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, December 27, 2016

Trader Joe's Almond Butter Granola

So here it is...the week between Christmas and New Year's. In my family's case, it's the week between Christmas with our own little family and Sandy's mom, and Christmas with my side of the family, which is celebrated with coffee by the tankard and food and treats out the wazoo. Not that I'm opposed...because I'm not...but by now I'm entering into about the fourth straight week of my kitchen shelves overflowing with cookies, and my refrigerator being stuffed with cakes and miscellaneous treats. With coworkers buying us pizza and homemade treats. With going out to restaurants like one of my local favorites when we're downtown seeing the holiday sights or out with friends. And soon in my sights is another weekend go-around with family and All. That. Food.

Needless to say, I've gotten a wee bit pudgier. Those 10 p.m. solo mega cookie fests do catch up after a bit.

Guess I oughtta try and eat healthier for a bit to return to normal....so granola! Granola is a great thing. Crunchy and sweet like a cookie, but healthier. Still not all that wonderful, but it's a step back towards the good side, and with that in mind, I picked up Trader Joe's Almond Butter Granola.

A couple years back, I was big into almond butter as a Paleo-friendly peanut butter option. I've eaten a lot of it, so I know what it should taste like, and could when paired with typical rolled oat granola...but it's not there. Not even remotely. Well, okay, sure, there is an almondesque taste to the TJ's granola...but I'm thinking that's mainly due to the actual almond pieces in there, smattered about in usual style and ratio. There might be some almond butter mixed in with the mysterious brown rice syrup that serves as the epoxy for the big, crunchtacular bites...but mostly, I taste plain granola with a little extra nuttiness.

For what it is, it's decent granola, but it could be better. A lot better. More almonds. More almond flavor. Maybe somehow incorporating the roasted, creamy goodness of decent almond butter. But this granola definitely fell a little short of expectations. I'll eat it, for sure, as work desk drawer snack standby, but I look at it more as hunger void filler, not a treat I'll be eagerly anticipating every day. Given all the junk i've had recently, though, that's probably a good thing.

Flying solo on this review. Solid crunch, okay taste, not almond buttery enough. This has "meh" written all over it. So "meh" it is.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Almond Butter Granola: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. They should aim for a cookie butter granola.

  2. If you're feeling "pudgy", granola is NOT the answer. You might as well eat cookies.