Monday, August 17, 2009

Review #10: Organic Granola

Am I the only person who updates this thing? Yes.
Is Trader Joe's granola, notably in Granny's Apple and Mango, 100% awesome? Yes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review #9: On Indian Food

Indian food is delicious. But expensive (unless you go to Panna II, which is a delight on so many levels) (and while we're on the subject, does anyone want to be a gentrifier and go to Jackson Heights with me?). So Trader Joe's Indian food should be wonderful: they're usually great at "ethnic" food (see: tamales, pizzas, a lot of the boxed Asian noodle dishes), and you essentially get food that usually costs sixteen dollars for under five.

But the tradeoff: it's not great. While I happily scarfed down their Palak Paneer after TJ's visits, impressed by the novelty and the spirit of making something so foreign and delicious, the consistency is awful and the tastes are off. On the other hand, the naan is good, especially if you oven it, but what sort of bread isn't good when you put it in the oven? While previously I'd been disappointed by the mushy pouches, today I had the worst TJ's microwavable Indian fare by far: half a microwavable meal of rice and "chicken" (I think maybe it was tofu? it was three or four small mushy cubes in a thin red sauce), and veggie samosas. It microwaved poorly and congealed into one big mush. Ugh. Save cheap Indian fare to cheap Indian restaurants; TJ's Indian, we're through.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review #8: Steamers

Back in a simpler time - before the iPhone, Facebook, and Jon and Kate Plus 8 - my parents weren't divorced. And during this time, approximately twice a summer my parents would bring home "steamers" - fresh clams you would take out of the shell, remove this weird black residue from, and eat in garlic butter. Somewhat hard work, but delicious. One big happy family. Steamers.

As an avid seafood fan, I was hit with both nostalgia and delight when seeing the new TJ's Frozen Steamers at the Brooklyn location. I bought some (under five dollars, I believe), put them in the freezer, and forgot - until this Monday, when I microwaved them for the instructed five and a half minutes and put them in a pasta with mushrooms and lackluster oversized frozen Trader Joe's broccoli.

But this isn't a review about broccoli (if it were, I'd give it five out of ten stars). It's about steamers. And these were mediocre. There was no payoff for the hard work of de-shelling every clam, and the mild embarrassment and smell of eating shellfish in a tiny shared office. There was a fair amount of grit - sand? broken shell? - in the steamers, and they just didn't taste that great. Trader Joe's has otherwise great fish products (mahi tuna, seafood cakes, and according to Jamie, the fish sticks), and so it's best to leave the fresh shellfish to the beach and my family's past to the past, and not recommend this product.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Introductions: Trader Amy

Hi! I'm Amy and I have been a Trader Joe's fan for as long as I can remember. I shamelessly make leisurely trips to the Union Square location during my lunch break and I always leave with 1-2 bags of awesome (as well as a bangin' crush on whichever hispteresque/20something/toocoolforschool employee helped me that day). I frequently force my co-workers to try various TJ items that are either a.) on sale or b.) in pretty packages and both categories have definitely lead me to a few winners. Some of my favorites include their Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies, Ginger Senbei Snacks, and limited Christmas-edition Gingerbread Coffee.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review #7: Low-Fat Chicken Lo Mein

Trader Joe's - or should I say, paternalistically and a bit uncomfortably, Trader Ming's - "low fat" chicken lo mein tastes pretty awesome. It's not quite as good texturally as a fine Chinese bistro or when you get it from one of those hole-in-the-wall Chinese places where you order by pointing at glow-up pictures, but it's close, doesn't taste low-fat at all, and is in the upper tier of Trader Ming's products I've tried for sure. By which I mean, the chicken tastes normal. Cooking it takes a couple of steps, so it's something best to prepare before you go to work. My only real qualm: a paltry serving. Split in half, the bag is really not enough for two lunches: best to supplement with some mixed greens and/or a couple of Trader Joe's veggie dumplings (very highly recommended, although my coworkers asked "what smells like onion bagels").

Monday, April 13, 2009

Review #6: Dark Chocolate Covered Joe Joe's And An Intro

It's no secret that I like the sweets. I mean, I even sound chubby on the radio. And while we're briefly on the subject of an introduction of sorts, I'm not going to bore you all with a "Trader Jason" introduction. I like food, I spend way too much money on it. I have battled this side of me from time to time but at a certain point you just have to embrace it. For those of you who maybe have some self respect for their digestive systems, things like TJ's dark chocolate covered Joe Joe's might be a nice random treat. But for a man who said goodbye to self respect a while ago and dove headfirst into the doughy abyss that is one's inner fat man, these cookies spell disaster.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a pan. In fact, these cookies are TOO good. The other night after buying my first box, I took 2 out and sat down to watch a special about how kick ass Teddy Roosevelt was on the History Channel. Cut to the first commercial break and I'm in a sugar glazed stupor and the box is emptied.

If you've never taken the time to truly explore TJ's "Fuck Diabetics" section, Joe Joe's are their version of Oreos. The cookies by themselves are fine. Nothing to write home about, maybe a couple of notches above Hydrox on the sandwich cookie path to perfection that is an Oreo. But they are transformed into little pillows of heaven when covered in deep dark chocolate. The chocolate coating adds a perfect texture and a little snap to every bite. The taste itself can best be described as "holy fucking shit". Some might say they are too sweet but I don't want to fraternize with those people. I mean, how can something be too sweet? In the words of Jeannie Darcy, "don't even get me started". You know what I will get started on? Another box of these goddamn cookies because they are delicious. Now if you'll excuse me I have to get ready for "How to Write An Awesome Segue" class at the Learning Annex.

the legend of charles shaw.

This is way outtdated, but seriously their explanation for $2-3 buck chuck is an overabundance of grapes?

I was wondering what your guys take on the myth was. I had always heard the vineyard owner went through a bitter divorce with no prenup, and wanted to make the venture break even so his money grubbing wife couldn't have any.