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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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trader Joe's Mini Cinnamon Sugar Churros

There's a moment in an upcoming podcast episode where I get called out on the privilege of my youth: namely, there being churros in my school cafeteria! In suburban Philadelphia, of all places! Shout out to you, North Penn, because apparently this is not the standard across the nation. Not even for Sonia...and she grew up in SoCal! I had no idea this was such a foreign concept. Mind : blown. Maybe I shoulda checked with Sandy to see what her school did...

Anyways, yes, on taco days, we could buy churros at the school cafeteria, as long as our cafeteria trays were wide. And come to think of it, I remember them more at elementary school, not middle or high school...okay, now that's a great idea. Give a bunch of kids a large sugary stick of fried dough, then expect them to learn the 3 R's. What foresight.

But those churros: I remember them being amazing, and kinda the standard to which I hold all other churros. I've had them a few times since, I'm sure - must have had at least one or two at Disneyland (the standard, Sonia opines).

These Trader Joe's Mini Cinnamon Sugar Churros are right in line with the cafeteria ones I recall. For once, comparing TJ's to cafeteria food is meant a compliment. You can find a big baggie in the freezer section for just $3.99. And they're designed to bake up in your oven for just a few minutes (six or seven) before pulling out and dusting over with the included package of cinna-sugar.

My goodness. Delicious. Churros are usually meant to be fried, but despite their ovenly preparation, the churros still taste and feel and even smell fairly fried. Think of them as small hexagram logs. The pointy peaks get crispy and oily, with just the right bite to them - in retrospect, I should have rotated them halfway through baking, since the bottom pan side of these guys did get slightly burned. But no matter. The middles were fluffy yet chewy like any good funnel cake-kinda concoction. And all the cinnamon and sugar...there's plenty enough cinnamon in the actual churro dough, and there's plenty more to add from the side package. I'd say that side satchel seems mostly cinnamon and not quite as much sugar, but still, plenty of sweetness to offset the cinnamon bite. Muy delicioso.  Each churro is about a bite and a half big.

But...not a perfect item. Like myself, perhaps the fine folks who drew up the back label were to hopped up on churros to learn some third grade math, because it's kinda fuzzy, at least as it pertained to my bag. Listen: if a serving is 10 churros, and there's four servings per bag, there should be 40 churros per bag. Now, I can read, so I understand it says "about 4" servings, not just "4 servings." Still...when I got 36 churros, and not more in the acceptable 38 - 42 range, well, it seemed off. Nathan brought up on excellent point about this, though....which you'll just have to listen to the podcast to find out what it was.

Also: You really don't need to eat ten of these anyways. I think Sandy and I each had five and felt like we had our share. Each churros is about a bite and a half big, which is actually perfect. Portion control! Kid friendly!

We like them. A lot. And we're dreaming of different ways to eat them. With vanilla ice cream, fleur de sel or dulce de leche, and maybe some pineapple? Yes. Have a churro bar with all sorts of different dips, like chocolate and fruit and whatnot? Ooh yeah. Make a churro cheesecake somehow? Oh goodness. Yesyesyes. I'm sure you have some fun ideas too, so fill us in!

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mini Cinnamon Sugar Churros: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

p.s. - Major shout out to Pamela AKA "The Frozen Queen" at the Pittsburgh McCandless Crossing Trader Joe's for tracking down a bag full for Sandy and me - straight off the truck! Folks like you, Shandra in Salt Lake City, and the nice cashier in North Wales who gave my mom some flowers on the house when recovering from surgery are truly what's good at Trader Joe's - the people!

21 comments:

  1. That is fun to have a churro bar!!!! Plus plenty for $4. Not including microwave directions?

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  2. You really need to dunk these in some warmed cookie butter,,,

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  3. Just tried them last night. Consider yourselves lucky. Only 33 in our bag!!!

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    1. Sounds like you got cheated! But not as bad as if you bought their canned tuna, apparently. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/06/trader-joes-hit-with-lawsuit-about-tuna-fish.html

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    2. Big Joe's up to some shady stuff these days...

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  4. I had churros at my elementary school in central Ohio, too... I just assumed that was normal. They seemed more authentic than our taco meat 😂

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  5. Make some of the thick European Sipping chocolate and dunk the churros in there like the spanish do.
    These sound like such an easy great dessert- and if a half serving is sufficient it's not even a crazy indulgent one!
    Ttrockwood

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  6. I think you should try weighing them out.. instead of measuring by count. I'm sure no churro in there is identical.

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  7. Reading along -- says suburban philadelphia (thinks to self, i wonder where). NP baby! Hatfield says whats up

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    1. Hatfield - (was) home of the smiling porker!

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    2. Nope, they changed the sign on Forty Foot Rd - is now Clemens Food Group, not Hatfield Quality Meats sign any more. And poor Ralph's Corner Shopping Center - I worked at Clemens when it was there.

      At least you can still smell the bacon in the air occasionally :)

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  8. As I started reading, I was thinking, "Gee, my school had Churros too!" But I was just down the street at Pennridge. Local delicacy, I suppose.

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    1. If they had soft pretzel cheesesteak churros...hrmm :)

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  9. As I started reading, I was thinking, "Gee, my school had Churros too!" But I was just down the street at Pennridge. Local delicacy, I suppose.

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  10. Hi there! Just started reading your page the other day while in Trader Joe's 😍😍😍 then I read this didn't know you were from close by!! I went to Methacton and I must go to the North Wales TJ's once a week. So exciting to see local bloggers!

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  11. Hi there! Just started reading your page the other day while in Trader Joe's 😍😍😍 then I read this didn't know you were from close by!! I went to Methacton and I must go to the North Wales TJ's once a week. So exciting to see local bloggers!

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  12. I tried them yesterday and it was a let down. Very doughy in the middle... definitely not as tasty as the churros I've had in the past.

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