I’m a supermarket skeptic and like to try the “Mexican” products sold in some mainstream markets because I know that not everybody has access to the kind of markets where I like to regularly shop. And I use quotes to say “Mexican” because sometimes I find that the product is really not worthy of the label. A lot of friends, family and longtime readers of The Other Side of The Tortilla are always asking me if I’ve tried certain products or if I can recommend replacement products for things not commonly sold where they live. So, I’ve decided to start writing about some of the products that I’ve taste-tested to share with you.
During my first few weeks living in LA, I was desperate to get my hands on certain foods but either didn’t have the time or transportation to go looking very far for what I really wanted. I taste-tested a lot of products during that time, and Trader Joe’s happened to be the most conveniently located store on my route to and from work. Good guacamole was one thing I was craving and I hadn’t seen this Trader José’s Chunky Spicy version before so I gave it a try.
Trader José’s Chunky Spicy Guacamole Auténtico
Taste and texture: The bell pepper is mild and gives a little extra texture, but I wouldn’t call it spicy at all, and I honestly didn’t think there was any chile in this guacamole until I read the ingredients on the back of the package. The avocado was way smoother than I expected, given that the package says it’s chunky, and I was slightly disappointed because I expected it to have more of a homemade chunky consistency instead of a super-smooth processed consistency. I’ve purchased this a few times, and each package seems to be pretty different in terms of the consistency of how chunky the guacamole is. One time, there was only one chunky piece of avocado. Another time, there were several chunky spots. The overall taste was good, and I’d buy it again, but it really needs more fresh lime juice and fresh chile for a spicy kick. This “chunky spicy” version is definitely better than their standard packaged guacamole, though, which is $3.99 for 16 ounces and comes in two slim containers and is pureed and completely smooth.
Ingredients: Hass avocado, tomato, red bell pepper, onion, cilantro, jalapeño pepper, serrano pepper, salt, arbol pepper, garlic, lime juice concentrate
Price and value: $2.99 for 12 ounces; good value compared to other brands and the cost of buying all the ingredients to make your own guac if you’re just looking for a small portion for a quick fix.
Rating: Buy …if you’re pressed for time and can’t make your own from scratch, and don’t mind doctoring it a little bit. It’s not quite as “auténtico” as the packaging suggests, but it passes our taste test.
Trader José’s Cantina Corn Tortilla Chips
Taste and texture: These chips were surprisingly good—hearty and not overly salted. Although the bag the chips come in is microwave safe and the chips are intended to be heated before eating, I didn’t care for them warm.
Ingredients: Ground corn flour (corn, trace of lime, cellulose gum), corn masa (corn), soybean oil, water, salt
Price and value: $1.99 for a 6-ounce bag. Compared to a typical grocery store tortilla chip (you know the crappy ones I’m talking about), these are much tastier and worth the price for the small bag as a splurge.
Rating: Buy … as a special treat for yourself, but not an economical chip if you’re throwing a party.
- Have you tasted these products and have an opinion? I want to hear it! Have something else you want me to taste test? Let me know in the comments!