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, October 11, 2016

Trader Joe's Roasted Tomatillo & Mango Salsa

Ya know, in retrospect, it was probably unfair of me to say I was done with any Trader Joe's new fangled mango products. Truth was, as probably all of the rest of you, I was just sick of them, and poor Nathan had to pick up the blog slack, which in true Rodgers fashion, was done admirably.

But now, it's *sigh* pumpkin spice season. Unless there's some flashy irresistible bang-up product that I just can't resist (unlikely, but possible), I'm probably leaving all that alone, so if there's a new mango product I could possibly be interested in, I think I oughtta pick it up.

Actually, I have no idea if Trader Joe's Roasted Tomatillo & Mango Salsa is new or not. October doesn't exactly scream "Fruit Salsa Appreciation Month," so it seems weird to think it's new...but then again, I hadn't seen it. Maybe I just had my anti-mango horse blinders on. You tell me.

Would've been a shame to miss out on it. This salsa is mighty fine. There's a lot of sweetness, seemingly more from roasted tomatillo than anything else. And heat. lots of heat. Look at the ingredients - there' ghost pepper in here, which gives off a lot of spice, more than otherwise anticipated from appearances.

In what seems to be a strange step of salsa science, there's also corn and black beans tossed in the mix. I'm not really sure why that is...they're not exactly unwelcome, but it's not like any flavor gets added by them.

Maybe it's just to hide the mangoes.

I mean, there are mangoes in here...some decent sized pieces...but unless you happen to bite square into one, and pay some attention to it, it's easy to miss. With all of those aforementioned factors - roasty tomatillo sweetness, spicy heat, added texture of beans and corn - it's kinda easy to skip over the fact that there's mangoes involved. Even after repeated tastings, I'm not sure if I want to say that they're approaching indetectability or if they inconspicuously tie it all together.

Regardless of whichever answer, I'll come back for more and more. It's pretty fantastic salsa, which i found paired exceptionally well with some multigrain tortilla chips. Sandy's a huge fan because of the heat and absence of tomatoes, and as for me, I like the experimental feel to it - it's an odd hodge-podge that in the end works rather well. Double fours.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Roasted Tomatillo & Mango Salsa: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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