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, December 7, 2015

SHOT O' JOE: Trader Joe's Taste Test of Caramels

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!

Want an exquisite tasting adventure and high stakes competition...all in one? You're sure in luck with Trader Joe's Taste Test of Caramels. For $5.99, you get a twelve pack of fine, dark chocolate-coated ooey gooey caramels in all sorts of delectable flavors like maple, fig and honey, and double espresso...but which is which??? Now, there's the fun! As recommended, Sandy and I chilled the caramels in the freezer for a bit to ease the slicing and dicing process one evening while visiting my folks, my sister and her boyfriend. Pro tip: For a crowd bigger than four, get another box - slicing these roughly smaller-than-an-inch cubes into representative bites smaller than a fourth is not an easy task. If you don't get quite the right bite, it's amazing how closely blood orange balsamic can taste like strawberry black pepper. But oh what fun. We sampled each, listed our wagers, and at the end, compared our answers against the master key included - the only one we all agreed on was the chili pepper. My sister, local pastry/dessert chef legend, and my mom, home culinary genius, led the scores with *only* eight right each. Sandy and I got seven correct, my dad six...and my sister's boyfriend won the participation award with only three right! Well, I filled all of his with toothpaste, actually, so he's as lucky a guesser as he is good a sport. All caramels were delicious and thankfully nothing like those awful pumpkin spice abominations. Be adventurous and snag your own box(es) of gamble caramels - definitely worth the pick up.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Taste Test of Caramels: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. Can't wait to do this! Sounds like fun and a great gift for caramel lovers. Gotta make a run to TJ tomorrow to see if these are still in. Of course you missed another fun use for these.... Hide them high in the pantry when you need a sneak of something yummy over the holidays.

    1. Lol....just hope you get the one you REALLY want when you need them then :)

  2. We get this every year! I cut them into quarter pieces and each person in the family has to guess which caramel flavor it is. Fun and tasty way to have dessert.