Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top 10: Fab and Meh at Trader Joe's these days

FAB: 1. Wild arugala - in the bagged salad section. If you're in the Bay Area, give it a try. Wherever they're sourcing this, it's really good. It's not for you if you're into really spicy, stand-on-its-own arugala. This is a little more gentle than other arugala out there. But it's still got that distinct slightly peppery, herbal flavor. I had it paired with their yogurt cheese as a salad, with garbanzo beans and vinaigrette. Perfect.

2. Greek nonfat plain yogurt. Janny Hu delivered the good news-- TJ's nonfat Greek yogurt was deemed #1 by Bay Area food pros so I gave it a try. They didn't lie-- that was some creamy rich nonfat yogurt. Pair it with honey (locals, Terra Bella has some really lovely local honey) and granola- I could snack on this all day.

3. Frozen organic brown rice. Packets of 3, 3 minutes in the microwave, perfect. I don't mind making rice but when little kids are hungry NOW NOW NOW, this is so easy.

4. Roasted seaweed. Surprise!!! It is so good. And so cheap- 99 cents. But my kids could probably finish an entire package of it if I let them. It's super crisp, a tad bit salty, and so healthy. It's with the other snacks (popped popcorn, wasabi peas, etc.).

5. Chocolate oat cookies. These are A-mazing. They're 1.99 and I think pretty much the best cookie there. They're kind of hidden among the 52,935 other kinds of cookies and sweets lining the frozen aisle. But it is well worth seeking these little guys out. They're small and they are quality.


1. The spreadable blue cheese. I was excited by the possibilities they listed-- on pasta! on toast! on eggs! But it just kind of tastes wrong to me. Blue cheese is strong, yes, but this tastes strong in a flat way, not in a nuanced oh-look-at-all-the-flavors way, which is what I think strong cheese should offer. I can't get into it.

2. Raw milk cheddar. I was so excited to have a raw milk cheese option, especially after tasting some terrific ones at the various cheese shops in Berkeley (including the famous CheeseBoard). But those are carefully tended after and loved, and this was ... well... flavor-free.

3. Strawberry Joe's Os. Paloma was all excited about this because the box was pink and strawberries were all over and there were pink yogurt (aka sugar) chunks. It's an ok cereal. But a little more sugar-coated than I'd wanted. The freeze dried strawberry pieces are actually good. But in milk, this soggifies up so fast. Meh.

4. The box cake mixes. If you are looking for a sugar coma NOW, fix one of these. They are so sugary. It's not delicious. Same deal for instant puddings. (I know, how embarrassing, I should make that from the Jello mix scratch.)

5. The lowfat cats cookies. Ok, taking cover because I know a ton of people who swear by these and think they're great. But I just keep feeling like they should taste like the full-fat animal cracker version and then get all disappointed by the lowfattedness of it all, and they kind of remind me of those Snackwell's cookies that were nonfat but high sugar and you just wanted to eat them all for some kind of naughty satisfaction but you just had that queasy wait-did-I-just-eat-them-all-and-they-weren't-even-great feeling, and who wants that? I'm all about one or two full fat and fabulous cookies. Maybe not even from TJ's. :)