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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Monday, February 20, 2017

Trader Joe's Carrot & Pea Vegetable Patties


She may have simply been trying to upsell me, which is uncharacteristic for a TJ's employee, but the checkout lady suggested I try these patties with sweet chili sauce, implying that their flavor wasn't particularly pleasant on their own. I politely declined, mainly because I didn't want to lose my place in line, but I got to thinking, "these patties must be really bland." Later, I found a comment or two online supporting that sentiment. Uh oh. Let's have some hot sauce on stand-by, just in case.

Next morning, I woke up hungry. Lacking other breakfast options, I decided to brave these veggie patties for my morning meal. I opted for the stove top heating method. I readied my skillet with a bit of olive oil and opened the package to find...orange hockey pucks. Not especially enticing. Not particularly appetizing. But I proceeded nonetheless.

After a full 12 minutes on medium heat, my patty began to brown. It had sopped up all but a few drops of the above-mentioned olive oil and was looking far more edible than it had straight out of the box. I decided to try it sans condiments. I braced myself for disappointment...and perhaps even disgust...


But what I tasted were all the ingredients of a delicious breakfast burrito, minus the tortilla, all smooshed together in a little round veggie patty. Not sensational, but not unpleasant in the slightest. Eggs, potatoes, onions...and of course peas and carrots, all right there, toasty warm and pre-seasoned with a dash of salt and pepper. I mean, the olive oil certainly helped, too. But I didn't even feel the need for hot sauce. In fact, I tried it with a little Tapatio later on, and sure, it gave the veggies a nice hot kick, but honestly, I preferred the patty plain. I did wrap it in a soft flour tortilla and made a proper burrito, but I was quite happy to let this product stand on its own.

Texture-wise, there were small pieces of soft carrots and peas, and all the other ingredients were scarcely more than an indiscriminate mush. But as a breakfast burrito, it worked. It didn't want to keep its puck-like circular shape at all. It wanted to fall all to pieces—just another reason to serve it in a tortilla, if you ask me. When it comes to food, Mexican-Americans are very practical people. And being married to one has its perks...like almost always having hot sauce and/or some sort of tortillas on hand.

Would this product work as a veggie burger? No way. It's not hearty enough. It's not firm enough. It certainly wouldn't pair well with traditional burger condiments. And there's absolutely no indication that this product is trying to imitate meat. Not even fake meat. But as a breakfast burrito-filler substitute, it's got my seal of approval. Less than $2 for four patties? This might even be a repeat purchase. Sonia liked it too, and she remarked that it was much more flavorful than she expected it to be. Double fours here.


Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

10 comments:

  1. Tried these and I liked them, but thought the broccoli cauliflower ones were better

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    1. That seems to be the general consensus. Haven't tried the brocc-cauli ones yet, but I sense we'll have a review of those up here one way or the other soon enough!

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  2. The broccoli cauli ones are spot on for those dr praeger patties which are also a bit eggy and soft and definitely not to be eaten in a burger. The breakfast burrito idea is a good one, i just ended up topping my salad with one but they're not very filling and certainly don't have much protein so I'm kind of puzzled how to eat them since i like veggies as is. Maybe they're best for kids and veggie haters as a way to eat some veggies.
    Ttrockwood

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  3. 8 out of 10... I'm impressed. I gave these about a 4 out of 10 ;-) They felt too much like baby food to me and I thought the peas were off-putting. But I do think they would be great to actually feed a baby!

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  4. I liked the broccoli cauliflower ones too. I did a blind taste test for my husband, who generally doesn't like carrots, and he actually preferred the carrot pea to the broccoli cauli! All in all, a tasty product. I agree that cooking them on the stove top is better than in the oven.

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  5. english peas cannot be pried into my husbands mouth. I only like them by themselves.

    they look too weird for me to try

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  6. I'm gonna cook one of these up in a tortilla along with some soy chorizo. Might be my new go-to breakfast treat! Do you think adding a slice of (melted) cheese would work?

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  7. Made it in the toaster oven and it fell apart horribly when I tried to flip it. They're way too soft. Good flavor on my scraped out blob. Will try pan fry next time.

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  8. They are so small, that I decided to fry one up for my mid-day snack. I absolutely loved it all by itself.

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