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, April 1, 2016

Trader Joe's Cotton Kitchen Towels


Well, readers, gotta admit: all of us at WGaTJ's are a little disappointed. You see, in years past right around this time, we've been privileged to be part of the taste test process for new, interesting, exotic products before they hit store shelves. It's sorta like the once a year bone that Big Joe throws us for hosting one of the Internet's biggest rolling Trader Joe's lovefests.

But not this year. No particular reason why. Just...nothing. Maybe there's still some fallout from last year's sampling which just didn't quite meet final quality standards for some reason - what a crappy excuse. Eh well.

So, instead, we're going to branch out and give something a try that first came back to Trader Joe's shelves a few months back: Trader Joe's Cotton Kitchen Towels. They're sold in a three-pack for like $5.99, which seems to be a pretty decent value. But, really, we're confused here. Literally, there's no instructions or descriptions or anything, so it's like TJ's is selling these 100% cotton towels with the assumption that we're supposed to know exactly what to do with them.

I mean, how in the the heck are you supposed to eat them?

No preparation instructions at all, so we're just winging it here, trying to take some clues. Seeing that the towels are apparently shelf-stable and not frozen, refrigerated, canned, or packaged, we first tried them as is, just what I presume would be "raw." Bleh. Literally, no taste - with the red coloring I was hoping for at least a hint of strawberry or sriracha or bacon or something. Instead, it's just this bland, fibrous, tough cloth-type sheet that is impossible to bite through.

Giving TJ's the benefit of the doubt, we began thinking just maybe we're doing wrong here. So, with the lack of guidance, here began the experiments. We tried microwaving - just warmed it up, slightly, but otherwise identical to our first taste. We thought maybe boiling them would do the trick and soften them up - it certainly made the towels hot, wet and steamy, but the only thing that got any softer out of it was my beard. The smoke alarms made it unbearable to bake them for more than a couple minutes, and we had a nice little chat with the fire chief after trying to grill them...really, at a loss here.

I thought maybe we got a bad batch (it can happen) so on our next TJ's trip, I asked one of the crew members for a sample and some advice of how to properly prepare a kitchen towel. Much like the blank stare and head shake from the fire chief, the look we got was kinda discouraging and not entirely helpful.

Fortunately, these towels do seem to have a decent absorptive property to them. It's been a struggle over the years to scrape off every last bit of some tasty sauce or whatever from a bowl or plate - well, fortunately, these flat fiber sheets are flexible enough that I can wipe off most any dish and it'll pick up all those flavors. And apparently this is a process that can repeated over and over again, because these towels do so seem pretty durable, and there's just not any process we can find that make these towels digestible seem possible. So, there's that.

But, fortunately, I'm not alone. The Rodgers picked up this product about the same time we did. They went about the preparations a little differently, but found the towels similarly perplexing and disappointing. Here's a short video review chronicling their experience:



As you can see, we gotta go thumbs down across the board. From all of us here at What's Good At Trader Joe's: Zeroes.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cotton Kitchen Towels: 0 out of 10 Golden Spoons

p.s. - Are these even gluten free?

14 comments:

  1. Bummer! I just bought some of these delicious looking towels in the hope of cooking them with a little marinara or maybe some salsa. Needless to say, I will be taking advantage of TJ's generous retun policy. Thanks for the heads up! ;-)

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    1. You got it, Bill! The WG@TJ's team is here for you.

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  2. This was a hilarious video the best April fools post yet. You guys really went there "sampling" the product. Made me laugh. Thanks guys happy April fools :)

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, MG. Always appreciate your comments!

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  3. Love those perfect monster shaped teeth marks in the "tow-els"! :-)

    I have 3 April Fool's traditions: Fooling my son every year without fail, creating a web of deceit amongst my friends that results in a prank gone too far, and checking in on this blog to see the absolute foolery you guys have created! :-)

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  4. But high in fiber, right?

    You know, I think if you tried the blue flavor, you'd enjoy these a lot more. I agree that the red is just lacking.

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    1. Thanks for the rec! We'll check that one out.

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  5. Their dogs wouldn't eat it, but I'm sure my cat would. With a side of plastic and shoelaces. No foolin', see the date. She really would. No ketchup needed.

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  6. When I first saw the photo, I thought they were delicious colored sandwich wraps, so I'm disappointed that they weren't tasty.

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  7. Would you try the frozen mushroom lasagna? I tried it myself and thought it was kind of meh to bad (although I had high hopes for it). Want to know if I'm crazy for not thinking it's as good as everyone else does!

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  8. We need a review of the new BACON JAM! (spoiler: it's yummy!)

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  9. I bought some of these wonderful towels. It says on the directions to wash a couple of times for maximum absorbency. It's true and many towels are the same in that respect. I love the towels!!! They are very absorbent and wash so beautifully.....no wrinkles. I can't wait for them to be restocked because I'm buying them for all our married children for their kitchens. I love these towels!!!!

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  10. I love those towels, after one wash they became so soft. And the color doesn't fade. But they disappeared from the store shortly after and I don't see them anymore. I want to buy more!

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