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, March 30, 2016

Trader Joe's Thyme Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Talk about subtle flavors! This might have the subtlest taste of any TJ's product I've ever tried. The smell of this product is at least twice as strong as its actual flavor on the tongue.

Now I'm down with oil and vinegar dressings, or most any kind of vinaigrette or what have you, but this stuff...I'm not sure where the balsamic part of it is. Or the honey part. Or the thyme part. It's basically just olive oil if you ask me—and maybe not even the most flavorful olive oil I've ever had. It's pretty bland, pure and simple. Sonia and I thought "Hmmm, maybe all the flavors are on the bottom. Maybe we didn't shake the container enough." But even after ample agitation, the trace amounts of balsamic we dredged up from the bottom of the bottle barely produced anything more tangy or tasty than the first few drab drizzles.

It's been a while since Sonia and I busted out a thoroughly negative review, and I always cringe when I have to do this, because negativity typically begets negativity. There are defenders for just about every one of TJ's products, so it tends to be safer to either just stick to stuff we like, or to downplay our negative feelings in some cases. 

If you look back through the past year or so on this blog, the "Meh," "Not So Great," and "Blahhh" categories have been dominated by Russ. He's a braver man than I am. It's not that I've lied to you about Sonia's and my scores, it's just that we've tended to review products we have neutral or positive feelings for, and we've tried to do the whole "silver lining" thing when we can. But every once in a while, we just can't. This is one of the worst salad dressings I've ever had. And to top it all off, there are 21 grams of flavorless fat per serving!

Sonia adds, "I am really disappointed. I definitely won't buy it again." On a slightly brighter note, she liked the texture of it. One and a half stars from her. One star from me. 

Unfortunately, there's an even MORE negative review than this one on the imminent horizon. You might not see it on here tomorrow, but definitely before the end of the week. Stay tuned if you love drama.

Bottom line: 2.5 out of 10.


  1. I think you might have gotten a bad bottle. We've been dressing roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts with this and it's as tangy as we'd expect a balsamic vinaigrette to be.

    1. Yes, I agree. I would ask for a refund, they are good about that...and try another jar.

  2. Oooohhhh! Drama! *waits ringside with a bag of Trader Joe's Absolutely Terrible (yeah i said it!) and Tasteless Sour Cream & Onion Corn Puffs*


    1. Them's fightin' words! I despise puffed corn in any form, but the sentimental flavor of sour cream and onion gets me every time!

    2. *throws shoe at screen* WELL I CAN'T TASTE THE SOUR CREAM & ONION!*chaos erupts in the comments section*

  3. See what I mean about negativity? I write one negative review and suddenly our readers are ready for knock-down drag-out fisticuffs over these:


    which got a 6 out of 10 from Russ and Sandy, fyi :)

  4. My bottle doesn't seem to have any balsamic in it either =P It didn't really taste like anything to me =(

  5. I ended up whisking this with a good bit more basalmic and a gob of dijon to use for salad dressing, but won't be repurchasing

  6. This is really great with broccoli and pine nuts