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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Friday, January 8, 2016

SHOT O' JOE: Trader Joe's Smoked Ghost Chilies

Maybe you want to add a little extra something to your chili or soup or whatever for dinner. Maybe you had those TJ's ghost chili chips a few months back and thought, "Hey, those weren't so bad." Maybe on a recent trek to Trader Joe's you saw the Smoked Ghost Chilies grinder and thought, for $4.99, it'd add a nice little kick but something you could easily handle.

And you'd be wrong.

Listen: Unless you know what you're getting into, leave this pepper alone. It's beyond hot and spicy. The fact it comes inside a little plastic baggies inside the grinder should be a clue - I think it's so the capsaicin won't eat thru the grinder itself while still on store shelves. It's hot. Listen: most times I've used it, I've turned the grinder only the minimum necessary and let the few small flakes fall out...and that's seemed a bit much. A quarter turn would make things downright uncomfortable...a full would be a reason to go the ER.

Such is the way of the bhut jolokia, rough translation: butt igniter. Super fiery hot. Proceed with caution. No kids. No contact with eyes. No nothing. It'll take me years to get through this...and I like to think I'm a spice aficionado. I like the ghouly grinder but in small doses, and it's far from an everyday kinda thing. Maybe I'm just getting old. But be careful, kiddos.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Smoked Ghost Chilies: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

7 comments:

  1. I can see this being used in cheese sauces. Just a pinch. Since dairy can cut some of the spiciness down. Maybe ideal for buffalo wings just a pinch for the seasonings. Just a tiny pinch for scrambled eggs or omelets. It can replace hot sauce in recipes. Why not make pizza dough and use a pinch of that in the dough to give it a twist? Again the cheese can give some relief from the heat.

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    1. Pretty good idea - if not for the small kids in my house I'd try that.

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  2. Funny, I *just* made a steak with a side of corn, and put just a few flakes of this on the corn before I opened up this review. Coincidence! And yes, the corn is quite heated. :) One grinder of this is like a lifetime's supply.

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    1. Very true - didn't think of it in those terms, but you're absolutely right.

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  3. For a milder spicy experience, I have just discovered Trader Joe's sliced jalapeno yogurt cheese. It has the richest sharpness of a sharp cheddar and the spicy bite as well as pepper flavor of jalapeno.

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    1. Think I've had that once or twice upon a time....

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  4. This is my "Frank's"...I put this ish on everything! It is hot and doesn't take much, but man do I love it.

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