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, May 10, 2016

Trader Joe's Eggplant Garlic Spread with Sweet Red Peppers

 As you may have heard on our last podcast, the spreads shelf is one I commonly ignore at Trader Joe's. It's not out of any ill will...it's just I'm much more apt to go for some salsa or hummus before checking there for a spready snack. So when given the challenge to find something I've never tried, it was kinda an easy call to scope out that section.

What's not as easy is to discern my opinion on Trader Joe's Eggplant Garlic Spread with Sweet Red Peppers. I...really don't have much of one. But I have a couple thoughts. Listen, I'm not gonna dock something just because it's not in my usual gustatory wheelhouse. But when something just kinda tastes like cold, wet, stringy veggie mush, without much else, I'm gonna call it as I see it. That's the case here. There's maybe a little red pepper or tomato sweetness, but not garlic or anything else to really add any dimension. I mean, "garlic" is right in the product name, I should be able to taste it!

Sandy's not huge on it either. But we're both not against the eggplant spread...there could be some very good redeeming qualities that we're just ignorant enough to overlook...and we're all for healthy snacks and appetizers and whatnot. We'd both eat this if served at a party or if we were invited somewhere. But to buy it for ourselves? Nah, probably not again, even though it's just a couple bucks. "Meh" is exactly how we feel, so a meh score is exactly what it's gonna get.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Eggplant Garlic Spread with Sweet Red Peppers: 4 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. I have an opened jar in my fridge that I bought awhile back... ask me when and I can't tell u when.....not memorable.. btw, I found it displayed above the shelf along the frozen aisle... guess what-- its no longer there.. found back on the aisle w/other jars of concoctions

  2. I don't like tomato based sauces for my pizzas. So sometimes I use this eggplant spread. An excellent quick meal is come of this on a pita, with olive tapenade, some sundried toatoes in oil, a bit of fresh basil, Parmesan and mozzarella. Yummy little pizzas :-) I don't think I would like this stuff at all as-is.

    1. Now that sounds pretty good!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I agree. I bought this about two or more weeks ago and it remains barely touched in my refrigerator. I thought maybe I was misjudging it since I kind of overlooked the eggplant part and was expecting it to be more of a sweet red pepper sauce. I agree with Wendy above that it's at its best when used in conjunction with some other things that help to boost (or hide) its flavor.

  4. Hi! I just found your blog today and am looking forward to reading it. As for the eggplant garlic spread, I LOVE it!. Here is what I do with it: Paninis. I take TJs Panne Tuscan, and top it with goat cheese and the eggplant garlic spread. Cook it in a pan with olive oil and a heavy pan on top. It quite yummy. The spread is also good on their foccacia.

  5. I didn't care much for it either. I'm using up the jar by putting it into soups.

  6. As a dip it's weird and doesn't work for me either.
    But! It's great on pasta.