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

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Dec 24, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

Trader Joes... Please, just ring up my groceries.

This week a cashier at TJ's swiped and bagged my groceries at least twice as fast as anyone ever has before. He was so fast something would go into the bag from the counter without me being able to tell what it was even though I was watching. It almost made me dizzy. He did a good job with the packing, too.

Turns out that he is also a bartender and is used to working fast with his hands.

Dec 23, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

Bugs in Rice-Is it still edible?

Yes, rinse and stir a few times. Boiling will sanitize it.

The weevils may have spread to other foods in your cupboard. Freeze any other grains, pastas, etc. that were near the rice.

Next time you buy rice from that store, put it in the freezer for a couple of days as soon as you get it home.

I found a piece of plastic in a bag of rice once. Think about where it's grown and how it is handled and shipped in bulk before bagging it for sale. I have read not to rinse rice because it washes away the vitamins but friends from countries like China and India say you must wash it because it is not clean. They are right.

Dec 22, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in General Topics

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

Unfortunately, selling "orangutan-safe" palm oil will increase the general demand for palm oil. Also, there are other environmental effects as the jungle is denuded to plant the palm plants.

Dec 22, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

Trader Joe's Olive Suggestions?

Just picked up a bottle of the picholine olives off the new item shelf this evening. Very good and reasonably priced at $1.99 for 6.8 oz. drained weight. Pits, though.

Dec 18, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

I use the 72% pound plus on those rare occasions I bake chocolate chip cookies, chopped so there is a variety of sizes. You could choose whichever type of chocolate you want. I don't think you can go wrong with the bars.

Dec 17, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

Trader Joe's Olive Suggestions?

I have only tried the lucques, because they are so acclaimed, in general, and I had never had them. They are different and very good.

Generally, I buy pitted olives elsewhere by the pound. I don't usually mind pits in cherries, peaches, etc., but the olives are so adhered to them that I prefer pitted.

Dec 15, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

More likely that the employee didn't have a clue or is trying to make it seem like it is not in their control. TJ's individual stores don't have to carry everything available to them.

I'm curious as to how would the team leader be familiar with it if it weren't available to them? Did he or she work for TJ's in a different region?

It is possible, though. I get cheese from a cheese shop that has surplus cheese from the wholesaler, at excellent prices. They have had Trader Joe's branded-cheese (goat mozzarella, shredded) as well as cheese that seems to be exactly what Trader Joe's sells but not branded, like the Huntsman. I'm not sure how it would end up there unless TJ's somehow uses the same cheese wholesaler or their supplier puts it there. If they use a wholesaler for a product, then it might not be available except regionally.

It doesn't seem like they would be seeking out products available only regionally, though. It is more likely that with items like baked goods that are regional they seek suppliers for a particular product.

Dec 15, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

Yes, try the seasonal Meyer lemons from TJ's, very sweet and juicy.

I think they were 5 for $1.99, which is inexpensive for around here.

Yay! for the Meyer lemons!

Oh, and I use the dolmas for a "snacky plate" with cheese and olives, etc., too.

Dec 08, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

Different places in different stores. In my store all the holiday cookies are over the frozen fruits and desserts by the checkout line so you have to pass by them. It's hard to find some of my usual stuff right now because they have moved it all around to accommodate the holiday items.

Unfortunately, it is hard to find any employee in my store who knows where anything is or even who is familiar with what I am looking for.

Dec 08, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

The dolmas I see at the deli or cheese shop are always out of a can, or a giant bucket, maybe. They certainly aren't rolling the rice up in leaves in the back!

Two of them added to a salad is nice. I have been keeping them on hand all of the time.

So, another YAY! here.

Dec 08, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

The secret - Outstanding at Applebees

Wow, all these zombie threads Chow has pulled back from the dead seem just as fresh as when they died.

The last time I ate at Applebees was in September 2001 in Florida with my great aunt and uncle and we went there because that's where they wanted to eat. I remember the waiter was probably a high school student and he had a good attitude but had not really been trained very well. The food was mostly frozen, nothing memorable or particularly good, but not so bad it couldn't be eaten. I don't remember what I had for dessert but it was something gloppy and too sweet with melting ice cream. The french fries were very undercooked in the middle although they did crisp them up on the outside as I requested.

I'm sure the mashed potatoes are not freshly made unless it says so on the menu. Any chain restaurant would brag about that in the description. Idahoan brand instant mashed potatoes are not bad at all for camping, especially with lots of oil or butter and cheese.

Certainly the ability of the kitchen in a chain restaurant makes a huge difference in the quality of the food. Even frozen stuff has to be prepared and presented properly.

Dec 07, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

Another "Yay!" here for the amaretti. I got those based on your recommendation and agree, they have a nice flavor and texture. I could do without the sprinkles on top, though!

Dec 05, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

I think it depends on WHY it is a "nay" and what else they have to say about it. That's why just nay, meh, or yay is not very helpful.

For instance, pumpkin anything gets at best a meh from me, yet the vast majority of people love the pumpkin stuff.

Someone gave the mushroom lasagna a "nay" and for the exact same reasons they didn't like it (too rich), I enjoyed it and have bought it again!

Dec 05, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains
1

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

I don't think anyone has reported a 0.5 kg bar stamped with "Callebaut," but if the pack of three bars is so stamped and is exactly the same chocolate as in the 0.5 kg bar, then I would consider that evidence.

Dec 05, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

I am not saying none of the chocolate is from Callebaut, just that I have never seen any real evidence that the 0.5 kg bar is Callebaut, just repeated hearsay that it is, and that the description of the location as being in a small town outside of Antwerp makes no sense as they are much closer to Brussels or Ghent.

Caitlin said the triple pack of small bars said Callebaut on them. I can't even find evidence of that Callebaut makes a 0.5 kg bar, not that they couldn't make one for TJ's anyway.

Caitlin, would you take a photo of the front and back of the Callebaut next time you are at that store?

Dec 05, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

Sounds like a recipe that couldn't go wrong.

I wonder how it would be using the chocolate babka instead of whole wheat bread? Can't help but think about that. . .

Dec 04, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

YAY! for the Dark Chocolate Triple Ginger Cookies. They aren't overwhelmingly gingery and the balance with the chocolate is good. The chocolate itself doesn't taste icky like some coatings do.

Dec 04, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

I saw the chocolate ganache ring tonight. It had chips on top like that but zero anything oozing out. I even turned it upside down looking for deliciousness. I put it back and got a couple of kinds of cookies instead.

Dec 04, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

I don't know for sure, but it is fun to speculate and here are some of my thoughts:

That location is much closer to Brussels or even Ghent than Antwerp. A small town outside of Antwerp would better describe the location of this company, for one example: http://www.thechocolateline.be/the_ch...

Callebaut is not what I think of as an "artisan chocolatier" but they could still call it that and whoever makes TJ's chocolate must have a huge capacity so probably wouldn't qualify as "artisan" in my mind, anyway.

It is very possible that it is just picked up and repeated that it is Callebaut. I don't know of any source that says that the 0.5 kg bar of chocolate is very similar to any Callebaut chocolate or that TJ's suddenly changed labels like they did with the Double Rainbow ice cream. It is all just hearsay.

Callebaut could make some products and not others. I am 99% sure those big shards they used to sell were Valrhona, it said so on the chocolate, but I may be misremembering. TJ's and the parent company Aldi Nord use multiple sources and they will change for a cheaper or better source.

Dec 04, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

Another YAY! for the Amaretti in a box--thank you for your recommendation. I picked them up tonight and they are very good, nice flavor and texture.

There were 13 in my box, individually wrapped in plastic and then in the twist of paper.

Nice for stocking stuffers and to take to the office, too.

Dec 04, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

Very strange. I have never had this but the package photo I found definitely says "breasts." (plural)

Does it cost $5.99 at your store?

Maybe that explains why you had so many mashed potatoes. . .

Dec 04, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains
1

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

Can't upload two photos to one post!

Dec 04, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains
1

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

3 oz. of chicken is considered a serving officially and per the nutrition label it has 21g of protein per serving, so that is about right.

But that box looks like it is intended for one person as it contains 1 chicken breast, correct?

The two servings have 98% of the RDA for fat and 150% of the RDA for saturated fat plus 1500mg of sodium, IF you trust the label.

Looks tasty, but maybe not the best choice nutrition-wise.

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

Oh I think NuMystic was talking about this one, not the almond kringle.

Dec 03, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

I'm not so sure it actually is Callebaut, although that is the rumor.

TJ's says, "Our supplier is a well-known artisan confectioner in a small-town just outside of Antwerp, Belgium." That really doesn't describe Callebaut.

They used to sell random chunks of giant bars individually wrapped in film and weighed. I think those were Valrhona, if I am remembering correctly. The quality was much better than the 0.5 kg bars.

Dec 03, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

It's a good babka except that it almost has too much chocolate.

I do the same thing, try to slice off a thin piece and then end up eating more than I would if I just cut a regular piece.

I have had to put the babka on my "special occasion only" list because it disappears in two days. I may buy one and slice and freeze it. That has worked well for keeping me from devouring the kringle.

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

Oh my goodness.

I don't even see that on the O. H. Danish Bakery website. TJ's must have made a special request.

Oh my goodness.

Dec 03, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains

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

Vote for your favorite products:

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

Chick-Fil-A Anonymous

Chowhound started displaying random old threads next to the current ones so you can hardly blame someone for posting on them. It certainly was a wacky thing for them to do.

Dec 01, 2014
RussTheRaccoon in Chains