Every season, Trader Joe's bestows upon its brethren a slew of new products. They talk them up in the Fearless Flyer, and give them prime shelf space in the store, but for eagle-eyed regulars like myself, these promotional lengths are not necessary. I know the items at Trader Joe's like I know the Radiohead discography or Arrested Development quotes. That is to say, quite well. I know that there will be a mosh pit of elderly folks in the cheese section, and a swarm of housewives near the wine. The produce section will resemble Wario Stadium and I can skip the entire section of frozen seafood. So when a new item pops up in-between the Shredded Beef Tamales and the Paneer Tikka Masala, I take notice. Typically, I greet new products with a wary eye, having been played a fool on more than one occasion (SALTINE GOLDFISH), but that fear is unfounded at TJ's. Nearly everything I have had the pleasure of ingesting from Trader Joe's has been delicious, and this goes for new and old items alike. Their quality control is impeccable, and they don't slap their name on just anything (you hear that "Best Yet"?). To prove this theory correct, I bought several new TJ's items last week, and ate them for the benefit of this blog and its followers.
Item 1: Trader Jacques' Milk Chocolate Salter Caramel Butter Cookies
There is no shortage of holiday-themed goodies at TJ's, but rather than drop $12 on a box of truffles, these caught my eye. Shortbread + Caramel + Chocolate sounds like a pretty indomitable combination, and being imported from France scored it some Ooh Ahh points from the Missus.
Here they sat in the dim living room light, looking like a chocolate-filled ice cube tray.
Item 2: Coins of the World
Look at the attention to detail! Ignore the terrifying cuticle! There may very well be a chocolate coin mint next door to the national mint in each of these countries, that's how realistic they looked.
Item 3: Mac and Cheese Bites
Item 4: Lentil Chips
Lentil chips are an intriguing prospect. I suppose anything that can be mashed can be chip-ified, but does that mean it should be done? I'll leave that to Congress, but I say more power to them. Currently, Lentil Chips come in only the sea salt and black pepper iteration, an interesting choice, because the black pepper really gives them some kick. Texture-wise, they feel like a glazed pita chip, and I mean that in the best-possible way. Sort of like a rice cracker, if you've tried those before. Very light and super crunchy. Good taste, satisfying flavor. No troubling aftertaste to speak of. I could see myself buying them regularly, especially if they come out with other flavors. All in all, one small step for TJ's, another giant leap for chipkind. 2.49 for the bag. More than pita chips, but something you should try at least once.
This concludes this episode of the Trader Joe's Invader Show. Tune in next time!