What to Buy (and Avoid) at Trader Joe's

By Jeremy Selwyn
Chief Snacks Officer

If you've never bought anything at Trader Joe's, you're seriously missing out. It's pretty much the best grocery store ever to exist. The food's awesome, and the prices are low. Here's a list of things that are definitely worth buying. And in the interest of fairness, I'm also listing the few items that you should avoid at all costs.


Lemongrass Chicken Stix

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chipotle Salsa

Oyama Cajun Shrimp Rolls

Southwest Chipotle Sauce (awesome)

Southwest Chicken Quesadillas
Chicken Taquitos

Roasted Corn Tortilla Chowder

Chicken Chimichangas

Creamy Butternut Squash soup

Dynamo (bring it back!)

Buttermilk waffles

Chocolate cookies that look like pretzels

Fresh salsa

Chunky salsa

Roasted garlic salsa

Roasted chili salsa

Roasted tomato salsa

Chipotle salsa

Pad thai

Ahi Tuna Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Enchiladas

Raspberry jam

Pirate's Booty

Hansen's canned juices (not the carbonated ones)

Chicken mini tacos

Potato onion rings (a.k.a. Responsibilityuns)

Soy Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter pseudo-ice cream

Teriyaki Chicken Wings & Drumettes (way too greasy)

Better 'n Peanut Butter (just awful) ... Some other critics of this product: Robert (previously posted at www.robert.to/ reviews/ betternpeanut.html): "I don't think I'll buy this product again. The taste just wasn't good enough for me, and it left a lingering aftertaste." ... Epicurious (previously posted at www.epicurious.com/ features/news/dailydish/ 081406): "With all due respect to those adults who love it, the editors in our office found the texture floury and thought it was 'way too sweet, like super-sweet peanut candy.' " ... MTHead/HungryMonkey: "I tried it about a year ago and hated it. That is the one thing I actually returned to Trader Joe's" / "I can't stomach the Petter 'n' Peanut Butter. It tastes like artificial chocolate and is only similar to pb in that it comes in a jar and is spreadable. Ick." (Mark Bennett of Hampton Copy apparently does some printing work for the Better 'n Peanut Butter folks and sent us an email, citing the love of the product by himself and some similarly minded folks whom he found using Google as a reason that including it on the "bad" list constitutes "inaccuracy" on our part. More from Bennett's email: "I also know the gentleman who manufactures the stuff, as I print up 10 copies of a book of email testimonials from over a hundred real happy customers every month or so. (I own a small copyshop) Every time he orders another 10 copies, he adds a few new testmonials and loses a few older ones. These are totaly legit emails, complete with routing headers etc. I've read them. They all thank him for producing the stuff. One woman called him a saint. Most are exuberant to have found his product and go out of their way to let him know. He doesn't know I'm sending this. Please consider removing his product from your blacklist, it's just not really accurate." Since this is our web site, where we share our opinions about things we ate, we left it on our list.)