Try This, Not That

My honest review on popular Trader Joe’s snacks


Photo: Anika Shashidhar

Here I am at Trader Joe’s in the snacks aisle. I am deciding which chips to purchase and review, given all the options.

Despite being a successful trip, I was disappointed that I did not get to buy the, “Everything but the Bagel Seasoning” chips, which I had been eager to taste ever since hearing about them on Tik Tok. Due to their wide popularity, these legendary chips were held up in production, confirming that it would be worth the wait.

Chips or not, I was pleased to see that all my purchases had amounted to an almost even $30.

I ended up walking out of Trader Joe’s with a bag full of mini dark chocolate heart cookies, a mango smoothie, a protein vanilla almond spiced chai drink, spicy cheese crunchies, chili and lime flavored rolled corn tortilla chips, Everything but the Bagel nut duo with almonds and cashews, organic watermelon jerky, apple mango jalapeño fruit snacks and cheese puffs.

I began by tasting the mini dark chocolate heart cookies. The light pink packaging and the sprin- kles adorning my favorite type of dark chocolate drew me in and definitely satisfied my chocolate cravings. Each bite felt worthy of the next, but I wish the inside had been filled with caramel or marshmallow to add even more flavor and make these classic cookies more unique.

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Next, I turned to the opposite end of the spectrum with the apple mango jalapeño fruit snacks. As someone who prefers spicy over sweet, I was excited for this spicy take on the classic gummy fruit snack. After eating a singular gummy, I was disappointed by the lack of spice but truly enjoyed the unique flavor of the overpowering mango.

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I then decided to refresh my palate with the beverages. The mango smoothie burst with every sip and left me wanting more. It tasted so fresh. I might be biased towards mangoes, but even a mango-hater would enjoy this refreshing smoothie with its fruity, tropical flavor.

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On the other hand, the protein vanilla almond spiced chai was not my favorite. Perhaps I am guilty of disassociating any mention of protein with the word “snack”. Or maybe I just needed to give it a good shake, but honestly it tasted like a watered down chai.

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Afterwards, I decided to crack open some of the spicier snacks. I took a handful of the spicy cheese crunchies, cheese puffs and rolled chilli and lime flavored tortilla chips. Admittedly, I had had all three of these snacks before on previous Trader Joe’s trips, so I knew I was not compromising taste by mixing them.

In my opinion, the spicy cheese crunchies are number one and are definitely comparable to Cheetos, although they are significant cantly less spicy than the average “hot cheeto.”

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Next are the rolled corn tortilla chips, or as I like to call Takis. The lime in this rendition of Takis really shines through and adds a sour element as opposed to the spicier flavor of traditional Takis.

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Finally, I ate the cheese puffs. These are the light-hearted munch and crunch of the trio. They are flavorful, yet not spicy, but colorful and definitely addicting.

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Moving in a different direction, I decided to try out the organic water- melon jerky. With low expectations, I ripped open the package. The color of the jerky was appealing but the smell, not so much. Nevertheless, I took a bite. It stuck to my teeth, the pungent watermelon flavor and smell was overpowering, not to mention how sticky it was to the touch. But hats off to Trader Joe’s for being so innovative, I’m sure watermelon lovers would adore this product.

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Finally, I made it to the grand finale. The Everything but the Bagel duo with almonds and cashews. As someone who loves to snack on almonds and cashews, this snack was a satisfying end. Although the seasoning was not particularly powerful, I added extra Everything but the Bagel seasoning on top. While it was not perfect, it was still tasty and definitely a healthier snack for all the hikers, backpackers and nature lovers out there.

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Overall, I would say that my trip to Trader Joe’s was successful. The prices were reasonable and there was a balance from sweet to spicy, salty to sour.