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Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

No offense intended. Was just a colorful turn of phrase phrase in response to a colorful post.

Glad we were able to clear up the confusion. ;)

Dec 24, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Been eyeing that Ginger Spice Cake for weeks. Right on to the shopping list it goes! ;)

Dec 24, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Best Seasonal/Holiday Trader Joe's Items.... for 2014

Our waistlines always "improve" by a good 2-3 inches around the holidays. :D

Dec 22, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

NAY - Beet Hummus

Being a lover of beets and hummus we had high hopes for this but were very disappointed. Because of the addition of vinegar in addition to the traditional lemon this tasted more like a pickled beet puree than hummus. Texture is watery, thin, and lacking the creaminess found in every other variety of hummus. Guess I'll try making my own with roasted beets.

Dec 22, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

If you don't piss them off that is. ;)

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

That's exactly what they're saying so I couldn't make heads or tails of what Greygarious was up in arms about. That Orangutans aren't found in Equador? That's the whole point. :)

And yes, I agree wholeheartedly with Russ that endangered species are only the tiniest part of what is wrong with Palm Oil. Unfortunately if you shop at TJ's it's almost unavoidable as it's found in a huge cross section of their items.

Watch HBO's Years of Living Dangerously with Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle, and Matt Damon and you'll never want to touch the stuff again.

We're not fanatical but given a choice we'll always take the option without it and would never buy it straight regardless of the source when there are so many healthy and more sustainable oils available.

Dec 22, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Another Nay on the ready to bake Gingerbread Cookie Dough.

I think the mixed messages on the spiciness has to do with the particular balance of the two being used.

Like economista I prefer my gingerbread confections darker but that's a matter of molasses not spice.

I also enjoy a more pronounced ginger flavor, for example found in the dark chocolate covered triple ginger cookies.

The problem with this cookie dough is there's WAY too much clove being used which is bitter on it's own and the only ginger in the recipe is ground ginger which compounds the issue further making the cookies unpleasantly bitter and astringent.

By contrast the triple ginger snaps balance the ground with fresh and crystallized ginger. If you've ever tasted straight ground ginger you know how bitter it is compared to the fruity heat of fresh or crystallized.

Which is to say I agree with you both! Not enough actual ginger flavor while far too heavy handed with the clove spice and ground ginger.

Dec 21, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Discontinued at Trader Joe's: July 2014-December 2014

Grrrrr. They're only stocking Roasted Almond butter now. Raw was my staple purchase. Looks like I'll be buying whole almonds in bulk after all. :(

If there are other fans of the Raw please be sure to email them at TraderJoes.com to let them know.

Dec 19, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

They source chocolate from a number of different vendors so it could very well be a different chocolate. Comparing the nutritional info panel is the best way to see if they're the same or not.

Dec 18, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Are you looking for dark or milk chocolate weezie?

If Dark both the chips and the 53% Pound Plus (Brown) are superb and a great value. Pound+ is $4.99. Been a while since I've used the chips so I don't recall the price.

Dec 17, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Thanks for sharing Dave! Sounds like it was just a matter of semantics. I agree that the 6 year has a very distinctive and complex character. It's also got more funk than even the oldest Cabots. Side by side I still find the 3 year Black Cabot a stronger flavored and sharper cheddar. The 6 year is definitely more unusual and unique for a cheddar albeit a bit more subtle so that's what I was thrown by the "not as flavorful" part.

Dec 17, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

The egg wash probably contributed to it browning faster than without.

While it lacks the the gloss, it browns beautifully without the wash and I recommend keeping it in until very dark like when making Kouign Amann.

First time I made this I had the same slightly doughy center by removing at the point I thought looked right.

Keeping it in until considerably darker without letting the edges burn yields a perfect chewy center without being doughy.

If you really like the gloss you could brush on the wash just a couple of minutes before it's done.

Dec 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

RE: "Cabot not making anything this flavorful", guessing you haven't tried their 3 year black label? As noted in an earlier report we thoroughly enjoyed the TJ's 6 Year as well but the 3 yr. black label Cabot is still our favorite extra sharp for it's unique umami finish. (it's also cheaper by the lb. than the 6 year when purchased at Costco)

Dec 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

I have not, are the bagged ones good?

Dec 16, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

I have some in my cabinet right now and don't care for them at all. While I like that they're slivered and in olive oil, they're clearly oven dried for too long. Dark brown rather than bright red and a distinct bitter flavor from being just shy of burnt.

Dec 14, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Wanted to follow up now that I've cracked a new bottle of the Kalamata EVOO and can confirm that the length of time from bottling is now showing. Still has a nice forward olive flavor but the peppery cough inducing phenols that connoisseurs seek indicating freshness that were so prominent only a few months ago are almost indiscernible at this point.

Of course for any who may have steered clear because they don't like that peppery finish, this is the perfect time to give the Kalamata a try. It's definitely smoothed out considerably now.

I'll finish this bottle but will return to the California Estate until I see the best buy date advance indicating that a more recent bottling of the Kalamata has arrived.

Dec 13, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

That was exactly my experience emily. Smelled lovely, but found the taste and texture lacking.

Dec 12, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Thanks! Often context really helps. Have loved the ones I've had elsewhere and made at at home as well but haven't tried the TJ's yet.

Dec 12, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Is this the first time you've ever had kale chips?

Dec 11, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Have never had any problem unscrewing them either. As weezie notes it unscrews where the plastic meets the jar. Whenever I'm down to my last bit in one grinder and buy a new one I unscrew both to combine.

My two favorite uses for self filled grinders are:

- Gomashio: Toasted sesame seeds and sea salt. Much more fragrant when you grind it fresh rather than using pre-ground.

- Crushed Red Pepper: Same kind you find in shakers in every pizza place. Nice to get a finer grind than the whole seeds and larger flakes.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

That was a good impersonation of me lingua! Which is to say I agree wholeheartedly. I also prefer Kalamata and the California Estate to the Spanish.

The Spanish is nice enough but nothing remarkable. It's a decent neutral olive oil I wouldn't mind using but isn't nearly as fresh or flavorful as the other two.

Always go out of my way to note that it's the commercial Spanish not the Organic when it comes up. I haven't tried the Organic myself but it's gotten very poor reviews from top tasters.

Keen to try the Tunisian now too. I'm extremely happy with the Kalamata and Estate oils but if an organic in an opaque container at that price can match their quality I might be a convert.

Dec 10, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Follow up on the Chocolate Ganache Danish.

In a surprisingly rare exception for this type of pastry, it's actually better at room temperature than heated.

When we had our first piece last night it was still hot from the toaster oven. Just tried it again without heating and it's notably improved with the subtle sweetness of the chocolate coming through which it oddly did not when heated.

The Almond is still markedly better in my opinion (and at a slightly cheaper price) but this is definitely not as underwhelming as I first thought. While it's not remarkable or remotely decadent it is an "adult" pastry for those who prefer their treats less sweet than most.

If you favor a flaky and crisp exterior just be sure to let it completely cool before serving.

Dec 10, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Just checked and the Estate is actually $3 cheaper by the bottle (5.99). With it's 500ml size that's only $3 more per liter than the Kalamata (9.99) and $2 more than the Tunisian (8.99). So not as huge a bargain but the freshness of the estate is remarkably consistent making it one of the best sub $15 per liter EVOOs I've tasted to date.

Dec 10, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

How else would you have them package three completely different flavors of hot chocolate in a tin?

The only thing I can even imagine would be three separate tins with three separate plastic bags in each. That would still require the exact same three clips if you're planning on sampling them all before finishing any of them.

If you just finish one before opening the next, you'll only need one clip. (just like if they were in their own separate tins) ;-)

Dec 09, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Nay - Crunchy Amaretti Tradizionale (packaged cookie aisle)
Beautiful presentation and absolutely love the aroma but wanted a lighter texture and more in the flavor department. Decent enough if you're really needing a fix but I've had others I enjoyed more than these.

Yay - Dark Chocolate Triple Ginger Cookies (packaged cookie aisle)
Not much more to add that hasn't already been said of these already. If you're a fan of bittersweet treats these will almost certainly satisfy. Those that are put off by the somewhat bitter notes that spice used in gingerbread/gingersnaps can impart should steer clear. My wife declared these "yet another variety of Trader Joe's crack".

Nay - Chocolate Ganache Danish Pastry
Being a huge fan of both chocolate and their Almond Danish this was a disappointment. The almond paste in the other imparts a sweetness missed here. Not bad but even being a major dark chocolate fan I found this to not be sweet enough and that's coming from someone who finds many TJ hits like the kringles cloying. If the sound of a very dark chocolate filled pastry with only the barest hint of sweetness sounds exciting then you may have found a perfect fit.

Meh - Inner Bean
Black bean spin on the Inner Peas / Snapea Crisps. If you're a fan of the latter you'll almost certainly enjoy these as well and if you're not there's nothing here that is likely to win you over. Almost identical in texture and saltiness with just a subtle difference flavor wise. A bit too oily a finish for me to enjoy much as a snack on it's own but they're going to make great croutons for salad.

Dec 09, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Sorry to hear about the downturn on the EVOO cayjohan. The oft recommended California Estate is superb if you haven't yet given it a try, and more recently I've been loving the Greek Kalamata which took top marks from Tom over at TruthInOliveOil.com.

Dec 09, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

It's true that most Dolmas are canned but these were the second worst I've had out of close to a dozen brands I've tried over the years.

Flavorless mush by comparison to the much better ones you can get cheap at any market that sells Greek or Middle Eastern staples.

My favorite store bought at the moment though are the refrigerated ones available at Costco which are absolutely fantastic served steamed that have tomato and red bell peppers added to the rice filling.

Dec 09, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Baked whole it will make for a beautiful holiday table dessert.

Dec 07, 2014
NuMystic in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

Needs to be left out at room temperature to rise for 8-9 hours before baking. Well worth it, I'll second Amy's Yay on this one.

Portioning Tip: Don't be put off by the large size. If you don't have use for the full ring at once this can be cut straight from the freezer without too much difficulty (chef's knife and oven mitt for hand cushioning did the trick) and the smaller portion proofed and baked just fine.

Very enjoyable. Would be thrilled if they offered this or another tart/sweet fruit filling in the smaller croissant size year round.

Dec 07, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

I know some folks were looking for it in previous months and I just found The Spice Route - 4 Exotic Flavor Experiences back on the shelves at our store.

Contains:
Ras el Hanout
Zhoug
Pilpelchuma (odd being that this is usually a paste/hot sauce)
Sumac

Dec 06, 2014
NuMystic in Chains
1