What’s new at Trader Joe’s? My honest feedback on the latest products from everybody’s favorite grocery store. I went back to TJs for the first time in a year, and here’s what I picked up ~ lots of new (or at least new to me) goodies I’ve just got to share!
To say I’ve missed it is such an understatement…I basically didn’t set foot in a Trader Joe’s for over a year, so on my first trip back my cart was definitely groaning. Now that I’m back I’ve got a lot of lost time to make up for…I’ll keep you posted! Here are my thoughts on a few of thing things I picked up for summer.
Dill Pickle Flavored Potato Chips
I have a little problem with chips, I can’t trust myself around them and my husband literally has to hide them from me (pathetic, but true.) So I’m more than happy to have an excuse to taste test this new flavor from TJs! They have a good crunchy texture that’s a little lighter than kettle chips, which I appreciate. And the novel flavor is fun to serve with barbecue or cocktails. I love the ‘dill pickle’ theme…have you tried my Dill Pickle Potato Salad?
The verdict: These are great! The ‘pickle’ flavor is authentic and natural tasting. The best part is lots of real dill. Now if I can just figure out where he hid them…
Black Summer Truffle Tomato Ketchup
I wanted to love this because we’re ketchup snobs in this house, we love to experiment with unusual flavors on our fries, baked zucchini sticks, meatloaf sandwiches, etc. But this one fell short of our expectations: it’s a little watery, without a bold flavor, truffle or otherwise. The biggest problem is that it’s way too sweet.
The verdict: I would pass on this, there are much better options out there ~ flavored ketchups are having a moment and you can find lots of choices in regular supermarkets. It’s a pretty jar, though, I’ll probably recycle it for a batch of my own jalapeño ketchup.
Cold Brew Coffee and Boba Non Dairy Frozen Dessert
They had me at cold brew and lost me at boba. The coffee ‘frozen dessert’ is lovely, and tastes just like ice cream to me, but don’t love the chewy balls getting in the way of my favorite flavor.
The verdict: if you’re ok with chewy stuff in your ice cream, and need non-dairy, then go for it, it’s refreshing and has a nice jolt of coffee flavor. Otherwise, try my black coffee ice cream.
I couldn’t grab this off the bakery table fast enough, doesn’t it sound so good? Before my first bite I’d already decided to try to do a version for the blog, so keep an eye out for it. I have to say, this lives up to its billing as a “twist on a buttermilk short stack, baked into a sweet moist loaf.” It’s super moist, with a really lovely soft texture and a hint of maple. It reminds me of my Amish Cinnamon Bread.
The verdict: this is definitely worth picking up, it’s unusual and very delicious. (It doesn’t exactly scream summer, but don’t let that stop you.) The ingredient list looks to be 100% natural, too.
Greek Chickpeas with Parsley and Cumin
Chickpeas in a tuna can? This is a little unexpected, but when I thought about it, a clever way of elevating a favorite plant protein and giving it a little gourmet flair. I wasn’t expecting the burst of flavor I got when I took a single bean on my fork for a taste, and I immediately started to think of ways to use these, from salads to hummus. I wonder if I could make chickpea burgers with them?
The verdict: I like them ~ they have a bold bright citrusy mediterranean flavor and they’re so firm I can’t believe they come from a can. If you love chickpeas, or Mediterranean recipes, these will come in handy. I might combine them with a can of tuna for lunch!
Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels
Some of TJs most popular items have the words pretzel, chocolate, and peanut butter in their names, so I had to try these. I wasn’t impressed. The chocolate is just meh. The pretzels and pb are sort of dry. They don’t even look that good (the photo on the package is appalling!)
The Verdict: these are a pass, they’re not worth the calories. If you love chocolate pretzels, try these.
How can I put this…when you see this on the shelf at Trader Joe’s, put your cart in reverse and wheel the other way! I sort of knew this was going to be bad, so I took the tiniest shard to taste, and the awful flavor is still lingering in my mouth as I write this. Don’t do it.
The Verdict: no.
Blood Orange and Orange Juice Seltzer Water
I adore blood oranges so couldn’t wait to try this. I drink at least a can of flavored fizzy water a day and am always looking to add to my variety of flavors. This one was a disappointment. The flavor and the water are both on the flat side.
The Verdict: there are so many better ones on the market, pass on this one.
I always keep lots of different vinegars on hand, and fruity vinegars are some of the best. In fact some of the very early recipes on my blog are for homemade fruit vinegars, like raspberry and blood orange (forgive the old photos.)
The Verdict: loved it! The flavor is pure natural raspberry and very intense. This is a must for fabulous summer dressings and it would make an amazing shrub cocktail.
Chile Lime Mayonnaise
This is pretty good. It’s got a nice strong kick of chipotle and a tang from the lime. The food blogger side of me says why buy it when it’s so easy to make yourself (stir up good mayo with fresh lime juice and chipotle pepper.) But the other side says this is (almost) as good and so much easier.
The Verdict: if you love this flavor profile it would be convenient to have in the fridge for deviled eggs, chicken salad, sandwiches, dipping French fries, and fried mushrooms, etc. I spread it over fish before broiling.
Bloody Mary Salsa
I’m a salsa lover from way back and even though I consider myself an expert in the subject, I’m also easy to please ~ I just love the stuff. This one is fine. It’s fresh tasting with a nice medium texture. What makes it ‘Bloody Mary’? I guess the Worcestershire sauce and horseradish in the ingredient list. Does it taste like a Bloody Mary? Not really, but that’s ok.
The Verdict: this is good as long as you’re not stuck on the Bloody Mary idea, which, btw I think I nailed in my Bloody Mary gazpacho (it could easily be turned into a salsa.)
Everything but the ELOTE Seasoning Blend
This is fun. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I touched my tongue to the little pile in my palm. It’s a vibrant mix of salt, sweet, heat, spice, and umami that definitely wakes up the palate. I could have used it when I made my Mexican Street Corn Potato Salad.
The Verdict: It deserves a spot in your pantry, it has a bright complex lineup of flavors and a very natural ingredient list (seasoning blends are usually so chemical heavy.) Would be fabulous on corn, or other summer veggies.
Questions and Reviews
I currently receive emails with your recipes. Is your free ebook something altogether different?
Yes, I make e books periodically and they are available to my subscribers. If you missed yours, I’ll send you the latest one now.
How marvelous to discover yummy new finds with you. We think TJ’s chocolate mint ice cream is award-winning and especially delicious served with your flourless chocolate cake. Thanks much.
I’ll try the ice cream Candace, I’m so glad to be back at TJs!
I agree on the chickpeas, but keep looking. Also in those tuna-sized cans you’ll find dolmas, eggplant with tomatoes & onions, and baked beans–the big ones, in a delicious sauce. I hadn’t been in TJs for over a year either, so I don’t know if they’re all new. Nonetheless, given that they all have pop-tops, they make for an easy picnic. Some bread & something to wash it all down and you’re good to go!
I’ll look for the others, it sounds like they’d make a fabulous Mediterranean picnic feast.
I will be so excited if you can recreate the pancake bread.
You and me both 🙂
Do try the new Grain Free Granola
It’s nice and crunchy and over TJs Greek yogurt makes an easy breakfast
Bonus It’s gluten free
I saw that but didn’t pick it up, next time!
Sue, please consider a recipe for a Bloody Mary Salsa based on your Gazpacho Soup!
lol good idea 🙂
Hi Sue, thanks for the post! Keeps me from wasting money on the duds! And I’m curious, what are your favorite fizzy, flavored waters? I’m always looking for a new one that is good, and many just aren’t! Right now, I’m loving La Croix LimonCello!
Thanks Lishcia ~ coincidentally I’m working on a review post all about naturally flavored sparkling waters, so you’ll get lots of info then, but as of right now I especially love Polar red grapefruit and the Spindrift flavors ~ I can’t believe all the different flavors that are coming out…I also love Polar cranberry lime:)
Thank you! I’ll look forward to your post!
I really enjoyed this! I used to go to TJ’s regularly when we lived in CT. Now, it is in Richmond, VA which is an hour away from where we live. I miss being able to go on a weekly basis. Your email of new and exciting items has me making my list for my next Richmond trip. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and look for it daily. I am an “experienced” cook and I’m always on the look out for new ingredients and new ideas for ho-hum recipes.
Thanks Susan! I’ve had moves where I’ve suddenly been out of TJs range and it’s always such a bummer. They do seem to be popping up everywhere these days, so there’s hope you’ll get one near you soon.
This was a super fun post to read! I am an occasional TJ’s shopper and I agree, it’s fun to try some of their always-changing snacky items. I would love it if you made this a regular feature – maybe once a season? Thanks for tasting watermelon jerky so we don’t have to!
Hey Amy, I do want to do this once a season, TJs has such creative products it makes it fun 🙂