How about a large rundown of all the new Trader Joe's items I've tried in 2012, from Pasadena to Brooklyn?
HONEY MUSTARD AND ONION PRETZEL PIECES
I like pretzels and I love honey mustard and onion, so I had to give these a try. I really liked the flavor although a few of the pieces were stale and the flavored powder coated my fingers even stronger than Cheetos. In my memory these things were really high in calories, too, but to be honest I don't remember.
I would have no problem eating these again, but I don't know if I actually will.
ASIAGO CHEESE WITH ROSEMARY & OLIVE OIL
LE DELICE DE BOURGOGNE
OLD ENGLISH CHEDDAR CHEESE
CHEDDAR & GRUYERE MELANGE
This Bavarian sausage - the package claims it comes from a German supplier - was fully cooked and all pork. I heated it in a pan for five minutes to brown it up, then ate a few of the links with chipotle mustard and Chinese hot mustard. I certainly enjoyed them, they weren't too fatty, but I did not find anything special about them. I would get them again, but only if I think about it. Which I probably won't. Regular sausage links from the store are just as good.
SHRIMP WITH SPICY GREEN CURRY & JASMINE RICE
ECO VINO CABERNET
CHICKEN-LESS MANDARIN ORANGE MORSELS
"Sure, I'll give it a try," I replied. "Why not?"
"Because it's fake chicken," she answered.
I understood where she was coming from but I was still willing to give it a try. (Years ago I used to eat TJ's soy corn dogs pretty regularly.) The chickenless chicken cooked in the oven in about 25 minutes. While it was cooking, I tasted the sauce and found it to be much too sweet. Almost syrup-like. So I added a few slugs of hot sauce and some cilantro.
When the product was finished... well, I don't even know what to say. I didn't like it. I didn't dislike it. It was just a soy-based dish; the only flavor came from the sauce. If I were vegan, I imagine this would be something I would eat at least once a week. But I'm not. So I don't see any reason to ever get it again. But I'm glad I tried it.
KIMCHI FRIED RICE
But the prices are still good and the employees are, without any question, the most helpful of any place I have yet encountered in Brooklyn.
All of the following things I have tried here. A couple of them I had seen before, but most I had not. I don't know if that means they are specific to this region or it's just a coincidence and they are available out West and I just never saw them.
BACON CHEDDAR RANCH DIP
MINI CHEDDAR CHIPOTLE POTATO BITES
I cooked the box in the oven one night and we split them as an appetizer. I liked them. I will probably get them again. But I didn't really taste any chipotle. I tasted the potato quite strongly - despite their miniature size, these potato bites pack more potato flavor than many restaurant skins twice their size - and I tasted the cheese and even sour cream. But I have no idea where the hell the chipotle flavor was.
Luckily I have chipotle-flavored hot sauce so I was able to douse them.
TURKEY CORN DOGS
I enjoyed them with habanero mustard and Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup. Simultaneously, in some bites.
TURKEY, SPINACH AND SWISS CHEESE WRAP
FRESH SPRING ROLLS WITH SHRIMP & VEGETABLES
SO THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PIADINA
"My father said he saw him years later playing in a tenth-rate commercial league in a textile town in Carolina, wearing shoes and an assumed name. He'd put on fifty pounds and the spring was gone from his step in the outfield, but he could still hit. Oh, how that man could hit."
FRESH BASIL PESTO FLATBREAD PIZZA
CURRY CHICKEN TENDERS
When I saw these chicken tenders in curry sauce I was reminded of those old meals. I can't say that the chicken packed in a vacuum-sealed pouch looked appetizing, but I figured I'd give it a shot. I baked them in the oven for 20 minutes and served them with broccoli.
They were delicious. A little salty, perhaps, but much tastier than I thought they would be.
That's it for this round of TJ's products. There will be more again someday. I hope you have a nice weekend.