Ready-to-bake kouign amanns are now available in the freezer section of Trader Joe's. I was excited, but also a little skeptical—could TJ's convenience-oriented take remotely compare to the real deal?
'Trader Joe's' on Serious Eats
These giant, lemon-yellow apples are relatively new to the US market. We snatched one up to see how it tastes, and to test claims that it won't turn brown after being sliced.
We hit the aisles at Trader Joe's to find delicious sweets and give them a Valentine's Day twist.
This year's updated advice on what to buy—and what to skip—on the Trader Joe's coffee bean shelves.
Canadians (and poutine fans) rejoice: poutine is available in the freezer section at Trader Joe's, and it definitely does not suck!
Trader Giotto's Lattemiele cookies looked suspiciously like the "Rigoli" cookies I'd indulge in from Buon Italia. Could this be an awesome discount way to feel my breakfast cookie addiction or would they come up short?
Trader Joe's currently carries two different bottles of Scotch: a 10-year old single malt Highland priced at $20 and a blended Scotch priced at $9. We gave them a try in a blind taste test.
It feels like every time I stop by Trader Joe's, I'm sucked into buying chocolate. I've identified five reasons for this. 1. Pretty packaging 2. Pretty packaging near the checkout line 3. Good prices 4. [Often] good quality 5. New products to try. The last time I was in a TJ's, I fell into the trap. There were three new chocolate bars with maybe the cutest packaging yet—all vintage-y with ships and A FLAMINGO. See how they stacked up.
Today we're in the market for value rosés (under $13) that you can find in your nearby Trader Joe's. While some TJ's stores have specific selections of rosé from local vineyards, we focused on tasting wines that can be found across the country. After opening 8 bottles, we were left with 4 that we'd definitely seek out again.
Trader Joe's Jail House Gin is 88 proof, and the label proudly announces that it's 'five times distilled in the former Navy brig on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay.' The result: a gin that smells a little bit like cleaning fluid and quite a bit like vodka.
As with all Trader Joe's products, there's a bit of smoke and mirrors about where this stuff comes from, but I did a little poking around. The label mentions Bourbon Square Distilling Co., but according to my contact at Buffalo Trace, this bourbon is distilled at the Barton 1792 Distillery, which is owned by the Sazerac Company. It sells for $14.99 for a 750ml bottle, which is darn cheap. But what does it taste like?
First produced by Mexican Franciscan monks of Monterey, California, Monterey Jack cheese is one of the true original American cheeses. Add to that cheese bits of chopped hot peppers (usually jalapeño), and you've got yourself pepper jack. Perfect in jalapeño poppers, bang-up on burgers, crazy-good on crackers, top-notch at topping nachos, and, uh... inquedible in quesadillas, it's the snackers' cheese par excellence. So who makes the ooziest, tangiest, hottest of the bunch?
For most of us, Heinz is the default ketchup of choice, the one we compare all other ketchups to. It makes sense; the company dominates 60% of the entire ketchup market. But that doesn't mean that there aren't other options out there, and—at least in our local market—Heinz tends to be one of the more expensive brands on the shelf, priced at about 150% compared to its closest comparable competitor. Add on to this the recent backlash against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and the accompanying influx of both organic brands and brands made with non-HFCS sweeteners, and you've got a few other variables to contend with. Could one of these cheaper or non-HFCS bottles be worth squeezing on our hot dogs or dipping our fries into?
Trader Joe gets really into pumpkin season. Walk through any of the stores this month and it's like a pumpkin patch spilled all over the place. Flip through Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, the chain's product newsletter/comic book, and you'd see that every other word in the October issue is pumpkin. Pumpkin Bread Mix, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Cream Cheese, even Pumpkin-flavored Doggie Treats. Wouldn't it be fun if we bought every single pumpkin-flavored product in the store and tried them?
The Atlantic has an interesting piece on the history and politics of Trader Joe's, President Obama announced $30 million in emergency drought assistance, and more food policy news we're reading.
The Serious Eats office houses a few Trader Joe's detractors, but we're not ashamed to admit that we're huge TJ's fans. And as with many of their products, the design of these "Vintage" sodas is pretty attractive. Classic flavors, throwback looks, cane sugar to sweeten? It all sounded promising—but then we tasted them.
We sampled a selection of the most festively packaged, theoretically premium, non-decaf, non super-maximum-dark-French-roast beans on Joe's shelf. Here are your best bets and a few to avoid.
Bottom Shelf research director Emily grew up along the Boston Marathon route, which means she's one of those odd people who think it's fun to watch tens of thousands of strangers jog until their nipples bleed. I certainly respect the dedication and athleticism of anyone who can run 26.2 miles in the same calendar month let alone one hot morning, but just because a thing is impressive does not mean the thing is entertaining. I don't want to watch people marathon any more than I want to watch people perform surgery or conduct themselves with dignity and restraint around Swedish meatballs.
Trader Joe's Toasted Coconut Cookie Thins are the third addition to the Cookie Thin line— joining previous flavors Meyer Lemon and Triple Ginger. I was shocked to discover that I hadn't tried any of these cookies. (Though to my credit, Trader Joe's tends to prominently display the Two Buck Chuck while hiding the cookies on a shelf above the frozen shrimp puffs. Obviously I spend my time near the shiny bottles.)
I'm no stranger to Trader Joe's chocolate. Their 100 Calorie Dark Chocolate Bars are a personal favorite—the bars feel substantial, have a pleasant snap, and though the chocolate isn't exactly Valrhona, it's way better than Hershey's. So when these three petite new bars showed up in the "What's New" bin at my local TJ's, I knew I wanted to give them a try. The bar stuffed with Speculoos cookie spread immediately drew my attention (let's be honest, I'd try a turkey stuffed with Speculoos cookie spread, it's that good) but at a modest $1 a pop, I figured I could splurge on all three.