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Showing posts with label grains breads and cereals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grains breads and cereals. Show all posts

Monday, September 18, 2023

Trader Joe's Apple Cinnamon Buns


Ah, the very first NEW fall product of the season. You can just taste the anticipation in the air with a knife. Er, wait. That's not right. I'm sure there's some idiom that sums up what's going on here, but can't think of it right now because I'm too hungry.

Apple. Cinnamon. Buns. Any one of those three elements is enough to make my mouth water. All three together? Shoot. How could Trader Joe's possibly go wrong?

Well, first off, there are no heating instructions on the box, which I thought was weird. I mean, sure, there are plenty of baked goods you can just snatch right out of the packaging and go to town on. These seemed possible candidates for such a situation, and the lack of preparatory directions reinforced that assumption.


However, the buns were decidedly unimpressive at room temperature. Sonia described them as "hard," whereas I simply saw them as "stale." We consumed them a full three days before the best by date, in case you were wondering.

So we mused whether we'd nuke them for a spell or air fry them. We opted for the former at least partially out of impatience, but also because 12 or 15 seconds in a microwave posed less of a risk of drying out the product than any number of minutes in an air fryer.

After heating, the product was markedly improved on several fronts: the texture was wetter, softer, fresher, and even the cinnamon flavor seemed to pop a little more than it did prior to the pastry's ride in the radiation robot. I slathered my share with butter which gave it a bit more of a comfort food vibe than the product provided just on its own.


Still, there's not nearly enough apple in the buns to make them magical or memorable. There's a shallow, paltry pool of minced apples in a sugary sauce right on top in the middle of the buns, but that's about it. For these to get our enthusiastic seal of approval, that apple filling would need to at least quadruple or quintuple in quantity.

As is, we're looking at about three and a half stars from Sonia and three from me which, honestly, I think is being a little generous. Heated, with some added butter, these buns make a passable dessert treat, but they're a far cry from legends like the Rustic Apple Tarte in terms of appliciousness and overall purchase-worthiness.

$4.49 for two buns. Probably wouldn't buy Trader Joe's Apple Cinnamon Buns Crumb Topped Danish Pastries with Apple Filling & Cinnamon again.



Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Crisps Snack


Some days I don't have any silly intro story or clever segue into the actual review, so I just reminisce about products from the past and link to them at the beginning of the post. That's what we'll do today. We won't remember every single product with cauliflower that we've seen over the years, but we'll look at the times when cauliflower has become a substitute for some other food staple. Ahh...let's look at:

That time cauliflower became rice.

That time cauliflower became mashed potatoes.

That time cauliflower became pizza crust.

That time cauliflower became latkes.

That time cauliflower became tortillas.

That time cauliflower became gnocchi.

That time cauliflower became jalapeño dip.

That time cauliflower became risotto.

That time cauliflower became cookie butter.

Okay, well, that last one might not have been a thing. But you get the picture. They can turn cauliflower into anything. So crispy little crackers should be a walk in the park for the versatile cauliflower, right?


In my book, not so much. These snacky circles are too dense, too rigid. If they were thinner, they'd be much easier to bite and chew. As is, they're like little cookies—more three-dimensional than I'd have imagined them to be. I thought they'd be delicate like rice crackers, but they're much more solid than that.

They taste a little like cauliflower. They're much more earthy and bitter than typical rice crackers. I think I'd be fine with the product if they used all the same ingredients and simply lost the cauliflower. I mean, brown rice flour is the second ingredient, and I never met a rice crisp I didn't like.


Sonia enjoys them. She thinks they have a very unique flavor, and I don't disagree. She's just a little more fond of that unusual flavor than I am. I'd try redeeming them with random toppings and dips, but I'm afraid it would just ruin my enjoyment of said toppings.

We paid $2.99 for the 2.5 serving bag. I wouldn't buy them again if it were just me. Sonia might I guess. Three and a half stars from the beautiful wifey. Two and a half stars from me for Trader Joe's Cauliflower Crisps Snack.



Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Garlic Naan Crackers


No Indian meal is complete without a bunch of naan bread. Man, I could eat that stuff every day. I remember falling in love with the naan at my favorite Indian restaurant back in Los Angeles, Anarkali. Since most Indian restaurants pale in comparison to that place, and also because we don't eat out that much any more, we often pick up naan from Trader Joe's or other grocery stores to go along with our room temperature, pantry style Indian meals or frozen microwave ones.


The biggest problem with naan that I can think of is that it doesn't keep very long, just like regular white bread. It molds in a week or so, unfortunately. Hmmm. 

If only they could turn naan into crackers that last a year or so...and voila. Trader Joe's Organic Garlic Naan Crackers are here. I'm not saying TJ's invented naan crackers, but these are the first ones I've ever seen, so naturally I picked up a box. Garlic flavor. Yum.

And it's kinda uncanny how much these little guys actually taste like naan bread. I'm not even sure how they did it. They captured the unique bready flavor of naan in a crispy cracker format. The garlic flavor is there, too, but as I might have predicted, I want MOAR GARLIC.

It's a nice, savory flavor, but it's not very pungent. I guess that's so you can pair the crackers with Indian food or soup or any kind of dip without worrying about the cracker clashing or trying to steal the show. These crackers flaunt a subtle flavor. I think they could have amped up the allium and made these a very tasty stand-alone snack. As is, they're optimized for dipping, crumbling, and scooping. They go GREAT with hummus.

$3.79 for the 9 serving box. Kosher. Organic. Would buy again. Four stars from me. Four and a half from Sonia for Trader Joe's Garlic Naan Crackers.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Strawberry Muffins


Maybe I'm just getting used to it, but I feel like each time I have a gluten free muffin from Trader Joe's, the texture gets closer to normal wheat-based muffins. I honestly have to say that texture-wise, these muffins beat last week's non-gluten-free coffee cake hands down.

The flavor's nothing to complain about either. There's a good bit of strawberry taste all throughout these bready breakfast bites. There are bits of real strawberry, too. The only thing I can think of that would improve these muffins would be more and larger chunks of strawberry.


Sonia absolutely raved about them. I thought she was going to try to sneak three out of the four muffins for herself she was so enthusiastic. But no, she was nice and left me my fair share. 

Truth be told, I didn't even eat both my muffins before the best by date. Honestly though, they still tasted remarkably fresh. We'd buy these again.


$5.99 for four big, filling gluten free muffins. 
Folks with wheat allergies, celiac, or Crohn's disease, rejoice. Put these on your grocery list for sure. Put me down for a solid four out of five stars. The beautiful wifey will go with four and a half on Trader Joe's Gluten Free Strawberry Muffins. 



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Trader Joe's Cinnamon Coffee Cake


Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of coffee. I'll drink it if it's the only caffeination option available, but I'm really more of an energy drink guy. Coffee cake, on the other hand? I like coffee cake quite a bit and resent the fact that it doesn't pair very well with Red Bull.

I've ranted before that I wish I had the innovative vision to invent the world's first energy drink dunkable. But maybe I should be thinking more about energy drink cake..? What would that be like? It wouldn't be very sweet, right?


As I compose this review, Sonia is musing about the fact that this coffee cake is made with sour cream. Maybe energy drink cake would be even heavier on the sour cream and the sweetness of the beverage could offset the sourness? Maybe it would be a little salty, too. I'd call it Wake-Up Bread. Any food scientists out there wanna take up the endeavor with me? We'll split the earnings 50/50 and take the world by storm.

I'm mostly kidding of course. The idea is a bit ridiculous. Most people will want to stick with familiar stuff, not unlike Trader Joe's Cinnamon Coffee Cake. It's pretty standard coffee cake by my estimation. It's a notch above anything you might get out of a vending machine, but it's not the best coffee cake I've ever had, either. It's not even really the best coffee cake we've seen from Trader Joe's. Still, it's cinnamony, sweet, and has a slightly crunchy top and soft bread down below.


Both Sonia and I found our cake a bit dry. Like not dry dry. But not moist either. We did consume the cake before the "best by" date, just in case you're wondering.

The overall flavor here was good, but nothing to write home about. It's possible we just got an off batch or for whatever reason they changed the freshness sticker at our TJ's location. Sonia and I are both thinking three and a half stars a piece for Trader Joe's Cinnamon Coffee Cake. $5.99 for the 8 serving loaf in the baked goods section.




Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Trader Joe's Multigrain Pita Bite Crackers


Crackers are one of those foods that can feel so super fancy and upscale, or they can feel cheap, boring, and sad. Some of the most expensive, high-profile events I've ever been to have featured crackers with toppings as hors d'oeuvres. Likewise, some of the sorriest penny-pinching meals I've ever consumed were crackers topped with peanut butter and jelly, in lieu of real bread.


Granted, the latter event no doubt involved cheap store brand saltines and the former most likely featured something more akin to these multigrain whole wheat and flax seed-laden pita crackers. But my point stands that crackers are indeed ubiquitous and versatile, and in most cases, they largely depend upon some auxiliary flavors and textures to make them stand out as a memorable snack or appetizer.

On their own, Trader Joe's Multigrain Pita Bite Crackers aren't bad at all. Texture-wise, they're crispy, crunchy, and rigid, but not too hard. The flavor is wheaty, for sure, but it's immediately apparent that there's much more complexity underneath the basic grainy taste. There are at least six grains present, flax and sunflower seeds, olive oil, molasses, and honey. While the sweeter elements don't really shine through in any meaningful way by themselves, they temper the earthier flavors and make for a highly noshable snack cracker, particularly when paired with a suitable array of toppings.

We tried ours with multiple types of cheese, hummus, bean salad, tuna salad, grape leaves and quinoa, and they worked beautifully in every case. They paired surprisingly well with cream cheese. I even tried adding some fruit spread to the cream cheese and made some surprisingly palatable dessert crackers with these. I just used the term "dessert crackers" twice in one week. I'm weird like that.

$2.99 for the 6 oz box. I'd buy again. The beautiful wifey likes them even more than I do. Three and a half stars from me. Four stars from Sonia on Trader Joe's Multigrain Pita Bite Crackers.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Trader Joe's Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix


Pretty much without fail, if Trader Joe's puts the word "protein" in the title of a product, it's a safe bet I won't like it at all. I mean I have nothing against proteins. I love fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, and beans as much as the next guy. But when a product has "whey protein concentrate" or "pea protein powder" or anything like that as a top ingredient, it's virtually a guarantee that the protein powder taste will overpower the entire product.

So why try Trader Joe's Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix at all? Well, firstly because the beautiful wifey wanted to check it out. But also because it's pancakes. They can't possibly screw up pancakes with some protein gimmick, can they?


In short, yes. Yes they can. These are pancakes that taste very much like they were made with whey protein concentrate. No amount of butter and/or syrup can completely save them and make them taste like normal, delicious pancakes. They taste like health food, pure and simple. They taste like protein powder.

Some people, no doubt, can look past it. I, for one, cannot. Sonia generally enjoys products with or without protein powder, and even she can't get past the protein powderiness of these pancakes.


They're soft and fluffy enough, I guess. There's not a ton of chalkiness like some protein products. So the texture's not a complete failure.

We'll eventually finish the box, but we wouldn't buy it again. $3.99 for the 11 serving package. Two stars from me for Trader Joe's Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix. Two stars from the beautiful wifey.

Bottom line: 4 out of 10.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars


In between exotic imported spices, purple yam-flavored cookies, and other miscellaneous oddities, it's nice to know there's still plenty of "normal" stuff at TJ's, as well. Sometimes a chocolate chip granola bar is in order, and you don't want anything weird in it.

I mean Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars are organic, which is good, but that's where the Trader Joe-isms stop with this classic snack/breakfast-on-the-go.


With whole grain oats, brown rice flour, and unsweetened dried coconut in the chewy, solid base, there's plenty of complex carbs and healthy stuff to keep you feeling full throughout the day. The rest of the ingredients are organic sweeteners like honey, agave, cane sugar, and tapioca syrup.

The bars could probably use a few more chocolate chips. There were definitely a couple bites in each one without any chocolate. The whole grains and sweeteners are tasty enough by themselves that the lack of chips is certainly not a dealbreaker here.

Texture-wise, they're nice and soft. "Chewy" is as accurate a word as any. This box sat in our pantry for at least a month and the bars still felt and tasted as fresh as any pre-packaged granola bar I've ever had. I must point out it is quite warm here now. These types of granola bars tend to get much harder when consumed in colder temperatures.

$2.49 for 8 bars. Each one is individually wrapped, and honestly, they're on the small side. They're just big enough to curb the munchies and keep the blood sugar levels up, but they're on the verge of being so tiny that I'd be tempted to reach for a second.

Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me on Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Trader Joe's Seeds & Grains Crispbread


Not sure what made me pick this one up. I guess I was jonesin' for some "maximum cracker satisfaction." At least that's what it says on the label. What did you just call me, Trader Joe?

Anyway, these sound interesting enough. Sunflower, sesame, rye, oats, flax all in one crispy bite can't be bad. I hadn't remembered, but we looked at a gluten free version of these on the blog some time ago.

One thing I hate about crackers is crumbs. We have ants in the house around this time every year and we don't need to give them one more reason to wander into our kitchen. Guess I'll be enjoying these crackers over a bowl.

First thoughts: it's a nice balance of flavors here. The sesame seeds might be a tad overrepresented for my taste, but all in all Trader Joe's Crispbread is earthy, seedy, super crispy, and lightly peppery. I was fine eating the crackers plain. Yes, it's a bit weird, but when I'm stressed, as I have been lately, sometimes all I want is something very stark and basic.


I did try the crackers with plain cream cheese, which was pretty tasty. That's Sonia's favorite way to eat them. They paired quite nicely with peanut butter, too, if you ask me. There are all sorts of elaborate ideas on the interzones about how to serve crispbread involving fruits, eggs, exotic cheeses, hummus, pesto...basically anything you can think of. Alas, we did not get that fancy with the crispbread as of the time of this post's composition.

$2.99 for ten large whole grain crackers. Would buy again. Looks like three and a half stars a piece once again from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Seeds & Grains Crispbread Norwegian Crackers.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes


For some reason, during high school and college in particular, I was very much in that "breakfast all day" mode. A big plate full of carbs seemed appropriate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'd supplement with fruits, veggies, and meats here and there, but by and large, I was in the mood for pancakes, waffles, cookies, toast, granola, and Pop-Tarts constantly.

It might have something to do with my metabolism changing, but lately I've generally been feeling the opposite. Like, I'm rarely in the mood for breakfast foods, even at breakfast time—so I just eat lunch and dinner type fare for my morning meal.


This morning, however, I wanted breakfast for breakfast, and I remembered we had some Trader Joe's Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes in the freezer. I'm not sure what I can attribute the unusual-for-me craving to, but it might have something to do with the changing seasons and the weather going from utterly frigid even up until April to downright summery and hot right now at the end of May. We barely had spring.

Anyway, the pancakes went from frozen to ready-to-eat in 65 seconds. That's pretty freaking convenient. I mean, they're not as good as ones you'd make from scratch and cook in a pan, obviously, but considering the significant difference in effort between the two methods, these tiny silver dollar sized dealies aren't bad to have on hand for mornings when you're pressed for time.

Of course, there's a heating option that involves the oven or a toaster oven. I'll see if Sonia wants to go that route when she wakes up. Otherwise, you can tell us in the comments if you've made these that way and how they turned out.

They're pretty plain until you slap some butter and syrup on them. But most pancakes are like that, unless of course you've got fruit in them or chocolate chips or something like that. I'd buy again for the convenience factor alone.

$3.29 for about 30 mini pancakes. Kosher. Organic. Not a bad value, either. Trader Joe's Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes are nothing to write home about in the flavor department, but they're a nifty product to have in the freezer in case you need to ready up a breakfast spread in a matter of minutes. Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Trader Joe's Butter Croissants


Give us this day our daily bread.

Notice it doesn't say "give us this day our daily fish" or anything like that. And you know the Bible's all about fish, fishing, and fisherman analogies. But not here. It says "give us our daily bread."

But you know what? I think if I had absolutely nothing but bread to eat on an average day, I'd be perfectly okay with it—particularly if the bread was as tasty as Trader Joe's Butter Croissants. I'm sure that's not the type of bread he had in mind when Jesus taught us how to pray, but hey, we can always ask for something special even if we don't get it all the time.


I'd ask for bagels one day, brioche toast the next, then buttermilk biscuits, ciabatta bread, pita, naan, and finally croissants: a different gourmet baked good for every day of the week.

And while Trader Joe's Butter Croissants might not beat out something freshly made from a Parisian bakery, they'd be pretty high up on my list for what to order on croissant day. We had ours with butter and strawberry jelly, as seen in the pic above. Delicious.

We also made croissant sandwiches with egg, cheese, and Trader Joe's Bomba Sauce. Ahhh-mazing. The croissants are indeed buttery to the core. They're flaky, soft, and surprisingly fresh (if consumed before the "best by" date.) 

You probably won't have much trouble eating three of them in short order, although Sonia wishes they did have a resealable package just in case you can't eat all of them right away. Our family is just the two of us, but a larger household shouldn't have any problems in that department.

$3.49 for three large croissants. We would buy these again. Four stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Butter Croissants.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Trader Joe's Garlic & Cheese Bread Sticks


Not sure what happened here. Did we get a bad batch? Did our local Trader Joe's manager go around changing freshness dates like Apu at the Kwik-E-Mart?

Sonia and I both thought these were bland, dry, and way too hard. We followed the heating instructions exactly. We consumed them before their "sell by" date. We tried them plain, with soup, and with various other dips.

There was no discernible garlic flavor in Trader Joe's Garlic & Cheese Bread Sticks. The cheese was wanting both in quantity and taste. Even the bread itself fell utterly short of the delightfully soft and fluffy Cheddar Jalapeño Pull Apart Bread we looked at last week. The breadsticks were slightly more palatable when we first pulled them from the oven, but now that they need reheated a second time, there's simply no redeeming them.

There was no greasy residue on these sticks. Maybe that's what they needed. To both Sonia and me, they seemed like nothing more than unsalted cylindrical crackers. We're struggling to finish them. If you want breadsticks without jalapeños, we recommend buying the pull apart bread and simply removing the jalapeños, because Trader Joe's Garlic & Cheese Bread Sticks simply aren't worth the $3.49 we paid for them.

Two stars a piece from Sonia and me.

Bottom line: 4 out of 10.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Trader Joe's Glazed Sweet Lemon Scones


I was just daydreaming about lemon-flavored foods and remembered that silly urban legend that some lady named her twin boys Lemonjello and Orangejello after what she was eating in the maternity ward of her hospital, shortly after giving birth. Then I was thinking, "Would I ever name my kid after food? After something lemon-flavored? After Trader Joe's Glazed Sweet Lemon Scones?"

Probably not. But if I did, I'd make it a little discreet. Like I'd name my kid Joseph Lemon Scone Rodgers. There's "Joseph" in there for Trader Joe. And then "Lemon Scone" would be his middle name(s). People would call him Joe L.S. and wonder what the "L.S." stood for.


But even cooler than naming your kid after lemon-flavored food would be to have a band called The Lemon Scones. "We are The Lemon Scones, and we're here to make you think about food and get hungry and stuff! One, two, three, four..." And all their tunes would be about breakfast. I think you could forge an entire career around songs about the most important meal of the day. Maybe they'd have a B-side or two about dessert...but I'm hearing mostly just breakfast ballads. Their first album would be called Breaking the Fast.

Trader Joe's Glazed Sweet Lemon Scones are indeed glazed, sweet, and lemon-flavored. Like nearly all lemon-flavored products from Trader Joe's or anywhere else, my biggest complaint is that it could still use more lemon flavor. These are pleasantly lemony, but the tartness of the lemon is easily overshadowed by the sugary sweetness of the glaze.


Still, they're a carborrific blast of sweet-tart lemon. I like them. I generally like anything that's lemontastic. I love them for breakfast, while a Brit might say they go best with a spot of afternoon tea. I can't go lower than four and a half stars. $4.49 for six kosher scones.

Sonia likes them, too, but maybe not as much as I do. She'll give Trader Joe's Glazed Sweet Lemon Scones three and a half out of five stars.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Trader Joe's Cheddar Jalapeño Pull Apart Bread


Ahhh, the delicious jalapeño. It's like the gateway drug to the world of spicy foods. I remember thoroughly enjoying a plate of nachos during my college years. It was heaping with jalapeño pepper slices, and one of my instructors happened to walk by my work-study job as I had my lunch. "You don't strike me as a jalapeño kind of guy, Nate," he mused.

"Well there's more to me than meets the eye, Professor," I responded.

And I've been eating jalapeños ever since. The beautiful wifey introduced me to pickled jalapeño slices from brands like La Morena and La Costeña. They often come canned with carrot slices, too. The carrots soak up the jalapeño juice and become spicy just like the peppers. I love it. Perfect for tacos, nachos, or even burgers and other fusion meals.


But what about cheesy bread? I don't see why it wouldn't work. The only thing stacked against Trader Joe's Cheddar Jalapeño Pull Apart Bread is that it's not exactly fresh-baked. Heating instructions specify preparation in the oven only. Lazy bums like me that want to reheat everything in the microwave will have to put on our big boy pants. What about the air fryer? Why wouldn't that work? Meh. I'll just be good and follow the instructions for now.

Before even baking the pull-apart loaf, a visible layer of grease can be seen on the cardboard and paper part of the packaging. When you're talking breadsticks or pizza or pull-apart bread, grease almost always equals deliciousness.

And yes, the bread itself is extremely soft and nearly melt-in-your-mouth delicious after heating 12 minutes in the oven. The cheese coating is somewhat firmer than that. The jalapeños aren't exactly pristine, but then again I guess they've already been baked once.

The flavor could use both more cheddar cheese and jalapeño pepper. The bread itself is very tasty, but I think most of us came here for the cheddar jalapeño. I think if you ate this bread by itself, you'd be slightly underwhelmed, but served with tomato soup or some other kind of dip, it's pretty palatable. Sonia tried it with some queso blanco to boost the cheesiness, and she reported back with positive sentiments.

Five bucks for supposedly 6 servings. It's more like 2 servings in reality. And for the folks who like to remind me it's not Trader Joe's determining how many servings there are in these products, but rather the FDA or some other agency, I'd like to point out that I'm not aiming this criticism at any particular entity. I'm simply pointing out the fact that two people will demolish this thing in a single sitting, easily. That's just my take on the matter. Some may disagree, including those with the authority to declare that there are 6 servings when clearly there are not.

Four and a half stars from the beautiful wifey. Four out of five stars from me for Trader Joe's Cheddar Jalapeño Pull Apart Bread.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Trader Joe's Everything Ciabatta Rolls


Every time I go to the grocery store and get cold cuts, cheese, greens, and plain wheat or white bread, there's a process that inevitably follows over the next few days in our kitchen. On the first couple days, if I get hungry around lunch time, I remember we have sandwich stuff, and I make a sandwich, and it hits the spot.


After the first few days, I try to think of something...anything other than a sandwich for lunch because I'm tired of the same thing day after day, but then I realize it's just Sonia and me and I better eat a sandwich before one of the ingredients spoils. By the end of the tub of cold cuts or the loaf of bread, I'm only eating the sandwich out of a sense of obligation to not let anything go bad, and then I don't want homemade sandwiches for a long time.

I present to you the remedy for this conundrum: Trader Joe's Everything Ciabatta Rolls. No matter how many times I make sandwiches with this stuff, it never tastes or feels boring. It always feels like I went out to a cafe and had some professional sandwich artist craft some deli-fresh food of the gods just for me.

The bread itself is great quality and the "everything" seasonings just throw it over the top. There's onions, garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and sea salt in the mix. It's just the right combo to make a sandwich feel uncommon, even if it did just come from my own kitchen.

$2.49 for four rolls. Sonia and I will definitely purchase again. Four and a half stars a piece on Trader Joe's Everything Ciabatta Rolls.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Trader Joe's Sourdough Sliced Bread

One summer during my college years, a fellow student named Tim rented one of the vacant rooms in the house I lived in. As I was going about my business in the common areas one day, I noticed a bowl of...something on the seldom-used dining room table. It looked like a science experiment of sorts and smelled vaguely tart.

Tim later explained that it was sourdough starter and that he was going to bake his own bread. He mentioned the sourdough starter needed to rot a bit just sitting at room temperature because that's what made the dough sour. I was a little grossed out but after a day or so, he baked the bread and let me try a bite. It was surprisingly tasty. I mean, I'd obviously had sourdough before, but after seeing it in its primordial form, I didn't expect Tim's batch to taste so good. I've never looked at sourdough the same since.

And if anything, Trader Joe's Sourdough Sliced Bread is above average for store-bought pre-sliced sourdough. It's got just the right amount of tang and sourness, and just the right amount of wheat and barley goodness. The texture is just a bit chewier than regular white bread, and it's perfect plain with butter or as the outer layer of a sandwich. It's become one of our regular purchases at TJ's.


I believe it was $2.99 when we bought this last loaf, but it might have gone up recently, as many bread products have. If you feel like getting crafty, there's a recipe for Sweet & Spicy Pimento Grilled Cheese on TJ's official website. It sounds pretty yummy, but what are the odds I'll remember to pick up all those ingredients on the same trip?

Sonia gives Trader Joe's Sourdough Sliced Bread four and a half stars out of five. I give it four.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Trader Joe's Carb Savvy Tortillas


Sonia, my wife, is a proud American, but she's descended from a long line of Mexican ladies that purchased nothing but handmade corn tortillas daily for many generations. A snack we've had at least weekly, if not daily, since we got married over 13 years ago is quesadillas. If we run out of everything else, we've always got little tortillas and some cheese in the fridge. Heat them up, throw on a couple drops of Tapatio or Cholula, and you've got yourself an authentic Mexican-inspired snack.

We've done corn tortillas, flour tortillas, and we've even tried other low-carb tortillas. What I'm trying to get at here is that my beautiful wifey knows her tortillas and is somewhat of a tortilla snob. And I'm slowly becoming one too.

Sonia and I both agree the Mission brand carb balance soft tortillas are surprisingly good. And we both agree that these Trader Joe's Carb Savvy Tortillas made with Whole Wheat are not. In general, they lack flavor. There's a whisper of something oddly nutty by virtue of the whole wheat, but it's just enough to let you know that there's something missing.


The texture is even worse. It's like a thin sheet of leather. It's a little too tough and chewy for either of our tastes. I guess they beat the Mission brand in terms of their lack of carbs. These contain 9 grams of carbohydrates per tortilla compared to Mission's 19 grams each. The difference is tastable.

If you're really concerned about your carb intake and you want to make quesadillas or tacos or wraps or something along those lines, an even lower carb alternative is Trader Joe's Egg Wraps—a product with superior taste and texture, albeit not exactly tortilla-esque, with an extra bit of protein up in the mix and also gluten-free. I guess those wouldn't really work if you're vegan, but that's about the only scenario I can think of where I'd steer you towards these. Are these even vegan? Usually the packaging announces it quite loudly and proudly...

$2.69 for 10 tortillas. Would not buy again. One star from Sonia for Trader Joe's Carb Savvy Tortillas made with Whole Wheat. Two stars from me.

Bottom line: 3 out of 10.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Trader Joe's Fig & Olive Crisps


The box claims that figs and olives have been served together for millennia. Welp, golly. Don't I feel behind the times by a few thousand years. This is the first I've heard of it.

I guess it makes sense. You've got the sweet with the figs and the salty with the olives. Throw in some grains and seeds and you've got the beginnings of a top-shelf hors d'oeuvre right here.


We've seen Trader Joe's do this before. They combine two fascinating ingredients that seem like they'd be at odds with one another and throw them into a crunchy "crisp" format. I'm thinking summer's Strawberry & Jalapeño Crisps as well as the very autumnal Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps. The general verdict: they're good, but they need to be served with a dip, spread, or cheese.

Trader Joe's Fig & Olive Crisps are no different. Both flavor-wise and texture-wise, these crisps can only be fully redeemed with creamy cheeses. The sweet Christmassy figginess does clash with the briny olive flavor in a way when the crisps are consumed sans condiments. But there's just something about a good chevre or even low-brow cream cheese that balances out the flavors just right and tempers the über-crunchiness to a tolerable level. The box also recommends brie, cheddar, or manchego cheese, as well as sliced olives and figs.

I know there are folks out there that love these just the way they are. Sonia and I don't fall into that category 100% but we can see where those folks are coming from. Also, figs are super apropos during Yuletide, so we'll try to be fair and balanced. 

$3.99 for the box. The beautiful wifey gives Trader Joe's Fig & Olive Crisps three and a half stars. I'll throw out three.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Triple Ginger Muffins


Like raw garlic, ginger is one of those miracle substances that's truly a gift to mankind. It has antibacterial properties. It can lower blood pressure. It can even aid digestion and help fight the common cold. Unlike garlic, it actually lends a great flavor to
candies, sweet beverages, and other treats.

I can't vouch for any health benefits or healing properties from this particular product, but I can tell you it tastes significantly like real, raw, unadulterated ginger. In my opinion, they got the ginger flavor juuust right. It's always a delicate balance. The recently-reviewed Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies didn't have enough real ginger flavor if you ask me, and products like the Ginger, Almond & Cashew Granola had too much raw ginger flavor. This product nailed the ginger level with ginger puree, candied ginger, crystallized ginger, and ground ginger. Wait. That's four kinds of ginger. That makes this product Trader Joe's Gluten Free Quadruple Ginger Muffins. I guess "triple ginger" rolls off the tongue a little better.

The ginger is balanced out by the alternative flours like rice, potato, and tapioca along with a sweetness blend including molasses and brown sugar. Sonia, in particular, loved the molasses and brown sugar. The ginger flavor is powerful, but not overwhelming.


Texture-wise, these are practically identical to October's Gluten Free Pumpkin Streusel Muffins. They're not simply moist or oily, they're nearly wet with a sticky liquid glaze. There's an unusual fresh-baked quality about them, and they don't suffer for a lack of wheat or gluten. Unlike the pumpkin version, these didn't seem to have that grainy or gritty texture at all.

$4.99 for four muffins. Sonia likes pumpkin just a bit more than she likes ginger, so she'll go a half star lower on this one. I'll go half a star higher since these didn't make me cough. So four stars from me, three and a half from the beautiful wifey on Trader Joe's Gluten Free Triple Ginger Muffins.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

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