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, February 14, 2017

Trader Joe's Pear & Persimmon Tarte

My father is getting married today. Never thought I'd live to see the day. He clearly doesn't share my disdain for Valentine's Day, but even I must admit that V.D. is just as good a time as any to tie the knot. 

I just hope the happy couple's commitment to one another transcends the triviality of this silly holiday. Sonia and I don't know his new bride particularly well, but we trust the old man knows what he's doing.

It's kind of like pears and persimmons. We both know pears like the back of our hands, but persimmons are a bit more of a mystery to us. Can the couple work together? 

In this case, yes they can. Sonia and I shared this tarte as a romantic non-Valentine's treat. We both enjoyed it. We tasted the sweetness of the pears in the filling, but we had a hard time picking out the taste and texture of the persimmons. 

I tried to pull my old Wikipedia trick where I read a paragraph or two and try to sound like an expert when I regurgitate the knowledge in my own words on this blog. Either my brain isn't functioning at full capacity today or this particular Wikipedia contributor just went above and beyond what the average layman wants to know about persimmons, but there was just too much talk of tannins, astringency, and bletting to wrap my brain around at this juncture. But if you want to give it a shot, be my guest: Persimmon - Wikipedia.

What I can tell you is that this tarte is tasty. The crust is buttery and soft, and the filling is sweet and fruity. There are chunks of pears and, we assume, persimmons as well. There was even "spiced frangipane" almond paste in the breading. It was most noticeable in the outer sections where the fruit filling was more sparse. Nutty, sweet, and delicious.

It's a very high quality tarte at a very reasonable price ($1.99). An hour to thaw and 10 minutes in the oven? Even I can do that...and I did. In fact, that's my hand in that oven mitt. Sonia's proven her worth in the kitchen many, many times over, but I'm still a little challenged in the field of "domestic sciences."

I guess the takeaway here is that unexpected couplings can work. Pears and persimmons are just like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong. 

Plus, Happy Valentine's if you're into that whole thing. And congrats to Dad and Patty.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.


  1. That looks tasty! I liked how TJ's went with a cookie style crust. I think it being clearanced out since it is a seasonal item

    1. Seasonal? Hmm, didn't realize that. Thanks for letting us know!

  2. I grow persimmon's. We have the Fuyu variety. They can be eaten when they turn orange. Unlike their cousins, the Tanenashi (astringent) or american cousins which are also astringent.

    fuyu are good eaten like an apple

    1. While the fuyu can be eaten even when they are firm because they are not astringent, they are wayyyyyy better if you wait longer to let them soften like the hachiya variety. OMG, they become so sweet and juice, complete day and night difference from when they are firm and crispy!