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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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

SHOT O' JOE: Trader Joe's Partially Popped Popcorn with Butterscotch & Sea Salt

Editor's note: Shot O' Joe is a new feature we're trying out this holiday season to get to as many new, interesting products as we can. Don't worry, we'll still have our full length reviews on a regular basis. Hope you enjoy, and we welcome any feedback on making this the best we can!

 With a little intuition, you could guess that Trader Joe's Partially Popped Popcorn with Butterscotch & Sea Salt is a lot like the original bag of wannabe widows, except it's butterscotch this time around. And, lo and behold, you'd be right. So the only question we got here is: Does it work?

Answer: Sort of. Butterscotch can be a tough flavor to pull off, especially in dusty form. That's the case here. As is usual with these type o' snacks, some bites were very heavy on butterscotch-y flavor, others not so much. With those that were lacking, I wanted more. But with too much butterscotch came too much juxtaposition between the sugary caramel-y sweetness and the natural grainy flavor from corn. I've yet to find a perfect bite, but not from lack of trying.

 Sandy rather enjoys it as a sweet, salty, crunchy treat, and honestly, for once, I wouldn't be too upset if she happened to have a little more than me.I think I just liked the original better, and I'd prefer a savory variation over a sweet one...hrmm...maybe something a little more baconesque? Please? Sandy's keeping her original score, while I'm knocking mine to match the price: 2.5.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Partially Popped Popcorn with Butterscotch and Sea Salt: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. I also prefer their savory over their sweet popcorn. Have you seen is interesting comparison yet? http://m.eonline.com/news/722333/trader-joe-s-vs-the-real-deal-here-s-who-makes-your-favorite-foods-best

  2. Have you tried the large green olives that TJ's is featuring as a holiday treat this year? I can't decide whether to buy them or not. They look interesting but also a little scary!

    1. Interesting but a little scary is definitely right! Have seen them but definitely intimidated - put this down as a "maybe"? :)

  3. Thanks for all of your reviews! Still haven't tried the partially popped popcorn. I keep checking to see if you have tried the shrimp toast.

  4. I love butterscotch *anything* and was so happy to find these. I ripped open the bag as soon as I got home. What a letdown. They have a chemical taste to them and the butterscotch is sickly sweet. I threw away the bag after having just a few. Thankfully their salted butterscotch caramels are perfect, I hope they don't stop carrying those.