week's wage for internet service back then. Right?

Anyway, hobos no longer have to bake this bread themselves. They can buy it at TJ's for about $3. Not a bad deal since it's quite filling, plus there are 12 servings in the bag. It's a simple treat—moist bread filled with raisins, walnuts, brown sugar, and molasses. I've never been a huge fan of molasses, but in this case, it's not overwhelming. Noticeable, definitely...but bearable even for me.

The bread's not super sweet, but it's richer, denser, and "wetter" than traditional raisin bread. It crumbles apart very easily, and similar to the Irish soda bread, it would be difficult to heat it up in a toaster without losing a few chunks to the infernal abyss. Conventional oven or toaster oven? Go for it. But I preferred mine at room temperature, sans fixins. So did Sonia, who thinks the bread might have lost a bit of its signature softness and moistness had we eaten it heated. She's a much bigger admirer of molasses than I, and accordingly, she gives this Hobo Bread four stars. I'll throw out three.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. Great Review... but i think you need to call it Sugar Loaf! Wow lotsa sugar. But sounds delightful! Thanks
    Ruth in Oxnard CA

  2. I'll just have a slice of cheesecake instead

    1. Yeah I'd def choose cheesecake over hobo bread, too...

  3. Boston brown bread served with franks and beans was one of my favorite dinners when I was a little kid many moons ago.

  4. I have never seen this at our store. Great, now I will have to drag the kids up and down aisles to try and find it...and I can't tell them to look for it because they hate hobos (that's my fault) and would never eat it if I told them that's what it was we're looking for. They also can't spell yet so they can't help look for it that way either...but the 'hobo' thing would kill any chance of them trying it regardless :(

  5. This is the kind of bread I'd use for French Toast.

  6. Nice! moist ,dense, sweet bread. If you've never had it try TJs its very good. Toast it and smear on some soft butter!! Yum!

  7. I was so excited to try it. I threw the loaf out.. YUCK!

  8. I love it. They do not carry it in the Scottsdale AZ area. I asked if they could order me a few loaves and they said "sorry no". Me sister lives in Massachusetts and I get it there. I bring it back in my luggage.

  9. Good stuff, Hobo Bread, neat that TJ is carrying. Try it with vanilla (or maybe other flavor) ice cream. I use TJ's French vanilla. Crumble the bread into a bowl with the ice cream. Makes a nice "topping" (or bottoming)!

  10. They discontinued it and I am not happy!!