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 21, 2015

Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Parmigiana

Isn't this a fall item, you ask? 

Perhaps. Butternut squash does seem rather "harvesty," but in actuality, it's a winter squash. And when it's parmigianafied and topped with crunchy amaretti, it's downright delicious.

After reading the box thoroughly, we discovered that the included tray is, in fact, "ovenable." Thanks to TJ's, that word is now part of the American lexicon and we shall no longer have to thread together really awkward phrases like, "can be put in the oven confidently without fear of bursting into flames." So we did. We ovened the tray. And then we ate the dish straight out of the tray. One person could easily consume this dish by him or herself, but hey, it's the holiday season and sharing stuff with people you love is all the rage apparently.

It's hearty, flavorful, and slightly sweet. I'm not sure what we were expecting, but Sonia and I were both very pleasantly surprised when we shared this double-serving tray of gourmet butternut brilliance. I guess cheese, squash, and cookie crumbs were the last three things either of us would have ever thought to merge into a single dish. But somehow it works. 

To describe the taste to you would be extremely difficult, since I've never had anything quite like it before. It actually tastes like its constituent parts, but they blend together oh so much better than I would have ever imagined.  It's a bit on the fattening side for a vegetable-based meal, but if you're an adventurous eater, we think it's absolutely worth a try. I'm sure we're bound to get some dissenting opinions on this one, but as for Sonia and me, we're fans.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.


  1. Sounds very interesting! Cookie crunch is making me to buy it soon!