The Best and Worst Products at Trader Joe's

The crew from What's Good at Trader Joe's? weighs in with new reviewsIf you love Trader Joe's - the colorful shirts, the name tags, the friendly atmosphere, all its quirky products - then you've probably done product recon on What's Good at Trader Joe's?, the four-member team review site that has been rating the store's best and worst products since August of 2010. Nathan Rodgers, his wife Sonia, and their friend Russ Shelly and his wife Sandy set out almost two years ago to review the cult grocer's some 4,500 products. They've been going at a pretty good clip, and with this installment of The Best and Worst Products at Trader Joe's are narrowing in on having reviewed 10 percent of its products (more than 275 reviews covering about 325 products). That's no joke.

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While the reviewers are fans of Trader Joe's, they take reviewing seriously - their first review was even negative. Here's their process:
• They rate products on a scale of one to 10, 10 being the best.
• For any post, two people rate the product.
• Reviewers give their overall impression and up to five points each.

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The good folks at What's Good at Trader Joe's review at least four or five products in each category. Best breakfast, best appetizers, best vegetarian, best frozen treats - there's as wide a range of categories as you'd expect. But Nathan, Sonia, Russ, and Sandy have had some fun with the categories, too, including things like "Spousal Discrepancy," "Biggest Winner Versus Expectation," and "Worst. Stuff. Ever."

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Of course, there's love and hate for Trader Joe's, for more about the products above and past reviews by Russ, Sandy, Nathan, and Sonia, visit their great site, read the full stories, or check out the new page dedicated to their progress:

The Best and Worst Products at Trader Joe's


Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Sugary Impulse Buys: Trader Joe's Journey to the Center of the Cookie (9/10 points)
These warm, gooey, choco-swamped fresh-outta-the-oven awesome-with-ice-cream cookies were our constant temptress when we (Russ and Sandy) gave up sweets for Lent. Don't ask us how we made it through.

Read more about Trader Joe's Journey to the Center of the Cookie



Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Sugary Impulse Buys: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wafer Cookies (8.5/10 points)
Combine dark chocolate and peanut butter AND wafers and cookies and what's the result? An empty bag in minutes. Those with low willpower, avert your eyes.

Read more about Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wafer Cookies



Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Unusual Good Finds: Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus (8.5/10 points)
A unique take on the classic formula, the edamame hummus certainly tastes the part while retaining a smooth, creamy texture. It's even better when matched with the TJ Quinoa and Black Bean Infused Tortilla Chips, or perhaps our next entry.

Read more about Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus



Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Unusual Good Finds: Trader Joe's Shrimp Corn Dogs (8/10 points)
I can hear the cynics from here: "Yeah, batter up anything and deep-fry it on a stick, people will eat it." Yeah, well, read the product again, slowly: Shrimp. Corn. Dogs. That is not a misprint.

Read more about Trader Joe's Shrimp Corn Dogs




Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Easy Dinners: Trader Joe's Corn Penne Pasta (8/10 points)
Gluten-free folks deserve some darn good pasta, too, right? Cook these up like any other noodle, toss on whatever sauce, veggies, meatballs, whatever and BOOM. Dinner's served.

Read more about Trader Joe's Corn Penne Pasta




Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Easy Dinners: Trader Joe's Macaroni and Cheese (8/10 points)
While certainly not as good as homemade, this is way better than the more famous blue box. For a fun, spicy twist on this American classic, dash in some Trader Joe's Habenero Sauce...if you dare.

Read more about Trader Joe's Macaroni and Cheese




Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Best of the Rest: Trader Joe's Organic Popping Corn (9/10 points)
TJ's popcorn is one of the best incarnations of the stovetop classic we've found yet. Nearly every kernel pops into a big, fluffy piece that's versatile to go with any seasoning while remaining melt-in-mouth soft. Make up a batch with Trader Joe's Coconut Oil for an especially good treat.

Read more Trader Joe's Organic Popping Corn



Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Best of the Rest: Trader Joe's Organic Tomatillo and Roasted Yellow Chile Salsa (8.5/10 points)
The only thing this salsa lacks is just a tad more heat. Other than that, it's impossible to argue with this smooth, smoky, full-flavored salsa offering. It's our favorite Trader Joe's salsa, and it's not all that close.

Read more about Trader Joe's Organic Tomatillo and Roasted Yellow Chile Salsa



Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Biggest Disappointments: Trader Joe's Breakfast Burritos (2/10 points)
Breakfast: The most important meal of the day, and should be the hardest to screw up. Somehow, TJ's did. It ought to be impossible for eggs, potatoes, and bacon to be so bland and nondescript, but yeah, you're better off with cardboard. Much better option: Trader Joe's Breakfast Scramble.

Read more about Trader Joe's Breakfast Burritos



Credit: What's Good at Trader Joe's? Biggest Disappointments: Trader Joe's S'mores (5.5/10 points)
A s'mores-inspired ice cream sandwich should be a surefire slam dunk, so when the end product is a melty mess that lacks in both the graham cracker and chocolate department, well, we'll pass. Much better option: Trader Joe's Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Read more about Trader Joe's S'mores



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- Arthur Bovino, The Daily Meal