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, September 27, 2016

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Soup Crackers

This is one of those TJ's products with a tricky name. It's not hard to pronounce or anything, but when I look at the box, my immediate assumption is that these are pumpkin-flavored crackers optimized for crumbling and throwing into a big bowl of piping hot soup. And I'm not saying they're not good for that purpose, but what the name actually means, according to the little write-up on the packaging, is that Trader Joe's took the taste of pumpkin soup and infused these crackers with it. Interesting.

It hasn't been all that long since we've had pumpkin soup from Trader Joe's. Sonia has made at least one repeat purchase of that soup since our review of it three years ago—I'm fairly certain we had a carton of it last year. Or was it two years ago already? Gosh, it sucks being old. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that we both remember the soup being fairly pumpkinny. Despite the presence of pumpkin puree, these crackers, in our opinion, are not.

But they do taste "harvesty," if that makes any sense. There is the slightest essence of something squash-ish—undoubtedly due to the pumpkin puree. But more notable is the pleasant blend of herbs and spices, including salt, onion powder, and brown sugar. It's this blend of flavors that gives the crackers their "soupy" vibe. The taste is not unlike a homemade broth, but in a solid form. Sonia thinks they're reminiscent of original flavor SunChips.

Texture-wise, they're nice and crunchy. They taste and feel like they're made of rice and oats, which they are—and yes, they're gluten-free. If you were inclined to eat them in soup, they'd probably go best with something like chili or tomato soup, rather than lighter, clear-broth soups.

If you're avoiding the whole sweet pumpkin pie spice thing, but still want something autumnal, these might be what you're looking for. They didn't blow us away, flavor-wise, but there's a unique heartiness to them that's worth a looksee if you're after something subtle and herby. Three and a half stars from each of us.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. I was lucky enough to be at Joe's yesterday while they had samples of these out! Additionally, they had a sample of the pumpkin soup with the crackers, which were being served with a small piece of some sort of white cheddar-looking cheese (I think the lady said from New Zealand?). Anyway, the crackers were really good and the soup was really good as well! I promptly added both to my basket. Funny thing is, had it not been for the samples, I would not have bought these.

  2. These crackers are delicious! Wish Trader Joe's carried them all the time.