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Showing posts with label kosher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kosher. Show all posts

Friday, February 10, 2023

Trader Joe's Pizza Sprinkle Seasoning Blend

Whenever Sonia and I purchase a new seasoning blend from Trader Joe's, we like to kick things off with a little brainstorming session about what we could potentially do with our newfound condiment. With this one, I immediately thought of turning our run-of-the-mill everyday quesadillas into little Mexican-Italian fusion pizzas.

It might have come off a little blasphemous to the beautiful wifey, since quesadillas are to her like bread and butter are to us white folks. But before she could object, I reminded her of the wise words of Ted Lasso: You don't bring an umbrella to a brainstorm.

And in no time flat, I had a flour tortilla topped with a slice of mozzarella warming in the microwave. About 30 seconds later, I was administering a dusting of Trader Joe's Pizza Sprinkle Seasoning Blend over the subject of my culinary experiment.

And voila, the fastest, easiest pizza in the history of mankind was born. I mean...you could argue those pizza Lunchables are even easier, since you don't even need to warm them. Although, let's face it: they're kinda gross.


My pizzadilla creation was surprisingly not gross, though I suppose I'm a bit biased, and a lot would depend on the type of tortilla you used and whether you used good cheese or not. A lot would depend on using the right amount of this seasoning, too. Too much could easily overpower a simple, mild cheese like mozzarella. Just a dusting and not much more seemed to work quite well in this instance.

I could see us finding dozens of different uses for this seasoning blend. Pizzadillas, pizza fries, pizza pasta, pizza burgers, pizza veggies, pizza omelettes? Trader Joe's Pizza Sprinkle Seasoning Blend will get a thumbs up from both Sonia and me.


$2.99 for the shaker. Four stars from Sonia. Four and a half from me.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Trader Joe's Fig Cookies


By most consumer accounts that I've read, these fig cookies are inferior to their predecessors: Trader Joe's Fig Bites, which were really nothing to write home about in the first place. The fig bites were basically TJ's brand fig newtons with perhaps slightly healthier ingredients (no hydrogenated oils or HFCS) and exotic figs imported from Turkey.

This iteration called Trader Joe's Fig Cookies appeared about two years ago if memory serves correctly. The product has been repackaged and renamed. I believe there are fewer cookies in this pack, but this one is also a tad cheaper at $1.99 for about a dozen cookies. They taste roughly the same, but for some reason, these tend to stick together like they've been glued to one another with sticky fig juice. They're crumbly, soft, and vaguely fig newton-esque. I guess I'd buy these again just to avoid the bad stuff in Nabisco Fig Newtons.

The top ingredients include: unbleached enriched flour, cane sugar, figs, tapioca syrup, palm oil, and agave syrup. Calorie-wise, we're looking at 150 per two cookies. You'll get 3.5 grams of fat per serving, 1.5 of which is saturated fat. For full ingredients and nutrition information, please click here.

Three stars from me for Trader Joe's Fig Cookies. Sonia gives them three stars as well.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Peanut Butter & Jelly Frooze Balls


Just a quick hit for today. It's our first non-Trader Joe's brand product of 2023. It is widely available at Trader Joe's stores as well as a few other major retailers and grocery chains.

Frooze Balls. Not sure how I feel about that name for the product. Like I guess it could be a contraction or portmanteau of the words "fruit" and "ooze." They are made mostly of fruit, and there is a sort of ooze in the middle of them, so "Frooze Balls" it is.


They're made of date and coconut squished into a soft, moist texture, filled with peanut butter and various fruit purees and juices to make up the "jelly" part of the equation. They're fairly filling for how small they are, and they taste kind of like you'd expect: sweet, fruity, nutty. I like them okay, but I tire of them quickly after I've had one or two. They lack...pizzazz in my book, though many will disagree.

Sonia's a tad more into them than I am. She gives them four stars. We've also tried the chocolate hazelnut variety, which I like about the same as these. Sonia prefers PB&J over chocolate hazelnut. $1.99 for five balls. Vegan. Kosher. I give the Peanut Butter & Jelly Frooze Balls three and a half stars.

Bottom line: 7.5 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.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Trader Joe's Salmon Rub Seasoning Blend

Salmon, when done right, is right up there with my favorite foods of all time. I'm talking nice sit-down restaurant, cooked and seasoned to perfection, served with lemon, herbs, and some fancy sides. It's hard to beat that in my book. I'd generally prefer top-shelf salmon over steak, chicken, or any other meat.

Unfortunately, I've had my share of sub-par salmon. Trader Joe's has offered up a doozy or two throughout the years. There's also been some good ones, too. Salmon can be done perfectly, or it can be perfectly awful, and there's a whole lot of gray area in between.

But if you're into buying frozen salmon fillets like Sonia and I are, and you're looking for something to take that middle-of-the-run salmon into superb​ territory, Trader Joe's Salmon Rub Seasoning is your new best friend.

It's best when used as an actual rub—that is, put some olive oil on the fish and then sprinkle this seasoning on it and literally rub it in before baking/air frying/grilling your fillet. But honestly, it's not terrible when just sprinkled on already-cooked fish after the fact.


It's the perfect blend of sweet, smoky, and savory. There's no one element that's overpowering, and it enhances the flavor of the fish exquisitely.

A lot of times if something contains a "smoked" ingredient, I find it revolting for some reason. Not this time. There is a faint smoked flavor, for sure, but it doesn't taste like chemicals and it's not overpowering at all. The smoked paprika is very welcome here as it rounds out the brown sugar sweetness and really adds to the flavor profile without being obnoxious.


I'm sure some folks will find it a tad on the sweet side, but Sonia and I both loved it. $2.69 for the 2.6 oz shaker. Four and a half stars a piece for Trader Joe's Salmon Rub Seasoning Blend.

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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Trader Joe's Raw Almond Butter

In my hometown growing up, there was a farmer's market my parents liked to go to run by a local Mennonite family. They had all kinds of fresh produce, meats, and baked goods. In the fall, they'd put out scarecrows with pumpkin heads and hay mazes, and they'd sell homemade apple cider and a myriad of pies and goodies.

My absolute favorite part about going there was watching the employees make peanut butter with an old-fashioned hand crank grinder. It was literally nothing but unshelled peanuts going into the hopper, and the purest, rawest peanut butter coming out the other end. They'd put it in a mason jar and weigh it, and that was that.

To this day, that was the best peanut butter I've ever had. It's a simple case of "less is more." And that's exactly what we have here with Trader Joe's Raw Almond Butter. Less is more. Nothing but raw almonds in that jar. They didn't even add salt.

Many moons ago, our old Pittsburghian compadre reviewed Trader Joe's Creamy Almond Butter. I remember thinking he was a little harsh on the product since Sonia and I had tried it around the same time and both of us had generally positive sentiments about it.


But both the beautiful wifey and I must admit this raw version is head and shoulders better. The difference? They used dry roasted almonds in the previous version...and added some cashews? Weird.

Trader Joe's is peddling an organic almond butter most recently. Apparently this raw version is not made with certified organic almonds but their new kind is. Also, there was very recently a crunchy version of this raw almond butter which is now discontinued, much to the chagrin of crunchy almond butter fans the world over.

I should also point out that this almond butter isn't technically completely raw, since it has been pasteurized. Does that affect the flavor? Who knows. I've never had unpasteurized almond butter.


The butter itself is both runny and a little gritty—it's a good gritty though. The runniness can vary from serving to serving based on how recently and how vigorously the almond butter has been agitated. You really have to manhandle the stuff the get the semi-solid parts to integrate with the liquids.

$5.99 for the jar. Not exactly cheap, but hey, despite a few weaknesses, Trader Joe's Raw Almond Butter gets a thumbs up from me. We'll go with three and a half stars. 

This is Sonia's new favorite nut butter of all time. She gives it a perfect five out of five.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Chocolate Fudge Oat Bars


Let's kick the new year off right. It's January, and everybody's craving frozen treats, right? No? Well then, let's crank up the heat, put on a tropical island screen saver, and pretend it's the middle of July. Not every review can be seasonally appropriate.

I've honestly been surprised how well oat lends itself to fudge and chocolate flavors. In almost every case, these oats and oat milk-based products would have been a godsend if I were still on my milk-free diet as I was as a child, or for that matter, if I were vegan. I'm thinking these Chocolate Fudge Oat Bars, the recently-reviewed Very Chocolatey Oat Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, and Trader Joe's Oat Chocolate Bars.

Conversely, in each case, these chocolatey oat desserts fall just shy of my good old dairy-based stand-by treats. Although it's not really my thing these days, I used to love a good Fudgesicle circa junior high and high school. That's basically what these are: vegan fudge popsicles.

They taste fudgey enough for me, although they might fall a hair shy of the originals in terms of rich chocolatey goodness and creaminess. Still, for being oat-based, it's hard to complain, since the differences are negligible.

Texture-wise, they're sorta creamy-ish, I guess, but also almost a tad oily I'd say. Is it the cocoa butter? Sunflower lecithin? Both? It's not really unappetizing, just unique. The mouthfeel of this product is...interesting.

$3.49 for four bars. It seems odd there are only four. Six would be ideal by my estimate. Sonia gives these oaty treats four out of five stars. I give Trader Joe's Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Chocolate Fudge Oat Bars three out of five stars.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Trader Joe's Peppermint Hot Chocolate


This was an enthusiastic recommendation from the Trader Joe's clerk. After seeing my bottle of peppermint liqueur, he asked, "Have you tried the peppermint hot chocolate!? It's my favorite this time of year!" Before I could answer, he jumped away from the register and started walking towards the tea and coffee aisle and bid me follow. So I did.

He inserted himself in between the product shelves and some older ladies who looked at him rather indignantly for interrupting their beverage hunt. Having obtained a tin of this peppermint hot chocolate mix, he held it aloft and shouted, "This! Right here! You have to try it!"

Neither Sonia nor I are "must have everything peppermint" people, but I felt like this guy might burst into tears if I said I wasn't interested, and well, you know, trying new-to-us Trader Joe's stuff is kind of a thing we do, so I told him to throw it in with my groceries.


I know this product has been around for years, and you know what? It's pretty darn good. I don't know if I can muster quite the level of enthusiasm that TJ's clerk did, but I definitely see where he's coming from, especially if you're a big fan of peppermint.

The dominant flavor here is peppermint, even more than chocolate I'd say, but somehow it's balanced and tempered. There's no peppermint overload, despite it being peppermint-forward. The chocolate aspects are basically what you'd expect. It's a "bittersweet chocolate" they used. It's a tad richer than your basic sweet milk chocolate and it helps keep the mintiness in check.

We made ours with cow's milk and added whipped cream, so it was nice and creamy and dessert-like. I really can't get into hot chocolate made with water. I suppose if you're in it for the peppermint rather than the chocolate, hot water would do in a pinch.

$4.99 for eight servings, according to the info on the package. I would have guessed closer to 12 servings, but I suppose that depends on how much powder you use and the size of your mug, etc, etc. Four and a half times two from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Peppermint Hot Chocolate.

Bottom line: 9 out of 10.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Trader Joe's Decorate Your Own Holiday Ornaments Cookie Kit


It might be an unpopular opinion, but in general, I think food should just be food and decorations should just be decorations. I've never discovered a product that excelled at both simultaneously. And that's to be expected, isn't it? Most edible decorations have been handled excessively before anyone gets the chance to eat them. And if they do, in fact, serve the purpose of ornamentation, well, then...they've likely been sitting out in the open collecting dust, being touched by children and licked by pets for goodness knows how long.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. And that's one of the reasons we'll be looking at this classic Trader Joe's Decorate Your Own Holiday Ornaments Cookie Kit. We'll be sure to score based on value and fun-factor, not just on taste and texture of the "baked cookies."

First observation: this is a big box. It's heavy. It's one pound and 4.7 ounces! I think that's the second heaviest food product we've ever purchased from Trader Joe's after the big round tin of Jingle Jangle.


There are three tubes of icing: red, white, and green. The colors aren't particularly vibrant. They're rather drab for holiday red and green. I suppose we can chalk that up to Trader Joe's using natural stuff for colors like vegetable juice, paprika, beet powder, turmeric, and spirulina extract instead of typical man-made dyes. That's fine. It's a trade-off.

There are two of each cookie shape: gift box, Christmas tree, snowman, and snowflake. And there are two little packets of candy decorations, one with tiny snowflakes, candy canes, gingerbread men, trees, and balls of various colors. They also give you shiny golden twist ties to hang the ornaments from your Christmas tree.


They taste like the most boring sugar cookies ever. They're only moderately sweet, and they taste and feel like they were meant to be decorative. The candy sprinkles and icings aren't much better. I honestly wouldn't buy this as a food item. I guess kids might like 'em, but I can't imagine many adults being enamored by the taste and texture of these things. A full cookie contains 300 calories, and that's not even close to worth it by my estimation—especially around the holidays when there are so many super tasty foods available.

But I gotta admit, they're cute. Feel free to critique our handiwork in the comments below. I'm sure your kids made much nicer cookies than we did. We're a little out of practice at decorating edible Christmas ornaments.


$7.99 for eight cookies. We'll offer two separate scores here, one as a food item, and another as a decorative one. Four Christmas stars a piece from Sonia and me as far as a fun family activity and ornamental value are concerned for Trader Joe's Decorate Your Own Holiday Ornaments Cookie Kit. Two grinchy Christmas stars a piece from Sonia and me for the edible aspects of this box of cookies.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10 stars for the fun-factor.

Bottom line: 4 out of 10 stars for the food-factor.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Trader Joe's Green Goddess Seasoning Blend

Most people you ask will tell you green goddess dressing is characterized by sour cream and mayo content. Trader Joe's seems to have taken the stance that green goddess is defined by its spice blend rather than its creamy base products. I'll back that claim up with exhibit A: Trader Joe's Green Goddess Salad Dressing, a vegan take on the classic condiment. Sonia and I both have an affinity for avocado and avocado-based products, so the lack of dairy and eggs didn't hurt when we scored that product.

Conversely, TJ's isn't hating on the traditional sour cream and mayo combo. As long as it has that lemon, basil, garlic, pepper, and chives blend, it's still worthy of the moniker "green goddess." Exhibit B: Trader Joe's Green Goddess Dip.

And finally, I bring before you exhibit C, a non-vegan green goddess flavored food, void of sour cream and mayo, but still worthy of the name. They didn't call it Gouda with Basil, Garlic, and Chives. They called it Trader Joe's Green Goddess Gouda.

Predictably, Trader Joe's now offers the spice blend in a shaker all by itself so you can make ANYTHING green goddess-style. Green goddess eggs. Green goddess fries. Green goddess popcorn. Green goddess turkey and swiss sandwiches. Green goddess ice cream? Insert something even more ridiculous than green goddess ice cream here. There's even a recipe for Green Goddess Dressing on the side of the shaker, although that's not particularly ridiculous.


It tastes like classic green goddess spices, and it's super convenient. It goes well with just about any salty or savory food you can think of. It's fairly allium-forward, and they didn't overdo it with the salt. The lemon elements are surprisingly potent, as well. It's a very nice flavorful blend.

I'd call it a decent value at $2.49 for 2 oz. I think we're looking at four stars a piece from Sonia and me on Trader Joe's Green Goddess Seasoning Blend.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Trader Joe's Mini Peppermint Meringues


I've admitted before on this blog that I'm not big into the texture of meringues. I think it was in a review of the
Vienna Coffee Meringues that I likened the texture of Trader Joe's meringue cookies to chalk. These are really no different. So why try them at all you ask?

Because sometimes Trader Joe's surprises me. And even more frequently than that, I surprise myself. Somehow, peppermint lends itself to crunchy, sugary stuff more than most flavors. I guess I'm thinking of candy canes. I'd always be too impatient to suck the thing slowly, and I'd just snap a big piece off and start crunching away, much to the chagrin of my parents and childhood dentist.

Anyway, if I could chew hard candy peppermint as a kid, I guess I can give these airy, crunchy peppermint dealies a try. At least these are meant to be crunched rather than sucked, so there's that. However, I can't imagine they're much better for your teeth than a candy cane.


The flavor is fine. It's candy cane-esque, with sugar and egg white mixed in there. I still can't fully get past the texture, though. I'm fine chomping on one or two at a time, but I could never really see myself craving these sweets over any other type of cookies or candy.

I guess one reason people like them is the zero fat content and low calorie count. If not for the sugar content, these might be considered keto-friendly. In fact, the serving suggestion says 11 "cookies" are only 80 calories. I had to see what other folks were saying about these meringues around the web and stumbled across a review that summed up my feelings on the subject nearly exactly: "I'm convinced that eating 11 of these would put you in the hospital, needing an IV insulin drip."


He's right. Eating 11 of these in one sitting should be called the Trader Joe's Mini Peppermint Meringues Challenge and should be regarded with the same contempt that sane folks have for things like swallowing an entire Carolina reaper pepper or a whole shaker of cinnamon while filming oneself on TikTok.

$2.99 for the tub of ~38 mini meringues isn't a bad value. I definitely wouldn't buy them again. Predictably, Sonia tolerated them a bit better than I did, but she's not down for a repeat buy either. I think we're looking at about three stars each on Trader Joe's Mini Peppermint Meringues.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Trader Joe's O' Nog

History repeats itself. After trying Trader Joe's O' Nog for the first time, I think Sonia said verbatim the same thing she said after tasting Trader Joe's Almond Nog.

"I like this better than regular egg nog."

Blasphemy. Culinary heresy, pure and simple. Vegans and lactose intolerants, you guys get a free pass. But the beautiful wifey is neither of those.

I'm just kidding. She's free to think silly things like that. And I'm free to think that traditional egg nog will never be surpassed by anything non-dairy.

But comparing this to full calorie, milk-based, egg-laden nog is unfair in some ways. So let's look at it for what it is: it's an oat-based beverage that very nearly approximates the flavor of traditional egg nog. It got the sweetness level right. It got the spice blend right. And it came very close to getting the creaminess right.


The texture, like the almond nog, is noticeably more watery than the real stuff. And while the almond nog was predictably nutty, this oat beverage is predictably grainy in a similar sense, flavor-wise.

This drink reminds Sonia of atole, or atole blanco, a traditional corn-based Mexican beverage usually served hot. So, logically, Sonia tried Trader Joe's O' Nog warmed up and she absolutely loved it. I must agree it works as a hot beverage, possibly even better than it does when served cold.

I can verify it works well when mixed with bourbon. I'd assume, like egg nog or almond nog, that it would go great with rum, brandy, J├Ągermeister, or any number of alcoholic additives, too.

It's not just dairy-free, but also vegan, soy free, gluten free, and lactose free. The only ingredients not in the "2% or less" category are water, hydrolyzed oats, and cane sugar.

$2.99 for the quart. Sonia will go with four stars again. I'll go with a solid three for the noble effort on Trader Joe's O' Nog Non-Dairy Oat Beverage.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels


I've studied our analytics enough to know that nobody reads our blog over Thanksgiving weekend, so here's a throwaway review made special just for today!

Why is it throwaway? Two main reasons. One: people are sick of pumpkin spice by this time of year, including me, sort of. Two: we've already reviewed this product, well, not exactly, but sort of.


The last time we reviewed this product, it was called Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Slims rather than Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels. I think we actually complained during that review that the pretzels weren't actual pretzels but just flat pretzel "slims" or skins. 

Well, I guess we should be grateful because these are actual pretzels—teeny tiny pretzels, in fact, in case you hadn't gathered that by the name of the product or the name of this post or the picture of the miniature pretzels on the bag or the picture of the mini pretzels in this review.

Mini pretzels covered in that "yogurt flavored" coating—which functions more like white chocolate than yogurt—with pumpkin spice and pumpkin seeds on top is indeed what we have here, and it tastes exactly like its predecessor. I like this version a tad bit more because they used three-dimensional pretzels this time, but neither Sonia nor I like them enough to raise our score. 

Eight is enough for Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Teeny Tiny Pretzels, which probably aren't around anymore this year. Catch 'em in the fall of 2023 if you're into this sort of thing. Or bust 'em out of the back of the pantry now and munch on 'em in between leftover turkey sandwiches since I reminded you that they're actually pretty decent and snackable. $2.99 for the resealable bag.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Trader Joe's This Coconut Brings Chocolate on a Date Bars


This product isn't very Thanksgivingy, is it? Not at first glance, no. But just think of all the travel that will be happening this week. You'll be stuck in the car with ravenous kids and nowhere to pull over. Everyone will be screaming that they're hungry while you're driving over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house you go, and then you'll remember you brought a box of Trader Joe's This Coconut Brings Chocolate on a Date Bars.

Convenient? Of course. Just five ingredients—that's a plus. The texture: soft, chewy, moist, with little bits of coconut swimming all throughout. Both Sonia and I like the mouthfeel just fine.


As far as the taste goes, this will be the second product in a row where we disagree. Sonia says the chocolate throws the whole thing off. She'd rather have a 100% fruit and coconut bar. We've seen those before: Trader Joe's Apple + Coconut Bar.

I think the chocolate is done exceptionally well in this instance: there's both non-sweet chocolate and cocoa powder, and it rounds out the product with a rich, dark indulgent quality that plain fruit bars lack. I'll plow through this box all by myself with little or no help from the beautiful wifey. Also, the size of the bars is absolutely perfect for keeping the blood sugar up and holding the munchies at bay.

As an aside, I should mention that I'm not sure why there appears to be a big white patch on the bar in the photo I took. It almost looks like a weird white mold on the bar. I assure you it didn't look like that in real life. Must have been a trick of the light or something.

$3.69 for five bars. Five? Why not six? Hmm. I'd still buy 'em again. Sonia probably wouldn't. Three stars from her. I've gotta throw out at least four and a half to keep Trader Joe's This Coconut Brings Chocolate on a Date Bars in the realm of respectability.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Trader Joe's PBC Bars


Long ago, we reviewed Trader Joe's ABC Bars, the almond butter version of this peanut butter-based snack. In the post, I came up with as many "ABC" word combos as I could think of. It'd be a pretty big charge to do it again. It's in the past, babe, chill. I couldn't possibly be creative like that again.


Pleasantly buttery, creamy, these bars make positively boss comestibles like their predecessors. Trader Joe's packed blissful cocoa all through these bars, also peanut butter, creamy-style—pretty basic concept. 

But now that I've tried 'em, I get powerful bad cravings. Perhaps babies cry for PBC. They'd be a proper buy at checkout.

Health-wise, these are presumably a better choice than pretzels, brownies, chips. I would personally bake cookies, but I'm sure they wouldn't be as good as these. Perfect bars for camping, they'd probably be convenient.

People begging for chow? Pickup a box of craveable peanut butter cocoa bars. Please be careful: they're addicting. 

$3.29 for six bars. Vegan. Gluten free. I think I prefer the almond butter version just ever so slightly over these. I'm usually a peanut butter guy, but almond butter works a little better in this application. Still, peanut butter is never unwelcome to the beautiful wifey and me. Four stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's PBC Bars.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Trader Joe's Apple Cranberry Tart


I, personally, haven't seen the
Rustic Apple Tarte on shelves in a while. I've seen posts about it on social media, so it must still be out there somewhere. That thing was legendary. So, if you can, pick one up.

If you can't, this delicious pastry is the next best thing. This has more of a sweet tart vibe. I don't mean that it's a tart that's sweet. I mean it's a tart that is both sweet and tart. Make sense? It's a much more tart tart than the rustic apple dealie, courtesy of cranberries. The apple tarte was just appliciously sweet.


The crust on this product is still outstanding, flaunting a country-style homemade vibe and buttery deliciousness. It's flaky and crumbly and just rigid enough to hold the fruit in the middle of the tart where it belongs.

Weaknesses? Well, for me, the cranberries weren't quite as melt-in-your-mouth perfect as the apples, texture-wise. Cranberries can have a slightly leathery texture and some of these did, just ever so slightly. Also, the aforementioned rustic apple tarte had candied almond slivers on top. This didn't. I miss those.


The missus raved about this tart from first bite. She said it's like something you'd pick up in an artisan bakery in Paris. She pointed out the impeccable balance of flavors and nice presentation. Her only complaint: she wants a four-pack next time. Two tarts just aren't enough.

$4.99 for the box. Heats in 20 minutes at 350° in a conventional oven. As highly as we'll recommend this dessert, it'll still score a full star lower than its rustic apple cousin. Four and a half stars from Sonia. Four from me on Trader Joe's Apple Cranberry Tart.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Trader Joe's Very Chocolatey Oat Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert with Fudge Brownies


Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. E-G-B-D-F. Anybody else? It's a mnemonic device to remember the lines on the treble clef. Or, alternatively, Every Good Boy Does Fine. I was terrible at piano even after nine years of lessons. I'm much more of a bass guitar guy. Sorry for the rabbit trail. I could go on for pages and pages, but we have a product to review here.

Trader Joe's Very Chocolatey Oat Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert with Fudge Brownies. That's a mouthful and a half for a product title. If nothing else, it's accurate. I mean, the fudge brownies aren't, like, whole brownies or anything. They're not even really chunks. More like bits...or bites. But there's a bunch of 'em, and they're pretty tasty.


Here we have rich, fudgy chocolate oat milk ice cream on top of rich, fudgy chocolate morsels. I have to be in the mood for "chocolate overload" to really enjoy a product like this one. Fortunately, I had one of my infrequent cravings just the other day. It was cold and gloomy, and I needed a pick-me-up. This did the trick in terms of picking me up...but not so much in terms of warming me up.

Well, duh. It is frozen dessert after all.

The oatiness doesn't really detract from the flavor. It's a pretty decent frozen dessert for being vegan. I will say there's something "loamy" about the look and texture. Can I use that word here? It's generally reserved for describing dirt. "This soil is loamy," said the farmer. It means a certain percentage is clay, silt, and sand. Not that it felt sandy in my mouth or anything like that. Clay-ish, perhaps.


Truth be told, I'm not really up to speed on all these newfangled dairy-free options from other brands these days. I've had a few. I think I'm more partial to rice-based ice cream than oat, but I wouldn't complain if you stuck a bowl of this frozen treat in front of me.

Sonia liked it but didn't love it. She'd generally prefer a vanilla-based frozen treat and thinks oat lends itself to less rich flavor combos rather than double chocolate like we have here.

$3.99 for the pint. Don't think I'd pick it up again, but I might if I were lactose intolerant or vegan. Three and a half stars from Sonia. Three from me for Trader Joe's Very Chocolatey Oat Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

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