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 16, 2015

Trader Giotto's Panettone French Toast

It hasn't been all that long since our last panettone review. And since that review was posted two months ago, it has come to my attention that panettone bread makes excellent French toast. I had no idea. In fact, a reader commented and asked if I thought it would make good French toast. At the time, I said my admittedly not-so-confident guess was no. That just goes to show you that my culinary instincts are still solidly in the "foodie-hack" category and have not evolved far beyond that at this point in our Trader Joe's food product rating adventure.

Other readers posted comments on this blog as well as the Facebook page that the product did, in fact, make excellent French toast. I was curious about trying to make it myself, however, doing that would have involved cooking. There would have been eggshells all through my eggy bread. Sonia does enough around here, so I didn't try to twist her arm into making it for me, although the idea crossed my mind on more than one occasion.

Fortunately, Trader Joe's thought about all the culinarily-handicapped folks like myself and went ahead and made the French toast version on our behalf. Thanks, TJ's! Granted, this particular product is much more similar to French-toastified Panettone Classico, a product we looked at a couple years ago, rather than French-toastified Pumpkin Panettone (but maybe we can look forward to that for Fall 2016??)

Also since that Pumpkin Panettone review, I was made aware that we had been pronouncing "panettone" wrong the whole time. You're actually supposed to pronounce the "e" at the end, kind of like in the word "minestrone." Those zany Italianos. In the Panettone Classico review, I wrote a terza rima love poem to the product. I took great pride in the fact that my rhyme and meter was nearly perfect, but now that I know there's an extra syllable in the word "panettone," my iambic pentameter is completely ruined.

But let's get back to the product at hand, shall we? Because it's excellent. I like it better than any other French toast or panettone product I've had from Trader Joe's. We followed some advice that Sonia found online and heated it in the microwave, melted a nice dollop of butter on each slice, and dusted with confectioner's sugar. It's convenient and simple...and amazingly delicious. The toast slices are vastly more practical than the bizarre, though presumably more traditional, bell shapes we've seen in the other two panettone products. And I always thought Trader Joe's French Toast lacked a special zip. Well, the raisins and citrus peels in this panettone version were apparently exactly what it needed, because they blended surprisingly well with the egg and bread flavors here. 

Sonia and I both agree this is a "two-thumbs-up" product. She thinks the egg batter really makes the panettone bread more palatable, not that she had any major problems with the non-French toast versions. If you were hesitant to try the actual Panettone Classico or Pumpkin Panettone, this product is a great "gateway" food into the world of the festive Italian candied fruit cake. Four stars from Sonia. A near-perfect four and a half from me.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.


  1. Geniuses! Pumpkin panettone should be next! Or something different type of pannetone. Cookie butter panettone??? Get it on TJ's!!!