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, March 13, 2017

Trader Joe's Ancho Chile Chicken Sausage with Roasted Coffee

Trader Joe's Ancho Chile Chicken Sausage with Roasted Coffee.

Ancho. Chile. Thank God. I have never been so relieved to read those words on a shelf label before.

You see, for the past week or so, Sandy has been talking about this new chicken sausage product from TJ's that one of her friends told her about. But she kept telling me it was anchovy sausage with coffee, not ancho chile. Even if it were anchovy sausage, out of ob-blog-ation to you all, i'd still try it....but so, so begrudgingly. My excitement level for the potential purchase bottomed out near turkey meatloaf muffin level, with even less expectation, and so as to ensure an honest, unadulterated review of my opinion, I refused to Google anything about a TJ's anchovy coffee chicken sausage, lest it would prejudice my opinion any more about them before trying. You gotta admit, that sounds like a garbage disposal nightmare cuisine.

Ancho chiles are supposed to be pretty mild, with like a southwestern-y feel to them. There's more flavor to them than heat. That's more or less the feel to these sausages - really, in some ways, think of a slightly spicier sundried tomato chicken sausage, and theat's a decent approximation to the flavor. More of the spice seems to derive from the pepper and garlic than anything else. Pretty decent flavor.

I haven't mentioned the coffee part yet...because I'm not really sure what it adds. The little brown specks are certainly visible, and there's a slight coffee-ish aromatic. I'll wager that the coffee seems to mute the rest of the flavors a little bit, but in a more or less unobtrusive way, if that makes any sense. Everything seems mixed about right and evenly, with the good textural bite held together by the casing that crisped up nicely while broiling.

For whatever reason, when eating these for dinner the other night, I kept on having an incomplete vision of Guy Fieri pimping these for a Chili's commercial. It seems the kinda product/kinda thing he'd do...sounds "edgy" and "cool" and like a one way trip to Flavortown, but really, it's neither great nor bad. These sausages kinda are what they are, without much more to say about them. Just thank God that assuming TJ's QA is at least somewhat up to snuff they are anchovy-free. The four pack was $4.49, so not an awful deal, not as weird as they sound, and would be a welcome re-purchase for our household.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Ancho Chile Chicken Sausage with Roasted Coffee: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. I'm not sure I would have bought them if you said they were the best thing you ever ate. That is high for a 4 pack of sausage. The other thing is that the flavor combo just does not appeal to me.

    We deer hunt therefore have a lot of sausage made. Our processor sure knows how to make Smoked, Pepper Jack and Jalapeno Cheese sausage. And we have a lot of that in our freezer.

  2. I crisped these up in a skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil and I actually really loved them. Like I loved them so much I went back a few days later to buy another pack and freaked out when the store told me they were sold out!