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Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Customer service confirmed that the Central American kraut is regional only. Shame too as I'm not a fan of the raw kraut with cucumber and would have loved an alternative.

Thankfully krauts are an easy thing to make from scratch. Think I'll curb my disappointment with a big batch of home made live cultured ruby kraut. (purple cabbage and beet)

about 12 hours ago
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Not relevant at all. Lynn seems to be accidentally submitting her Calgary, Alberta related posts here.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1012...

May 25, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

So excited to hear this! I've made plenty of my own kimchi from scratch and the TJ's is actually one of the very best off the shelf I've had. The added shiitake mushroom powder gives a subtle umami note that I really enjoy.

wintersweet, when you can't get to a TJ's, Sunja's Kimchi which is sold at a lot of health food stores is a solid jarred variety that doesn't include fish or msg .

May 25, 2015
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Considering others subpar is perfectly okay because that's entirely subjective, but suggesting that those with *less* chocolate are the deviation and not the other way around is simply false.

Chocolate was used sparingly in the older european varieties because it was a luxury item few could afford. This is why some european babkas didn't even use chocolate at all and were made with cinnamon instead.

If you want to continue this tangential debate please start a dedicated thread and I'll join you there. Whatever you decide, I will not contribute any further to it here triggering everyones subscriptions with this derailment. :)

May 23, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Never said they didn't exist, I'm simply highlighting that however much we may like the TJ's variety it is irrefutably a long way from the babka the vast majority of people grew up with and any argument suggesting otherwise doesn't have legs even if you can cite a handful of exceptions when a google image search for "Chocolate Babka" is proof enough of this fact.

We both enjoy and recommend it so this is really all just violent agreement in any case!

Let's please get back to offering YAY/NAY reviews of TJ's products which is what people here have actually subscribed for rather than perpetuating a rather pointless debate about how traditional (or not) this single item is. :)

Here, I'll go first:

YAY - Greek Kalamata Olive Oil - Much lauded both here and by olive oil tasting experts around the web, a half year ago some of us fans noticed it started laking the characteristic peppery bite that signals freshness due to a high phenol content. I'm happy to report that a new batch is on the shelves with a 2016 expiry and it's as good as it ever was. Still edged out slightly by the California Estate but for the price it makes for an excellent every day oil where you're using it by the cup rather than drizzling.

YAY - Lemon Pepper Grinder - Not a new item but I haven't seen it been mentioned in ages so this pantry staple is worth highlighting for those new to the family. The lemon rind and lemon oil bring a fragrant citrus note to the party that makes this a delightful finishing pepper, a great addition to vinaigrettes, and really enhances Cacio e Pepe. A must try in my opinion for anyone that hasn't already.

May 23, 2015
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

In over 30 years of eating Babka of wildly different quality from bakeries all over NYC I've never once seen any with such a high chocolate to bread ratio. This is also noted in virtually every website review to date as well so I'm certainly not alone in noting how different this variety is.

Again, I'm a fan and this will be a repeat purchase for sure but it's remarkably different from virtually all of the very best rated Babkas in NYC so suggesting that the TJ's is only different when compared to crap offerings and those that are non-traditional simply doesn't hold water.

Closest I've ever seen is Oneg Heimishe Bakery‘s but even that is far crustier and not nearly as sweet.

http://theeatenpath.com/2010/02/25/th...

May 23, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

"Original, traditional, european babkas" weren't made with degermed bleached flour either. So every single white flour based babka you've ever had is also not "traditional" if that's defined as a strict adherence to old world ingredients and preparation. :)

Personally I've noted repeatedly in my reviews of the TJ's babka that it's actually VERY different than the babka most are familiar with. Far more chocolate, far less bread, notably sweeter, and most definitely richer, so I find this entire debate of authenticity pretty funny.

That it's made in a kosher facility in Brooklyn means bupkis and certainly doesn't make it authentic. There are plenty of crap jewish bakeries in Brooklyn that veer well off the beaten path in some of their offerings. Whatever the subjective view of "traditional" may be, the TJ's babka is damn good stuff in my opinion and I'll be quite comfortable serving it to guests anytime.

May 23, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Highly doubt a jarred item like this would be regional so now you're giving me hope chinchi! Will interrogate my local customer service counter and extract from them what the actual deal is. :)

I'd love to keep these beets continually stocked in my pantry!

May 21, 2015
NuMystic in Chains
2

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Well folks started reporting them gone from the shelves last month so if there's any left I'd stock up since you're not likely to see any more until Fall.

May 21, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Wait, did you *just* buy some of the jarred beets in vinaigrette? They disappeared a little while back and we were told they were seasonal and not due to return until October.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1000...

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

I hear you schrute, I forget about those things with alarming consistency. :) Been meaning to try the soft and juicy mango but haven't gotten around to it yet.

The chili spiced mango on the other hand was my first TJ's return ever! Couldn't get the taste out of my mouth fast enough.

Odd too since I love spicy an am generally a fan of sweet/savory combos but I found this one downright repugnant.

May 21, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Because lots of folks avoid dried fruit that has been sulfured and has a bunch of added sugar?

That's not me in this case, but you did ask. :)

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

The vocal minority that doesn't care for the Babka isn't down to regional bakery suppliers as almost every negative cited I can understand.

It's definitely not like most traditional babka which is typically far less sweet due to having a much higher bread to chocolate ratio.

Being big fans of rich dark chocolate desserts it was a Yay for us but I can definitely see why it's polarizing.

May 20, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

The frozen lemon bars are something we quite liked but they're definitely a different beast altogether than regular bakery lemon bars. Almost entirely intense lemon custard with only a thin layer of moist pastry at the bottom.

If you're looking for regular style lemon bars you might want to check out the "Lemon Bites" in the bakery section.

May 18, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Yes, the lack of heat means the sweetness of the peppers is more forward (there's no other sweetener). A bit of hot sauce fixed that right up.

And yes Muhammara is originally from Syria but is now enjoyed much more widely in the Middle East. It's often found on Turkish and Lebanese menus for example.

May 15, 2015
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

First and last hour of the day is the secret to finding parking and no wait at the checkout line.

May 15, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

Unfortunately the price has gone way up. Still a bit cheaper than elsewhere but nowhere near the bargain it used to be. :(

May 15, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

YAY - Muhamarra (refrigerated near all the hummus)

So excited to see this available off the shelf. Very nice middle eastern dip made of Walnuts, Roasted Red Peppers, Breadcrumbs, Olive Oil, and Pomegranate.

Only thing it's lacking compared to traditional recipes is a bit of kick but that's easily remedied. If it being mild rather than spicy means more people will buy it so much the better as this will definitely be a household staple and I want it to be popular enough to stick around!

http://www.traderjoes.com/digin/post/...

May 15, 2015
NuMystic in Chains
2

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - May 2015

That's the Swiss 72% Dark Chocolate and it is sublime. Glossier and creamier than any of the other darks available at TJ's.

The pound plus is a long time favorite for making my own confections but the Swiss 72% is always on hand for straight nibbling.

May 15, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015 [OLD]

One of the reasons trail mix and granola are so great as a topping is the textural crunch which these lack.

Perhaps if first crumbled and toasted but then we're again talking more trouble than it's worth with other topping options that are already crunchy to begin with.

Apr 25, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Best Vegetarian Pot Stickers / Dumplings / Gyoza you've had in Queens?

I did look at the menu John and saw the veggie pan fried there. Are you saying you haven't actually tried those in particular? As noted in the original post I'm not looking for steamed dumpling recommendations only fried.

Apr 25, 2015
NuMystic in Outer Boroughs

Best Vegetarian Pot Stickers / Dumplings / Gyoza you've had in Queens?

Thanks John. What kind of filling do they use? Are these standard pan friend pot stickers or is this one of the places that adds starch to the pan to create a crisp layer in the pan joining them together?

Apr 24, 2015
NuMystic in Outer Boroughs

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015 [OLD]

That was *exactly* our problem with the Trail Mix cookies. Not chewy, tough but not crisp. Seemed exactly like crunchy cookies that were left open for a few days. We're usually big fans of their plastic tub cookies (Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond and Dunkers are faves) but these were a nay for us due to the poor texture. Improved by heating in the toaster oven but not exciting enough for the extra effort.

Apr 24, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015 [OLD]

Oooh, that Babka Pie looks outrageous!

Another takeaway is that the one at Russ and Daughters is actually from Green's who also supply to Whole Foods, Fairway, and Zabar's.

It's not my favorite but now fans know they can get it from a great many more locations.

Apr 23, 2015
NuMystic in Chains
1

Best Vegetarian Pot Stickers / Dumplings / Gyoza you've had in Queens?

Looking to hear about your favorite fried vegetable dumplings. Bonus points for especially crispy ones or exceptional fillings.

Apr 23, 2015
NuMystic in Outer Boroughs

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015 [OLD]

Been enjoying the Maple Sunflower Seeds as a salad topper when dressing with only a drizzle of good balsamic, oil, and twist of tellicherry pepper. Adds a nice crunch and sweetness to balance the acid.

Apr 21, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Discontinued at Trader Joe's: January 2015 - June 2015

The nutritional panel shows that each serving has double the grams of sugar per oz of the TJ's so the added sugar is most definitely not just staying in the jar. Like all root vegetables it draws a good amount of the liquid it sits in for any length of time. This is why we can do tea/herb/seasoning infusions via marinades and sugar is as readily absorbed as any other ingredient.

As for the Cinnamon, that's clearly stated right in the description on the Paisley Farms website. :)

"made with just the right hint of cinnamon"

We didn't find the TJ's "greasy" at all. Different strokes indeed. Up side is that this is one item you won't be missing like the rest of us! :)

Apr 18, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Discontinued at Trader Joe's: January 2015 - June 2015

The Paisley Farms are packed with a TON of added sugar though and also add cinnamon so they're not a good substitute for those of us who enjoyed the TJ's specifically because they were in vinaigrette instead of sugar water.

Apr 18, 2015
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015 [OLD]

YAY - Crispy Crunchy Broccoli Florets

In the same vein as other freeze dried / dehydrated veggie snacks these are super light, ultra crispy, and not too salty with a solid broccoli flavor. A bit too oily for me to enjoy a whole back as a single serve snack but this is going to make an amazing soup/salad topper and unusual garnish item.

YAY - Rosemary & Thyme Maple Toffe Sunflower Seeds

Liked these even more than the seasonal spiced pumpkin seeds thanks the added herbal notes. Bit too sweet for a snack all on their own but like the above these will be a frequent salad and soup topper, as well as useful in desserts, breakfast/baked items and more. Will be a staple item for as long as it's available.

YAY - Mini Orange Cranberry Tea Scones (brown paper bagged in the bakery section with the similarly bagged cookies)

Not as much citrus punch as the seasonal mini packaged scone cookies but quite nice. Just the right amount of glaze and sweetness to foil the dry cake interior that is punctuated by pieces of dried cranberry. Generally prefer scones that are more dense and a touch less dry but these are still a guaranteed convenience repurchase.

Apr 15, 2015
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015 [OLD]

Regular only or is there a decaf?

Only instant I've found close to drinkable is Starbucks VIA (and even then just use it for quick iced coffee) but it's absurdly expensive. Would certainly be excited to find a decent alternative that's lighter on the wallet.

Apr 13, 2015
NuMystic in Chains