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, March 22, 2016

Trader Joe's Lightly Breaded Reduced Fat Fish Sticks

Fish sticks have never been terribly exciting—especially when you start tacking phrases like "reduced fat" on to the title of the product. I mean, sure, one might argue that fish filets, croquettes, and nuggets aren't much better. But to me, they seem a little more "Trader Joe-esque" than just plain old fish sticks do. But I must admit, these aren't bad.

The texture of these depended greatly on their time in the oven. One slightly under-baked batch came out soft and delicate, another spent some extra time in the oven and came out crispy—almost crunchy. So it's pretty easy to tailor these sticks to your specific taste. The fish was fairly consistently flaky and white, with very few weird, dark spots and irregularities, as I've seen with some other brands of fish sticks.

There's a nice, subtle fish flavor here. The breading is indeed light and only lends a whisper of carby goodness to the tender pollock. Overall, though, I thought the product was a little too bland to be eaten sans condiments. Lacking authentic tartar sauce, we whipped up a makeshift batch using Miracle Whip and relish. We applied it sparingly to our fish sticks and found that it worked pretty well. With a salad and some juice, they made a pleasantly satisfying dinner for Sonia and I one evening last week, and there were still enough left over for lunch the next day. There's no reinvention of the wheel here. These are solid, palatable fish sticks—even if they are a tad boring. Four stars from Sonia, three from me.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. Use those for quick fish tacos. My husband is a novice cook and when I went back to school he had to pick up the cooking duties. He uses these and the reduced beer batter fish for fish tacos a night or two a week. It's good!!

    1. Excellent idea. I haven't had a good fish taco in a while...

  2. I need to pick these up. Going to school and working means not much time for cooking. Bar exam in July! Fish sticks it is.