Trader Joe’s has long since been hailed as one of the greatest things to happen to grocery shoppers. Their pricing is often quite competitive, many of their products are on-trend and follow popular healthy lifestyles, and they’ve created a welcoming environment for every shopper. While the store has its own brand, their creations can range anywhere from brilliant to… well, interesting.
For a while, things such as chocolate hummus and pasta made out of anything but wheat were all the rage, and Trader Joe’s was all over it. When cauliflower pizza became the norm for both keto and healthier lifestyles, Trader Joe’s came up with their own frozen version. Some might consider it to be a bit experimental in nature but that doesn’t mean the food products found in this store aren’t delicious… But some of them are definitely a bit strange when it comes to food. Thankfully, both Business Insider and Spoon University are well-versed in trying these slightly weird products, so here’s what they, and other TJ fans, have to say.
Birthday Cake Popcorn
Just the name of this evokes images of something that’s absurdly sweet and slightly salty due to the nature of popcorn. But it also brings up questions: Is it buttery? Will the taste be similar to caramel corn? Will it be pastel-colored or just yellow and sweet? Unfortunately, these questions were better left unanswered, as those who tried this cake-like snack were not overly impressed. The smell alone was straight sugar and the flavor, well… let’s just say that sprinkles and popcorn do not mix well, and this is one combination that shouldn’t be combined.
The much-anticipated chocolate hummus is something that many were psyched over. Combining a decadent indulgence such as chocolate with an abundantly healthy snack like hummus seemed to be an act of sheer brilliance, but that still remains to be seen. The line seems to be fairly divided on this one, and there are those who are absolutely in love with the stuff and those who couldn’t hate it more. One common criticism was its bitterness, which didn’t appeal to those who were expecting a slightly sweet flavor rather than a dark-chocolate explosion.
Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns
Bao buns are delicious, there’s no denying that. However, bao buns with a Philly cheesesteak filling aren’t necessarily the type of fusion that many would think of. While it’s a strange combination, according to Business Insider, this snack was interesting for sure and was actually pretty good, not to mention easy to prepare. While it lacked the cheesy flavor that’s common in cheesesteaks, it was appetizing and tasty nevertheless.
Chocolate Lava Gnocchi
Gnocchi is a classic Italian dish and most people would argue that it should never be used as a dessert or combined with chocolate. Similar to the chocolate hummus, this chocolate lava gnocchi seems to be a bit misleading. Business Insider claims that the scent of this gnocchi is delicious while it’s cooking in a bath of butter, but the flavor and texture leave something to be desired. As far as a full-on “pasta” dish, it’s too far from the real thing to be a winner.
Crispy Crunchy Okra
Okra isn’t the first thing that too many people think of as healthy snack food but in typical TJ fashion, making snacks healthy is something the brand excels at. According to Spoon University, this is definitely an excellent, over the top snack option for those who love okra. While it’s not the same as taking a bite out of a crispy potato chip, the flavor, texture, and satisfying crunch of these okra chips are a worthy alternative to anything deep-fried and overly salty.
Blood Orange Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cheese
Is it a cheesecake? Is it an actual cheese? This still remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, blood orange and chocolate chips definitely make magic together. While this comes in a pie-slice-looking package, it’s still ricotta cheese, but flavored in a way that’s slightly sweeter than normal. Spoon University claims that this cheese isn’t overly flavorful but it is good, especially on some plain crackers as a snack. It could probably be used as the base for a ricotta cheesecake too, especially with a boost in orange flavor.
The real winner of this TJ list is the pancake bread. While it sounds a little redundant – pancakes and bread – the word on the street, and from Spoon University, is that this stuff is absolutely heavenly. It’s described as being similar to both pancakes and coffee cake, making for a sweet treat that’s great for either breakfast or dessert. It appears to be denser than pancakes, but still fluffy and topped with a simple crumble… enough to make anyone crave some sweets.