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, January 24, 2017

Trader Jacques' Vanilla Eclairs with Chocolate Fondant

Why is it that eclairs seem so haughty? Just the name itself rings out with an air of froideur. It's almost as if eclairs are making some kind of assertion that they're the aristocracy of the dessert world. 

E-clair. What's an electronic Clair anyway?

Perhaps it's because we're grumpy that life is beating us up right now: flat tires, broken windshields, collapsed awnings, and lots more issues I'm not even going to touch on this food blog, but neither Sonia nor I were blown away by this dessert.

And we know eclairs. We've had restaurant eclairs, casino eclairs, dollar store eclairs, and even other Trader Joe's eclairs. This selection isn't the worst of the worst by any means, but...well, I think we've been spoiled by those bargain basement eclairs from Dollar Tree. I'm not kidding. Do you know the ones I'm talking about? Dolce Tuscano Mini Custard Filled Iced Eclairs. Six for a buck. Sonia says they're hands down better than this TJ's offering.

I don't know if I'd go that far, but I will admit the Dolce Tuscano brand gives these guys a run for their money. And to be fair, value-wise, TJ's offering is only $2.99 for four servings, and there's at least twice as much eclairage in the box since Jacques' pastries are full-size—but it still doesn't beat sixteen and a half cents per surprisingly-edible mini eclair from the freezer section at Dollar Tree.

These eclairs just didn't stand out. Not one element of them was rave-worthy. I felt the bread was stale. Sonia said it tasted freezer-burnt. The custard wasn't particularly decadent or smooth or creamy. And the "fondant" seemed like run-of-the-mill chocolate icing to me. We tried one at the short end of the suggested thawing interval and then another at the long end, and both results were the same: an edible, but not particularly memorable or outstanding eclair.

We finished the box but probably won't be purchasing these again. Three stars from me. Two and a half from Sonia.

Bottom line: 5.5 out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. I purchased these last week after seeing them in the newsletter. I liked these for the most part. They weren't bad, but they weren't amazing. They were edible. I have tried a lot of frozen eclairs over the years and these were a little better than others I have had. I liked the filling though.