TJ's finds

Everyone here probably already knows that Trader Joe’s brands, much like its estranged sibling store, Aldi, are often direct responses to (or sometimes just rebranded) name-brand products.

Ex: Trader Joe’s organic Mac & Cheese (to me) looks and tastes identical to Annie’s. I would be utterly unsurprised to learn it’s a rebrand of the same product from the same factory line.

There are some that even surpass what they’re imitating. The White Cheddar corn puffs easily triumph over the name-brand Pirate Booty.

Their almond biscotti (with or w/o a chocolate dipped bottom) are crunchy and sweet and have that delicious almond-extract heavy flavor that I happen to really like.

Everyone knows about the chocolate covered almonds.

Their frozen potstickers are surprisingly good. Ditto the frozen fried chicken tenders (sometimes convenience triumphs). In fact, I’d say MOST of TJ’s frozen goods, from ice cream to prepared foods, are a significant cut above average.

My partner is a huge fan of their greek yogurt and their XXXX Walks Into A Bar cereal/fruit bars, which she swears by for roadtrips / camping / survey work.

I was also fascinated to find a new (to me) item at a TJ’s in Illinois last week: “Aussie-style sandwich cookies” i.e. TJ’s version of TimTams!

Chocolate cookies with a thin filling of chocolate creme, coated in milk chocolate. They are more or less identical in taste and texture with your basic chocolate TimTam. Of course the real test is whether they perform the TimTamSlam properly. To do so, bite a small corner off opposite endes of a cookie, exposing the bare cookie from under the chocolate. Dip one end into hot tea. Suck the tea through the cookie like a straw. As soon as your tongue feels warm, stuff the cookie into your gob. The result of melted chocolate and bits of crisp-but-dissolving cookie is just the thing for eating one’s feelings when confronted with family, as I was. The cookies performed. They will go on the regular list of “stuff to grab when I happen to hit TJ’s”.

Now if they’ll just expand to a dark chocolate/salted caramel version…

What are YOUR favorites?

(I don’t drink, but I’m told their wine has an amazing PQR.)


There’s an ongoing topic about TJs you might want to read if you’re not familiar with it.

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I thought there would be, but couldn’t find it. Thank you!!!

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