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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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Trader Joe's Harissa Salsa

"Hey! Stop eating all the kids' Halloween candy!"

That wasn't exactly what Sandy exclaimed while sitting down to watch Game 6 of the World Series, but her eyes, staring at the Reeses' and Butterfingers I had stockpiled on the couch, pretty much said that, with the heavy suggestion to find something else to snack on while trying to relax after a long, stressful day.

So, chips and salsa? That was never part of the trick-or-treat strategic reserves, so fair game. And with a new treat, Trader Joe's Harissa Salsa, in our possession, I could bear the thought of putting down the fun sized kiddie candies for at least a few minutes.

Not familiar with harissa? You're in good company. Neither was I. Kinda like the Korean barbeque sauce I reviewed last week, this is my first go-around. Tunisian and Moroccan inspired? Yes please.

First thing to notice: the aroma. This isn't a typical tomato-based salsa. Instead, the harissa literally reeks of paprika. That's meant as a compliment - because it smells FANTASTIC. It's an authentically deep aroma, a fragrant offering with some layers to it. With a little care, the bell peppers are also detectable, as well as jalapenos, but overwhelmingly, it's the paprika.

And, naturally, the taste carries through on all those premises. The milder elements are more upfront but quickly give way to that heavy, smoky paprika dose. It doesn't fool around or play games, but instead delivers the burn, and not like one I can recall from any other jarred salsa. If you can't stand spicy, stay the heck away...but if heat draws you in, you'll want to stand next to this fire.

The salsa is also smoother than it appears at first - it almost resembles a veggie salsa at first, with lots of pepper chunks - but they're all soft with no bite to them. There's no textural challenge presented by them, which I appreciate.

Sandy and I can't wait to try on more than just tortilla chips. Eggs, chicken, fish....yes to all that. There's a suggestion on the jar to pair with hummus, which would be fantastic. Because of the heat, uniqueness and presumed versatility, it's tough for either one of us to go with a score lower than four.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Harissa Salso: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

3 comments:

  1. Sounds good. As a cilantro-hater, appreciate it not appearing in this product.

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  2. This is excellent and habit forming. Thanks for sharing with the world!

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  3. I'll have to try this. I'm still in mourning after learning they discontinued the chipotle salsa and I'm looking for a new favorite. Sigh.

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