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, May 13, 2016

Trader Giotto's Trofie Colore

With five different colors represented, this imported Italian spiral pasta looks super exotic and exciting. Unfortunately, it doesn't taste that way.

Like Russ's toddler being disappointed that the black bean rotini noodles weren't chocolate, I was similarly saddened that these weren't, like, the same five flavors as Life Savers. I mean, the red, orange, yellow, green, and ivory are pretty much exactly the same colors you get in both cases. That's tantamount to false advertising in my book. I was hoping to pair some sweet, fruity noodles with pineapple salsa or something.

I'm actually just kidding about thinking they would be fruit-flavored, although I was hoping they'd have a flavor as flashy as their look. But alas, they're just normal noodles. If anything, they're even more bland than other plain pastas. If you're going to check these out, they're going to depend entirely on the sauce you choose to serve them with.

Since they're actually a type of macaroni noodle, we decided to go with something cheesy and Italian: Trader Giotto's Three Cheese Pomodoro Pasta Sauce, which, much to my surprise, has already been reviewed on this blog. And as that four-year-old review suggests, the sauce is really darn good, and was a much bigger hit than the pasta itself, which will certainly fade out of memory quickly, despite its attractive packaging and colorful presentation.

To be fair, though, there are a few other saving graces in regards to this product. The texture was nice. Cooking them according to the instructions yielded a nice soft batch of semi-tender, twisty, fine-grain pasta. It was filling enough, and for under two bucks, you can hardly complain about the value. I'll offer three stars here. Sonia will go with two and a half.

Bottom line: 5.5 out of 10.


  1. The most interesting thing about this product is that it may contain squid. Huh??

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  3. I was waiting to see a review in this before buying it since it's twice as expensive per pound as their normal pasta! Disappointed it doesn't seem worth it, especially since we enjoyed trofie so much last year in northern Italy... It was fresh pasta though, and served traditionally with lots of pesto.

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  6. Even cooking it 5 minutes longer than suggested yielded an al dente pasta. Not very impressive.

  7. I was looking at these, and thought they were a pretty color. I tend to hoard pastas (it's an addiction). My thought is they'd make a pretty pasta salad. Thanks for the reviews.