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, November 2, 2015

Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing Seasoned Kettle Chips

Well, hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween. We sure did out here in the 'burgh, although our kiddos were too smart to fall for the Jimmy Kimmel "we ate all your candy" bit we tried to pull on them. Too smart, those kids. Anyways, on to the next holiday (and my personal favorite) - Thanksgiving!

One thing I'm thankful for, as triflingly unimportant in the grand scheme it is: Seems to me we're in the midst of a potato chip renaissance going on here. For the longest time, the only kind of chips out there, that I could think of anyways, were: plain, sour cream and onion, barbecue, and salt and vinegar, with the occasional rogue bag of cheddar and sour cream, but who really liked those, anyways? Maybe some slight variations in there, but all that there really was. Then....Lay's kicked up their "Do Us A Flavor" campaign and BAM. I didn't know that you could make chips taste convincingly akin to biscuits and gravy, or Reuben sandwiches, or a gyro, or...well, yeah, let's forget those cappuccino ones, shall we?

Now, just as November rolls in, a new entrant: Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing Seasoned Kettle Chips. I'm kinda surprised that they didn't go for a name like "Holiday Dinner", "Gobbler Goodies" or "Thanksgivingesque" - the name as is just sounds too straightforward. But too awesome to not try.

And not disappointed one bit. Not. At. All. Cracking the seal unleashed a very savory aroma much like a fresh dish of stuffing waiting to get devoured....yum. Salivating already. Quick visual scan: very much like sour cream and onion, but okay, who has time for that, it's munch time...oh goodness. The first taste that hits is hard on the stuffing. Very upfront. Sandy and my brother both said, independently, that it tastes very much like Stove Top brand stuffing - I'm picking that up, too, but I think that's mostly because that's what I first think of when I think of stuffing. There's the taste of celery and slight herbal bite of rosemary and thyme in there that really seals the deal.

That's fine, but....what about the turkey? It's present, but more subtle. The best way I can think of to describe it, there's a certain roastiness to these chips that slowly builds with each chip, and is more apparent on the aftertaste. It'd be impossible, probably, to perfectly replicate the juicy joy of fresh roasted turkey on a dry, crispy potato chip - but to the extent that a chip can, it's there. If you've tried the Lay's Reuben chips, for example, the "corned beef aspect" is perhaps the subtlest, but still present - these TJ turkey tater tidbits are similar in that regard.

Really though, in all, the stuffing and turkey flavors come together very well, and of course, some potato flavor pokes through as well to sell the "Thanksgiving dinner on a chip" idea even better. Now, some might say "well, you'd need gravy and cranberry sauce to really make it Thanksgiving dinner....." Look. There's enough salt on them, with enough taste, that adding just a little more to add a gravy spin would be a misstep. And adding something tart and sweet to them, like cranberry, would throw it all off. IT'S A POTATO CHIP, not meant to replace your holiday meal, or to be some Wonka-gobstopper-esque concoction that will taste like an entire holiday dinner, because then they'd have to include pecan pie and wine too, and now we're just getting carried away.

And they're perfect just as they are. No, I mean that. Perfect. Perfect turkey and stuffing taste. Perfect kettle chip crunch. Perfect for the snack budget at only $1.99 a bag. Just perfect. I love them, and I don't say that about chips often - I'm a guy who most days would prefer a handful of raw spinach over a baggie of average run-of-the-mill chips. I'm going to say these are now my favorite potato chips I've ever had, which will make their logical seasonal demise all the sadder. So, in the meantime: Indulge! Sandy and I polished off one bagful already, and went back for more - self control might kick back in at one point, but until then: Gobble gobble.

Bottom line:  Trader Joe's Turkey and Stuffing Seasoned Kettle Chips: 10 out of 10 Golden Spoons

20 comments:

  1. I tried it and I thought it was pretty tasty. I can see it used in various ways to use it. Maybe crumbled up on top of green bean casserole, top off mashed potatoes, and use it as a breading for turkey cutlets.

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    1. Green bean casserole - genius! I always thought those crispy onion things were overrated.

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  2. Did you feel like taking a nap afterwards?

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  3. My initial reaction was gross, but 10 out of 10 - guess I will give um a try!

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  4. I had the Boulder Chip "thanksgiving in a bag" last year and their Turkey/gravy and Stuffing chips were spot on, but they had separated the stuffing from the turkey. I would try these to see what how it tastes with the turkey and stuffing all on the same chip.

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    1. I suspect it Boulder's chips rebranded as TJ's

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  5. Are these just Thanksgiving flavors without actual turkey? I'm curious if these are vegetarian/vegan as I didn't see turkey in the ingredients, just Thanksgiving/stuffing seasonings. The only possible turkey ingredient was natural flavors.

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    1. Had to doublecheck - not labeled as vegeterian/vegan so you may be right about those natural flavors there :/

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    2. It is kosher parve though, so unless the "natural flavors" come from a seafood or egg source (pretty unlikely) there is definitely no meat or dairy.

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  6. These are good chips. The flavor is not in-your-face like many flavored chips. As Russ noted, the flavors balance well. I will buy these again.

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  7. These are so awesome I refuse to buy them...I know I'd eat them all in one sitting. Glad to see you're a fan, though! They're a pretty polarizing item in my store.

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    1. Use it as a breading or a topper for green bean casserole! Be creative!!!

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  8. I BOUGHT THEM and I got two bags just in case I loved them AND I DO they're really really good and the cashier was really excited when she saw them in my basket

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  9. I'm eating them right now. They are soooo good. I suspect MSG is hidden as a "natural flavor." I don't like it, but I must finish what I've started 😈😭

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  10. I'm eating them right now. They are soooo good. I suspect MSG is hidden as a "natural flavor." I don't like it, but I must finish what I've started 😈😭

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  11. Surprisingly delicious! Thank you for the recommendation (I think!).

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  12. Okay, Me and hubby were in the minority. We didn't enjoy them enough to buy again. Very big sage taste IMO.

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  13. Omg. I had not seen these! Is it too late to hope I might still be able to grab a bag?

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