Tag Archives: trader joe’s

Review: Trader Joe’s Organic Frosted Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Toaster Pastries

Trader Joe's Organic Frosted Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Toaster Pastries Box

Toaster pastry family dynamics are confusing.

Take the Brown Sugar Cinnamons, for example. From Kellogg’s to Kroger, every brand under the toaster oven’s warming sun has a unique take on Brown Sugar Cinnamon, but they all taste different. Sometimes, I like to try connecting each doughy rectangle on an imaginary family tree.

You have the OG pastry, Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tart, a sweet and sugary gal who was clearly raised by a “fun parent:” the kind of hyperactive, dad joke-slinging manchild who I aspire to be someday. You have Cinnamon Roll with Brown Sugar Toaster Strudels, who stays cold and aloof in his room until you warm him up and he comes alive. And you have Cinnamon + Brown Sugar Megpie, the plump child who ran away from home to become a barista and eat one too many Starbucks marble loaves during his break.

Now there’s Trader Joe’s new Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Toaster Pastry. He must’ve been raised by the family’s all organic, hippy grandma out west. Just why do I say that? Well let’s ask the quirky quadrilateral himself. Continue reading

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Review: Trader Joe’s Tart Cherry, Chia and Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal

Trader Joe's Cherry, Chia and Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal Cup

Consider the humble cherry.

Long-overshadowed by strawberry, the people’s champion, and grape, its cheaper taste analogue, cherry has been trapped in a breakfast aisle pitfall for decades. Sure, there’s Frute Brute, who’s currently trapped in General Mills’s monster mausoleum  for…well…ever, probably. And there are Cherry Pop-Tarts, who go unnoticed like the rosy-cheeked nerd girl in every teen movie whose sweetness is only revealed to the one boy brave enough to give her a chance (my Pop-Tart metaphors are complex).

But other than those two and a few obscure health cereals, cherry is very rarely seen as breakfast fare. Which is unfair, because any fruit that tops sundaes and acts as the Kool-Aid Man’s lifeblood deserves a spot at my table.

Thankfully, Trader Joe—a longtime liberator of unsung and under-appreciated flavors—is giving cherry a shot in his latest instant oatmeal cup. This is the same Joseph who once one-upped Pop-Tarts by cramming both cherry and pomegranate into a single toaster pastry,  a mad feat I haven’t seen since 1998, when The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, sending him plummeting 16ft through an announcer’s table.

Staying true to his squirrelly status as “the Uncle Joey of grocery stores,” Trader Joe also stuffed chia and pumpkin seeds into this plastic oat cylinder. Let’s celebrate the dawn of spring by watching this one blossom in the microwave. Continue reading

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Review: Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cinnamon Squares Cereal

Trader Joe's Crunchy Cinnamon Squares Cereal Box

Is 2017 poised to be the Year of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon Pebbles hit shelves just as the new year did. Cinnamon Frosted Flakes will be making its full, nationwide debut this month. And now, with the release of these Crunchy Cinnamon Squares, Trader Joe is eyeing the cereal aisle’s “Sugar-Swirled Cinnamon” throne. His cookie butter-colored irises watch deviously as Cinnamon Toast Crunch sits squarely on that very same seat.

“Soon,” he whispers.

But will Trader Joe’s newest cereal be tasty enough to overthrow a 22-year old cinnamon dynasty? The side of its box claims that, “after one bite you may want to eat these Crunchy Cinnamon Squares for every meal,” but the front doesn’t even feature any grandfatherly bakers or cannibalistic quadrilaterals: just the same calm blue color scheme of Andy’s wallpaper in Toy Story.  Continue reading

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Re-Review: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s Cereal (2016)

Trader Joe's Pumpkin O's Cereal Box

As the “days until Halloween” counter drips lower than fake blood from a vampire Basset Hound’s mouth, I think I still have enough spice in my own blood to crank out one more pumpkin cereal review. Besides my annual Monster Cereal analyses, I usually don’t like to re-review the same product multiple years in a row. But like parents whose troubled child keeps getting sent to the principal’s office for doodling giant kaiju lobsters instead of focusing*, we need to talk about Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s.

*I decline to comment on whether this comes from my own personal experience with crustacean artistry.

See, I reviewed Trader Joe’s Pumpkin O’s last year and quite liked them—I gave them a 7/10 for their authentic pumpkin flavor and brown sugar finish. But as I dug into my box this year, prepared for another raucous round of good ol’ fashioned barnyard vegetable fun, I was left with the pained frown of a toddler being forced to eat his own barnyard vegetables.

I don’t know if Trader Joe’s actually changed their Pumpkin O’s recipe or if my taste buds have just undergone a Wolfman-esque transformation in the past year, but I’ve got Bill Murray on speed dial anyway, because there’s definitely something strange in this cereal neighborhood. Continue reading

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Review: Trader Joe’s Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal

Trader Joe's Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal Box

I’m 3 packets deep into my box of Trader Joe’s Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal, yet I can’t stop thinking about Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

Maybe I’m crazy, or maybe this is actually some grand, Illuminati-level conspiracy between Trader Joe and Cheesasaurus Rex, but every bite of TJ’s soft, sopping, and starchy Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal tastes like mashed-up mac noodles bathed in an autumnal, earthy pumpkin sauce.

Yep, I’m definitely crazy. But before you lock me up in the nuthouse, my pinwheeling legs kicking and my oatmeal-specked mouth screaming “But it ain’t easy being cheesy! It ain’t, I tell you!” as the bars clang shut, let me rewind this whole pumpkin oatmeal snafu. Because despite my nutty introduction, there’s a lot to love about this nutty breakfast. Continue reading

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Review: Trader Joe’s “this pumpkin walks into a bar…” Cereal Bars

Trader Joe's "this pumpkin walks into a bar..." Cereal Bars Box

“They’re called cereal bars, okay? It says it right on the box! I promise, I am not a monster!” I shout to the non-existent critics who haunt my nightmares and claim that my breakfast cereal blog has strayed too far from its flaky roots.

I’m not going to feel bad about reviewing Trader Joe’s conversationally named “this pumpkin walks into a bar…” pumpkin breakfast bars, because A) It’s the witching season so there are no rules and B) I already reviewed these bars’ little brother, Pumpkin Spice Nutri-Grain bars, so I want to compare the pair.

Note: I call Pumpkin Spice Nutri-Grain the little brother not just because TJ’s bars have existed longer, but also because of each bar’s respective aesthetic. Trader Joe’s pumpkin bars seem like the hippy college student who dropped out to join the Peace Corps, while Nutri-Grain bars feel like the 1st grader who’s still making fuzzy spiders out of pipe cleaner pieces.

While you digest that mental image, I’ll start digesting this “this pumpkin walks into a bar…” bar. Continue reading

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Review: Trader Joe’s Mango O’s Cereal

Mango O's Box

I don’t know if I can trust you, Trader Joe.

For some reason, you chose not to pluck the literal low-hanging fruit and call your new mango cereal “Mang-O’s.” And I just don’t know if I can trust a man who doesn’t exploit every bad pun possible. It’s simply punacceptable.

But I’ll play along anyway, mostly because Trader Joe’s Mango O’s is one of very few mango cereals to ever exist. Outside of Peace Cereal’s Mango Peach Passion and the unfortunately discontinued Mango Coconut Honey Bunches of Oats, mango lovers have long been forced to eat something other than cereal for breakfast.

Like some kind of, I don’t know, fresh fruit or something?

But despair no more, mango maniacs, because Mango O’s are here to provide a breath of fresh air. Well, more like a breath of mango air that’s been sealed for a while in a plastic bag, but you get the idea. Continue reading

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Review: Trader Joe’s Cherry Pomegranate Organic Frosted Toaster Pastries

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Well look at you, Trader Joe’s: always getting all prim and proper with your flavors and names for things.

Instead of “cheddar,” we get “Trader Joe’s Oakwood Cold Smoked English Cheddar Cheese.” Where others would buy “ravioli,” we buy “Trader Giotto’s Arugula & Parmigiano Reggiano Ravioli.” If Trader Joe’s sold omelettes, I swear they’d call them “Fabergé Joe’s Country Cock-tail Collages.”

In the midst of this naming madness, we get TJ’s take on Pop-Tarts: “Organic Frosted Toaster Pastries.” Not content with just naming them extravagantly, Trader Joe’s also likes to extravagantify (shut up, spellcheck) their flavors from time to time.

That’s why I’m sitting here munching a Cherry Pomegranate Frosted Toaster Pastry. Sure, Kellogg’s may be happy to go hog-wild with Maple Bacon, but I can’t imagine them touching pomegranates with a 10-foot spoon. This flavor isn’t particularly new, but since I was impressed by the last TJ’s pastry I tried, I figured it was worth highlighting another.

Continue reading

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