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Trader Joe's - I don't get it

Trader Joe's - I don't get it
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  • Post #181 - August 17th, 2011, 8:18 am
    Post #181 - August 17th, 2011, 8:18 am Post #181 - August 17th, 2011, 8:18 am
    A veritable Asian explosion at the Oak Park Trader Joe's: BBQ Pork Bao, Beef Pho, Green Papaya Salad, Tom Yum Soup, all in the frozen aisle.
  • Post #182 - August 17th, 2011, 11:05 am
    Post #182 - August 17th, 2011, 11:05 am Post #182 - August 17th, 2011, 11:05 am
    The bao are pretty disgusting, imo. From what I know of their other Asian inspired frozen choices, I would not expect any better from pho,papaya salad, or tom yum, either. Frozen chicken gyoza, and those mini cilantro chicken wontons are a staple over here. Stir fry night just isn't the same without 'em.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #183 - August 17th, 2011, 1:17 pm
    Post #183 - August 17th, 2011, 1:17 pm Post #183 - August 17th, 2011, 1:17 pm
    I might give them a shot, I saw an online review of the pho which had a decent review, so it might be worth stashing some in the freezer for cold nights.

    TJ's also had a recent addition of some new frozen Indian items, of which I've tried a couple. There's a paneer palak (cheese cubes with spinach) which was excellent & I've been buying regularly, as well as channa masala (curried chickpeas) which was good, if a bit undercooked for my taste (I like my channa softer). There was also a paneer masala & a chicken tikka masala with rice, & maybe one or tow other things. I noticed that all the items are made in Canada - have to wonder who the producer.
  • Post #184 - August 17th, 2011, 2:28 pm
    Post #184 - August 17th, 2011, 2:28 pm Post #184 - August 17th, 2011, 2:28 pm
    Oh, they had bibimbap, too.
  • Post #185 - September 20th, 2011, 5:51 pm
    Post #185 - September 20th, 2011, 5:51 pm Post #185 - September 20th, 2011, 5:51 pm
    New to the forum. I have been lurking around reading for a while so I decided to join a couple of weeks back and I have been reading through some of the longest threads on here that interest me because I have time to kill.

    Anyhoo, just finished this thread and I could not help but notice that no one has mentioned the Tofurkey sausages from TJs. They convey a nice sausage like product with a little spice for kicks and Mr. KajmacJohnson and I adore them to pieces. We don't go to TJs often and we don't buy much but that is always a must when we do go.
  • Post #186 - September 21st, 2011, 8:51 am
    Post #186 - September 21st, 2011, 8:51 am Post #186 - September 21st, 2011, 8:51 am
    seebee wrote:The bao are pretty disgusting, imo. From what I know of their other Asian inspired frozen choices, I would not expect any better from pho,papaya salad, or tom yum, either. Frozen chicken gyoza, and those mini cilantro chicken wontons are a staple over here. Stir fry night just isn't the same without 'em.

    I totally agree re. the dumplings - dense, chewy and unpleasant. However, I've heard okay reviews about the pho, and my wife said the tom yum isn't bad for frozen. The gyoza, wontons, and those lemongrass chicken sticks, however:
    Image
  • Post #187 - September 21st, 2011, 10:06 am
    Post #187 - September 21st, 2011, 10:06 am Post #187 - September 21st, 2011, 10:06 am
    I used to be on board with the lemongrass AND the cocnut curry chicken stix. About 6 months ago, recipe changed. I liked them far more before. They are more salty, and insides are mushier now. I gave up on them. Chicken Gyoza and mini cilantro chicken wontons are still worthy of a Homer drool tho.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #188 - September 21st, 2011, 11:04 am
    Post #188 - September 21st, 2011, 11:04 am Post #188 - September 21st, 2011, 11:04 am
    seebee wrote:I used to be on board with the lemongrass AND the cocnut curry chicken stix. About 6 months ago, recipe changed. I liked them far more before. They are more salty, and insides are mushier now. I gave up on them.

    It's been about that long since I had them - that really sucks, they were our go-to for giving a stirfry dinner some much-needed crunch.
  • Post #189 - September 22nd, 2011, 3:23 pm
    Post #189 - September 22nd, 2011, 3:23 pm Post #189 - September 22nd, 2011, 3:23 pm
    TJ's frozen pad thai is decent, although a bit too sweet.
  • Post #190 - September 26th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    Post #190 - September 26th, 2011, 4:37 pm Post #190 - September 26th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    seebee wrote:
    Suzy Creamcheese wrote:Also, FYI: the delicious maple cream cookies are available at Aldi for about half the price of TJ's. Same thing, different package.

    Is there a list somewhere of other items like this? Same products at both stores?

    Since products change at Aldi even faster than they do at TJs, it would be a short list.

    But some of the Aldi items I've tried and can confirm are the same product sold at TJs are the Season's Choice frozen green beans, the Chef's Cupboard chicken/beef broths and butternut squash soup, and numerous candies with the Route 1 label. You will occasionally see Grandessa Signature "Limited Availability" products that are the same product sold at TJs -- hummus and peanut butter were the most recent examples -- but they come and go quickly.

    Most of the above Aldi products are priced 30-50% less than their TJs counterpart, the exception being the green beans which is about 20% less.

    One thing I've noticed is that these products, particularly the limited-availability ones, seem to be more readily available the closer the store is to Aldi's US headquarters in Batavia.
  • Post #191 - October 19th, 2011, 1:23 pm
    Post #191 - October 19th, 2011, 1:23 pm Post #191 - October 19th, 2011, 1:23 pm
    Recently went back to TJ's and tried a couple of things new to us. The mushroom ravioli in the frozen section (so easy to prepare), the soy chorizo (actually very tasty) and the fig butter are all new favorites in the KajmacJohnson household.
  • Post #192 - October 19th, 2011, 3:08 pm
    Post #192 - October 19th, 2011, 3:08 pm Post #192 - October 19th, 2011, 3:08 pm
    Just saw at Aldi yesterday: dark-chocolate-covered cherries and cranberries with the Route 1 label. It's the same product that is sold at TJs, but at $2.99, it's 35% less expensive...
  • Post #193 - October 23rd, 2011, 1:16 pm
    Post #193 - October 23rd, 2011, 1:16 pm Post #193 - October 23rd, 2011, 1:16 pm
    Today I visited my new TJ's on Wabash - much less crazy than the one on Lincoln. Sadly, though, the only full-fat yogurt they had was flavored. I need plain! Why is it so hard to find these days?
    As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
  • Post #194 - October 23rd, 2011, 1:26 pm
    Post #194 - October 23rd, 2011, 1:26 pm Post #194 - October 23rd, 2011, 1:26 pm
    Suzy Creamcheese wrote:Today I visited my new TJ's on Wabash - much less crazy than the one on Lincoln. Sadly, though, the only full-fat yogurt they had was flavored. I need plain! Why is it so hard to find these days?


    i'm shopping there now, as well. i'm pretty sure they sell full fat plain fage yogurt. maybe they were just out, did you ask??? btw, i recently found something at TJ's that i really like- they have the absolute best tasting marinated artichokes in glass jars i've ever had. freshest flavor, not greasy. justjoan
  • Post #195 - October 23rd, 2011, 2:36 pm
    Post #195 - October 23rd, 2011, 2:36 pm Post #195 - October 23rd, 2011, 2:36 pm
    Hi- I am pretty sure that both Dominick's and Jewel sell Dannon whole fat plain yogurt, and Whole Foods sells a bunch of brands of whole fat plain yogurt, including Stonyfield Farm. The problem is that a lot of the full fat plain yogurt only comes in quart containers. I buy the fat free plain yogurt in quart containers occasionally, and sometimes either the store does not carry it, as in Dominick's or Jewel or they are out of it, and only have the full fat yogurt. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #196 - October 23rd, 2011, 6:46 pm
    Post #196 - October 23rd, 2011, 6:46 pm Post #196 - October 23rd, 2011, 6:46 pm
    They definitely didn't have full-fat Greek yogurt today, very disappointing because that's what I specifically wanted. I didn't think to ask due to a sense of fatalism about the whole thing.

    My old Dominick's didn't have full-fat yogurt at all, aside from YoBaby (which is why I'm searching for full-fat plain - the kid eats two of those things a day, not cheap). Perhaps my new one will if I ever get around to going there.
    As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
  • Post #197 - October 24th, 2011, 8:26 pm
    Post #197 - October 24th, 2011, 8:26 pm Post #197 - October 24th, 2011, 8:26 pm
    justjoan wrote:
    Suzy Creamcheese wrote:Today I visited my new TJ's on Wabash - much less crazy than the one on Lincoln. Sadly, though, the only full-fat yogurt they had was flavored. I need plain! Why is it so hard to find these days?


    i'm shopping there now, as well. i'm pretty sure they sell full fat plain fage yogurt. maybe they were just out, did you ask???

    That's my TJ, too. (Though where's the bike parking?) I checked tonight--there should be TJ brand plain full fat yogurt, but they were out. I didn't see any tag on the shelf for full fat Fage, only 2% and no-fat.
  • Post #198 - October 26th, 2011, 10:11 pm
    Post #198 - October 26th, 2011, 10:11 pm Post #198 - October 26th, 2011, 10:11 pm
    What about Wholefoods' house brand of whole milk yoghurt?

    As for TJ's staples: dried mango (unsulfured, unsweetened) is basically retzie-crack. Living (as I unfortunately did) in a TJ-less state, I discovered that any similar product is prohibitively expensive and difficult to find elsewhere. I'm also a big fan of the flattened banana and can't go past their cereal collection (house brand or otherwise). TJ's Just the Clusters cashew, almond and ginger has launched several thousand ships. The high lycopene tomatos are also very tasty, but availability is currently patchy (I don't know if it's the season, or just the Clybourn store).
  • Post #199 - November 14th, 2011, 2:25 pm
    Post #199 - November 14th, 2011, 2:25 pm Post #199 - November 14th, 2011, 2:25 pm
    Definately want to get back to Tjs and get some more soy chorizo. Has anyone bought the soy chorizo and used it in anything else besides alongside eggs for breakfast?
  • Post #200 - November 14th, 2011, 3:05 pm
    Post #200 - November 14th, 2011, 3:05 pm Post #200 - November 14th, 2011, 3:05 pm
    Suzy Creamcheese wrote:They definitely didn't have full-fat Greek yogurt today, very disappointing because that's what I specifically wanted. I didn't think to ask due to a sense of fatalism about the whole thing.

    My old Dominick's didn't have full-fat yogurt at all, aside from YoBaby (which is why I'm searching for full-fat plain - the kid eats two of those things a day, not cheap). Perhaps my new one will if I ever get around to going there.

    Its worth asking the TJ's service desk on which days things like this get delivered so you don't waste a trip. They are also very helpful at checking if things are in stock if you call before heading over.
  • Post #201 - November 14th, 2011, 4:19 pm
    Post #201 - November 14th, 2011, 4:19 pm Post #201 - November 14th, 2011, 4:19 pm
    KajmacJohnson wrote:Definately want to get back to Tjs and get some more soy chorizo. Has anyone bought the soy chorizo and used it in anything else besides alongside eggs for breakfast?

    I use the soyrizo to make spicy tofu scramble inspired by the now closed Vella Cafe. I think it's suitable for any meal of the day.
  • Post #202 - November 14th, 2011, 8:36 pm
    Post #202 - November 14th, 2011, 8:36 pm Post #202 - November 14th, 2011, 8:36 pm
    KajmacJohnson wrote:Definately want to get back to Tjs and get some more soy chorizo. Has anyone bought the soy chorizo and used it in anything else besides alongside eggs for breakfast?


    I used it for a taco pie.
    As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
  • Post #203 - November 14th, 2011, 9:03 pm
    Post #203 - November 14th, 2011, 9:03 pm Post #203 - November 14th, 2011, 9:03 pm
    Tacos filled with soy chorizo & potatoes.
  • Post #204 - November 27th, 2011, 12:23 pm
    Post #204 - November 27th, 2011, 12:23 pm Post #204 - November 27th, 2011, 12:23 pm
    Hi- I made a rare stop at Trader Joe's last Sunday, since I was in Glenview anyway. I never see what people get excited about. I think all I spent was a little over $13. The chicken sausage was okay, but not great. The $1.99 orange juice was just okay too. The guiltfree frozen pizza, was still cold when I took it out of the oven after the max time it was supposed to be in. The pizza I will never buy again. The Trader Joe's low far eggnog was semi awful, and I am definitely never buying it again. I love Horizon eggnog, and this was not nearly as good. It kind of had a chalky taste to it, and it had very little or no cinnamon. Horizon has a definite cinnamon and vanilla presence. I just tried Oberweiss eggnog recently, and it was also very good, but they don't make a low fat eggnog, and it was a little too rich for me, and a quart of it lasted me a week.

    The only purchase that I had luck with were the coffee filters. This is why I only stop in Trader Joe's when I am in the neighborhood. I was hoping to get some Ghiardelli hot cocoa mix there, but all they had was there own hot cocoa for $4.99 for a can that made 12 servings. I decided it was too expensive for something that I have never tried before. One thing I was going to get there, and forgot to was some peanut butter. Is the peanut butter any good there? I love Whole Foods 365 peanut butter. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #205 - November 27th, 2011, 2:08 pm
    Post #205 - November 27th, 2011, 2:08 pm Post #205 - November 27th, 2011, 2:08 pm
    NFriday wrote:The guiltfree frozen pizza, was still cold when I took it out of the oven after the max time it was supposed to be in. The pizza I will never buy again.


    I get the whole "Trade Joe's is polarizing" argument. I don't get the exasperation of some reactions though. It's essentially an upscale Aldi's so anyone expecting something magical will be disappointed. Having said that I shop there often and am generally pleased with the quality of items I purchase. However, "pizza was cold" is not very helpful. You can say it tasted bad or the ingredients were of poor quality but "the time listed in the directions wasn't long enough" is a questionable defect.
  • Post #206 - November 27th, 2011, 2:56 pm
    Post #206 - November 27th, 2011, 2:56 pm Post #206 - November 27th, 2011, 2:56 pm
    Hi- If they finally opened up a Trader Joe's in Evanston, which they have been talking about for 3-4 years, then I might go more often. There have been a few times there, where I have gotten some decent frozen stuff. I think one of the things that I enjoyed there a few years ago was potstickers. It is not worth my while to make a special trip from Evanston to Glenview just to shop there. Somebody in my condo building loves the place though, and does make a special trip there.

    I am not into a lot of cookies, candy and chips, and I love to cook, so I don't think I am their target audience. I do go into Aldi's every once in a while, and the person that I give a ride to there spends $40 every time she goes to Aldi's, and the last time I went there, all I bought was a tub of margarine for $1, and a bag of sugar.

    I did buy some Parmesan cheese Aldi's had as a special buy which was good, and a bottle of olive oil that was not bad. I also sometimes get milk at Aldi's too, as well as cottage cheese and some fantastic fruit buys. They sometimes have fresh Dole pineapple on sale for $1.

    I don't care for Trader Joe's produce section. I think the quality of their produce is subpar and expensive. The pizza would have been subpar even if I would have heated it up some more. The only thing that I absolutely hated that I got there last week was the eggnog. I am going back to horizon at Whole Food's. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #207 - November 28th, 2011, 2:53 pm
    Post #207 - November 28th, 2011, 2:53 pm Post #207 - November 28th, 2011, 2:53 pm
    If you hate something, return it. Not kidding. I told the guy at the checkout I was nervous about an item, and he said "if you hate it, bring it back, no questions asked."
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #208 - November 28th, 2011, 4:42 pm
    Post #208 - November 28th, 2011, 4:42 pm Post #208 - November 28th, 2011, 4:42 pm
    leek wrote:If you hate something, return it. Not kidding. I told the guy at the checkout I was nervous about an item, and he said "if you hate it, bring it back, no questions asked."


    And they told me that if I ever wanted to try something before buying it, just take it over to the sample counter. I don't know if they'd fix a frozen item, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
  • Post #209 - November 28th, 2011, 7:19 pm
    Post #209 - November 28th, 2011, 7:19 pm Post #209 - November 28th, 2011, 7:19 pm
    Dang, I should have brought back the rubber-and-water "eggplant parmigiana".
    As a mattra-fact, Pie Face, you are beginning to look almost human. - Barbara Bennett
  • Post #210 - November 29th, 2011, 5:52 pm
    Post #210 - November 29th, 2011, 5:52 pm Post #210 - November 29th, 2011, 5:52 pm
    I have been shopping at the Lincoln Avenue store since they opened a few years back, and if I definitively agree that consistency in either quality, availability, stocking, or even selection of products is not their best selling point, I still think that they offer one of the best price-quality ratio for many original grocery and beverage products in the whole U.S. marketplace .
    It is also true that quite often after you get used to a certain product that you really like, it suddenly disappears without warning from the shelves and never comes back. The main reason might be that when TJ's cannot obtain a decent low price for such a product from their supplier anymore, they either drop it or find another supplier that will offer an inferior quality similar product for the same price. This is sort of a carbon copy of the policy followed, I believe, by their parent company: Aldi.

    Nevertheless I have established a (limited) list of a few good but cheaply priced products that I keep buying at TJ's:

    Their organic free-range chicken.
    Their butters, including the light Belgian one, Ballade
    Many of their wines. They probably offer the largest choice of decent wines under 10 dollars, especially the French and some Italians.
    Their herbs and some condiments
    The French Dijon mustard
    The French cornichons
    The Greek 100 Kalamata Extra Virgin olive oil ( that has a date engraved on the neck of the bottle allowing you to calculate its freshness)
    The organic spaghetti
    The garlic and basil pasta
    The frozen Tarte Alsacienne
    The frozen chicken and cilantro won-tons
    The organic Basmati rice
    The TJ California Style complete protein bread (in a plastic bag)
    The Jarlsberg cheese
    The Le Rustique camembert during the holidays
    The reduced guilt potato chips
    Multiple-grain crackers
    Coffee filters
    The artichoke hearts from Peru in either jars or cans
    The TJ spring water in small bottles
    The fresh garlic
    the Italian pesto sauce in a glass jar
    The Chianti-flavored dry sausage
    The truffled chicken liver mousse from The 3 little pigs
    The Dutch chocolate mix for Brownies
    The Belgian dark (72% cocoa) chocolate chocolate bars
    The frozen French dark chocolate mousse cake when available
    The frozen French "Buche de Noel" around Christmas time
    The French Verveine-citron bar of soap
    The TJ peppermint toothpaste
    The nourish spa shampoo
    The dishwashing powder
    Some vitamins and supplements
    Some organic apples when they are domestically grown at harvest time

    After a few bad experiences I stay away from red meats, most cheeses, most packaged vegetables, and frozen fish and shellfish

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