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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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Trader Joe's Harvest Spice Trek Mix

This product has mindblowing potential: an autumnal blend of fruit, nuts, and spices. Unique and delicious. Harvestacular. Both Sonia and I want to recommend it to you wholeheartedly, but we have this one little reservation. Let's break down the ingredients and see where this product fell from potential Pantheon status to a mere 7 stars...

Roasted almonds: check. Awesome. I love almonds, and they add so much to any trek mix. There's plenty of big perfect whole almonds here. Absolutely no problem.

Holiday spiced cashews: check. Who knew these were a thing? Sweet, happy little candied cashews that taste like fall. Amazing. Thanks for introducing me to these, TJ's.

Holiday spiced pecans: check. OMG. Even better than the cashews. A harvest trek mix featuring my three favoritest nuts in the whole world? What could possibly ruin this amazing mix?

Dried apple slices: check. It's the one harvest fruit that can tie all these excellent nuts together. They're thin, sweet slices of real apple, and some of the pieces are quite large. Okay, I may have found a new favorite trail mix...

But wait. There's another ingredient in here. Oh, it's ginger. Big chunks of actual ginger. And a heck of a lot of it. Won't that be too pungent? Oh wait...it's Candied Ginger. But you know what? The "candied" aspect of it really doesn't tone down the strength of the ginger flavor. It's still ridiculously strong. Why did they put so much of that stuff in here? I'm guessing Trader Joe's had a surplus of it after Russ and Sandy gave it a two out of ten, so they decided to sneak it into this poor unsuspecting trek mix.

I mean, we're down with ginger. Ginger as a flavor works just fine. A dash of real ginger can add a nice bit of zing. But when half the bag is full of massive chunks of the stuff, it just doesn't work for us. It's basically all we can taste if we're just indiscriminately shoveling handfuls of the mixture into our mouths. Oh well. At least we can still pick out the ginger chunks and eat the other ingredients. We just have to do a bit more work.

There were a few bites where I still got little pieces of ginger mixed in with the apples and nuts, and in those cases, it was pleasant. A dash of ginger is nice. There's just way too much of it in here. And this isn't the first time an otherwise great product was—I won't say "ruined" by ginger—but maybe "made less excellent" by too much ginger.

I understand some of you are really, really into the ginger chunks. If that's you, then we offer a projected score of 9.5 out of 10 for this product. For those of you who aren't, we'd like to steer you in the direction of an excellent non-TJ's trail mix that's very similar to this one, but without ANY ginger chunks at all.

As it stands, three and a half stars from each of us.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

9 comments:

  1. Totally agree with your review. My bag seems to have a lot of apple chips (subtle flavor) and not too much ginger, but yeah, each little bit of ginger is a flavor/heat explosion. This is great for eating one piece at a time rather than by the handful, and each separate flavor is more enjoyable that way imo.

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    1. Confession: I ate more than half the bag last nite in 1 sitting. One piece at a time. Also, the ginger pieces in my bag were much smaller than the ones in your picture, roughly 1/8" cubes. But still very noticeable!

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    2. Update: The bag is finished. All by myself,

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    3. Thanks for the play-by-play. Ours is just about finished, too. It's basically just a bunch of ginger at the bottom of the bag now.

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    4. I would use the ginger in other applications. Like gingerbread cookies! Or even use in cooking. Give it some flavor with a hint of sweetness

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    5. Good idea. I'm wondering if I can make some kind of ginger tea by pouring hot water over the chunks...

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  2. Their trail mixes seem to vary a lot from bag to bag, maybe you got an extra gingery one.... if you try and use the extra chunks for tea be sure to cut them or mash a bit in your mug first to expose the ginger innards since the outside is sugared.
    Ttrockwood

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  3. That kind of strong ginger is handy for congestion or sore throats and coughs, in addition to nausea... Maybe put it in the medicine cabinet?

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  4. I LOVE the Harvest Spice Trek Mix. Interestingly, the ginger is one of my favorite bits about it, but I do really enjoy the taste of ginger.

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