Okay, I will admit that I was one of those people that thought Trader Joe’s was all hype. For years, I refused to believe that their frozen foods and snacks could really be that much better than the stuff I get from other grocery stores. Prior to my first real shopping experience here, I had made random trips to the Raleigh Trader Joe’s to pick up some last minute snacks for a work gathering but that usually consisted of some type of chips and/or sea salt brownies…. so I don’t count those occasions. I’ve never had a TJs that was within 10 miles of my residence, so the convenience factor just wasn’t there for me.
Well friends, on December 21st, 2020 (aka my birthday) I took the day off work and finally got a chance to purchase some of the products that I’ve seen people talk about for years. At first, I was really overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle inside the store because it seemed like everybody was rushing, which makes sense because nobody really wants to be surrounded by people during a pandemy. I had a long list in my phone notes to make sure I didn’t forget anything, but wandering around a store that you aren’t familiar with is never fun; luckily, their employees were angles and helped me find everything that I was looking for.
Without further ado, here are my reviews of the products pictured in the feature image of this blog. I will give each product a must buy, meh, or pass based on my opinion. I hope I don’t hurt anybody’s feeling with my critiques…I know how people get about TJs lol.
Jicama wraps- Must buy! The jicama wraps were such a good alternative for tortillas and/or lettuce. I used these for tacos and Asian “lettuce” wraps multiple times. I got feedback that they go bad quickly, but I was able to use them all before that happened.
Folio cheese wraps- Meh! I wasn’t a huge fan of these wraps in Parmesan, but I later tried the cheddar version and loved it! The only issue is that you have to use cold food or wait until the food cools so that it doesn’t melt the cheese.
Cauliflower crust cheese pizza- Must buy! I really ended up kicking myself for not buying more than one of these pizzas. I dressed this plain pizza up with peppers, sausage, onions, and crushed red peppers….BOMB!
Carne asada- Sooo I actually don’t know what to say about this because I don’t think I cooked it correctly. The taste was good, but I wasn’t a fan of the texture. I think I need to look up the correct way to cook carne asada.
TJ chicken sausages (Andouille and Spicy Italian)- Must buy! These chicken sausages were AMAZING….like I have to buy these every time I go. I used the spicy Italian sausages with the spinach ravioli and the andouille sausage in gumbo; the flavor and texture are perfect to me.
Shrimp burger- Meh! These were just okay to me. There wasn’t anything spectacular about these burgers to me.
Ricotta and spinach filled ravioli- Must buy! This ravioli was surprisingly delicious! I didn’t know what to expect from the chunks of frozen sauce, but it tasted great with the staple Italian seasoning added to it.
Cauliflower Gnocchi- PASS! I’m so sorry, but I hated the taste and texture of this gnocchi. I actually threw them away because I couldn’t even force myself to east them.
Mexican Style roasted corn with cotija cheese- Must buy! I really enjoyed this because it made me feel like I was at a Mexican restaurant eating street corn. I definitely want to keep a bag of this in my freezer.
Mandarin orange chicken- PASS! I had really high hope for this because I’ve heard great things about the orange chicken. Sadly, I was not a fan of it at all. It didn’t taste like real chicken at all, just breading with sauce on it.
Unexpected cheddar cheese- Must buy! I thought this cheese was going to be all hype, but it is actually an exceptional cheddar cheese. I love adding this to my scrambled eggs.
Pork belly- Hmmmmm so I really enjoyed this in the ramen I made, but I think I would only buy this for special occasions. It was delicious, but I’ve never gotten pork belly from any other grocery store so I have nothing to compare it to.
Seafood blend- Must buy! I was worried about the size of the seafood because the pieces seemed very tiny, but it went great in a cajun seafood pasta.
Jerk-style plantain chips- Must buy! Warning, these chips are dangerously delicious. If you’re not a fan of spicy, then you should probably not buy these…but if you are, then you need to try these ships ASAP!
Rosewater facial toner- Must buy! I have actually been buying those rose water off Amazon for my hair, but I should have been getting them cheaper in the store. This spray is great for hair and skin hydration.
Hand sanitizer spray- Must buy! I am a huge fan of the size and bottle of this hand sanitizer. This makes it much easier to sanitize my son’s hands on the go.
I am always looking for more Trader Joe’s recommendations so please send me some more TJ products that you swear by so I can try them. I hope my reviews don’t hurt too many feelings!
One thought on “My first Trader Joe’s experience”
Totally agree unexpected cheddar is worth the hype!! Try the blueberry vanilla chèvre if you want a sweet cheese. We love their gnocchi in Gorgonzola (but we also love their cauliflower gnocchi and the orange chicken 😝)!