What's NOT good at Trader Joe's?

The opposite of this thread.

Everyone knows I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s, and that I’ve been shopping there since 1987. But once in a while, I come across something I don’t like. (If you don’t like it, bring it back!) So what do you NOT like at Trader Joe’s?

There were some corn tortilla chips I had about 15 years ago that I really didn’t like. I don’t remember which ones they were, but I still don’t buy tortilla chips there. (Probably discontinued now, but…)

Frozen falafel. They had some of their frozen falafel cooked up at the demo counter a couple of weeks ago, with some stuff on it. I thought the falafel was ‘just OK’, and not as good as the packet stuff I make at home.

I picked up some coconut shrimp for the SO once. She threw it out. (I never had a taste.) She said the shrimp was tiny and there was too much breading.

I came in to say the frozen falafel.

I was kind of underwhelmed by the peanut butter and jelly chocolate bar.

The frozen fancy burgers (I think they were “kobe style” or something) were only okay.

Me too. But generally I don’t prefer things in my chocolate except nuts or peanut butter.

I don’t like falafel at all but I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for! I don’t know if it was the same coconut shrimp, but I don’t remember anything bad. But then again that’s something that’s hard to screw up and even a mediocre version is palatable.

They had some, I think, blueberry scones. They came in packs of 4, and were a little bigger than a fist. The first thing - one of them had 55% of your daily value of saturated fat. Secondly, they weren’t very good. It’s that type of dough that’s like dry soda bread, and the blueberries didn’t help. I think that’s a bigger sin in light of the first one. If I were to eat a whole jar of cookie butter, I would be under no illusions that it was healthy, but it would at least taste rich.

The main reason why I don’t like TJ’s is the store itself. They feel cramped, and crowded, and also a farther drive than other places, so I haven’t bothered in some time. Otherwise it’s an interesting place that has fancy stuff like Whole Foods, and really cheap stuff unlike WF.

Although their frozen stuff enjoys a good reputation here, nothing I’ve tried as samples or that I purchased seemed better than a similar item from, say, Costco. OTOH, their ketchup is very good and reminds me of how Heinz used to taste when I was a kid.

There’s some frozen mushroom (and I think beef) ravioli that was just terrible. Because I like mushrooms and she doesn’t, my wife had gotten it for me as a meal to make when I was feeling lazy and she was working late. Unfortunately, its predominant qualities were mushiness and saltiness. It was edible, I guess, but its texture and flavor were way more institutional than I’m willing to put up with in something I eat at home.

Their frozen waffles are horrible.

OK, I’m probably going to get murdered for saying this, but: their Cookie Butter. I bought a jar of it a month or two back after hearing rave reviews, and . . . meh. I mean, I like the taste, but it’s just not something I love eating - 3/4 of it is still on a shelf in my house somewhere. Also, their Cookie Butter ice cream makes me nauseous and is way too sweet. With that said, it’s my favorite grocery store by a long shot (plus, their Pumpkin ice cream is back in season! YES!).

Yeah, I don’t think they’re really scones in the true sense.

Trader Joe’s baked goods in general are not very good (their bagels are horrible), though there are some notable exceptions (some of the cookies, some of the cakes). And I think everything they sell that’s supposed to be Thai-flavored in some way will be a huge disappointment to anyone who’s actually had Thai food.

And their produce is so overpriced I don’t know why anyone would buy there, other than that it comes in pretty packing.

Oh, my brain was protecting me from remembering the time I bought a nine dollar box of wine at TJ’s. Do NOT do that. My husband said “well I don’t know anything about wine, I’m sure I won’t be able to t… Oh god.”

Oh, I had forgotten the nastiness that was Cookie Butter. I tried to give it away and no one liked it. I also did not like the mochi ice cream. At all.

Also, the “So A Pumpkin Walked Into A Bar” was delicious so I tried the cranberry one; not so good. Didn’t taste like cranberry at all.

I don’t agree though that the baked goods are not good, as I have become hopelessly addicted to their carrot cake muffins with (lots of) cream cheese icing. However, I have never had any scone anywhere that was anything but tasteless.

I didn’t care for their chicken pot pie.

The filling was very rich (almost too rich) and tasty, but they use phyllo dough for a topping and while it looks beautiful, it’s hard to eat (all the tasty looking bits are draped over the edge of the pan and get cemented on there when cooked) and really, just not the right kind of topping for a pot pie.

I also didn’t care for a gongonzola cheese and chicken dish I got there. Gorgonzola has a very strong flavor- a bleu cheese strength- and there was a lot of it in the dish. Too much.

I also didn’t care for their vanilla cake mix. The recipe recommended using butter (I also think there was an oil option). The cake was much too oily when I used butter. It left oil rings on everything it touched. Maybe it would be better with oil, but I just don’t think I’ll try the cake mix again.

I don’t know what it is about their cheese, but it goes moldy days faster than the cheese I buy at other stores.

What I will say about the Cookie Butter was that it was too sweet to put on anything. I ended up eating it like ice cream one spoon at a time.
I have also bought apples that went brown in just a couple days but that was not the norm.

I have to disagree about the chicken pot pie. Marie Callender’s pies are as rich as I can stand, and TJ’s aren’t quite so rich as those. (Full disclosure: I don’t mind those cheap Banquet or Swanson or whatever they are pot pies.)

About the cheese: Before the SO moved in, cheese didn’t last so long. I could eat a whole plate of cheese and crackers for dinner. Nowadays it’s half of that (and smaller plates!) and not so often. The cheese does often get mouldy after a couple/few months. I cut the mold off and eat the good part. Since cheese stays around so long, the ‘days faster’ doesn’t make sense to me. It’s too fine a graduation to read. (FWIW, the parmesan reggiano lasts forever.)

I haven’t tried the cookie butter. I’ve seen it, but it just sounds like something I wouldn’t want to eat.

I agree about the baked goods. (i.e., breads, muffins, etc.; not the cookies in the tubs.) I haven’t found any breads that I particularly like. Also (it just came to me), their corn tortillas look weird. They have grill marks on them. I tend to go with Mission corn tortillas.

TJ’s breads that I’ve tried have mostly been dry and disappointing, but the Milton’s brand that they carry is good. I do love TJ’s own three-seed sourdough for buttered toast or grilled cheese sandwiches.


Hm. They do carry it at Trader Joe’s, but it’s a national brand you can pick up at any supermarket.

Their tortillas aren’t good, even the “truly handmade ones.” I prefer Guerrero or even mission brand if I can’t get uncooked/fresh ones.

Their Belgian waffles are good but not their regular waffles so much.

Their deep dish pepperoni pizza is meh.

I, too, recently went from lots of cheese to a little once in a while, but when I was still eating it regularly I bought from TJs all the time.
About 2 years ago started to notice that their cheese would go bad within a week or 2 of purchase, even unopened. How can that even happen to aged cheese?:confused:
It just doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s true. TJ cheese doesn’t last nearly as long as standard grocery store cheese. Parm, gruyere, cheddar, none of it.