I saw this package of Trader Joe’s “BAVARIAN BRATWURST” sausages the other day, and they looked worth trying for review. They were indeed worth trying; These sausages are terrific! This is is an excellent product that I would gladly buy again.

It’s labeled PRODUCT OF GERMANY (a plus) as well as NO NITRATES OR NITRITES – (“uncured”) another plus. Originally for Oktoberfest, theses super tasty sausages are made from pork, water and spices…a really impressive quantity and variety of exotic spices. It’s these well-balanced spices and unique flavor profile which make these sausages quite different from say, the flavor of your typical Italian sausage or typical American “Brat”. The spices include: black pepper, marjoram, nutmeg, mace, ginger, coriander, and cardamon. Reading this spice list sounded to me like Xmas spices, and though this would be nice for some meal around Xmas time (or Oktoberfest!) But of course these are great any time of the year if you see them. The sausages come “fully cooked” so only need browning up till golden brown and delicious quickly. They’re ready in about 8 minutes.

What I did with these was grill them up in a little butter with sautéed potatoes and onions. I served this classic combination with some really nice red cabbage in a jar (from Poland) I had just happened to find in a 99 cents store (!)  The Bratwurst and Potatoes were of course perfect together and and actually became a Christmas Eve dinner along with the red cabbage and nice German beer, and bread, and everything matched up perfectly for a small German-style feast.

But if you want simple these also great just grilled and put on a hot dog bun, brioche bun, or crusty roll or baguette with good mustard and sauerkraut, Classic style. All year, not just at holiday time.

A 12 oz package with 4 decent sized sausages is $3.99 (a buck each). So I’d say this is another pretty good deal from TJ’s and more than worth your trying. When I saw these it was holiday season, and was not sure if this is available all year, or if its seasonal (Update: I just found them in the summer so I think yes carried all year?) If you cooked these on a grill in summertime, it would be a huge hit I would think! You could try them with potatoes as I did or go the Easy route, mustard and sauerkraut.

WHAT GOES WITH THESE?  Pretty obvious… get the excellent sauerkraut Trader Joe’s sells that will go perfectly with these sausages! And Dijon mustard (I would get the Grainy). Or brown if you must. And an ORGANIC BAGUETTE 



A NO-RECIPE RECIPE: Cut up some potatoes and par-boil them for 5-10 minutes in salted water, till just almost tender. Drain them and sauté them with onions till golden brown in olive or veg. oil and a little butter for extra flavor. Make some room in the center of the potatoes and grill up the sausages 4-5 mins a side until GB&D. I slash them slightly. Serve with good mustard. Cold beer would of course not be amiss with these Bavarian Bratwursts.




Trader Joe’s Artisan Bagels

Trader Joe’s Artisan Bagels:

These were a fairly recent addition I noticed in TJ’s BREADS area. They looked promising and so I had to try them.

Now of course Trader Joe’s sells many other kinds of bagels. I’ve bought the “The Bagel Spinoza” (with that weird picture with ’it bagels the mind’ as the motto… huh?) a few times but frankly found  them to be seriously in the “Just OK”Department. As usual in many commercially factory made bagels, The Bagel Spinoza does not have anywhere near the real chewy texture and bite of the classic, true “New York Bagel”. Why? Well a real and true bagel is made by a rather unorthodox baking method of both, boiling and then baking it. Yes, you read that right…BOILING (bread). To make a true bagel, after the bagel is formed into the round shape which is best by hand, aka a ’Hand Rolled’ bagel, the raw dough is thrown into boiling water and first BOILED for a few minutes prior to being put in the oven and baked (sounds crazy maybe but seriously folks, that is exactly how real bagels are made).

This classic technique is what makes a real bagel very chewy on the inside and slightly crusty on the outside, and what makes a really good bagel taste and feel so good to bite into, and so damn bagel-y delicious. The dual cooking process gives bagels a unique combination of chewy interior plus baked exterior.

Trader Joe’s Artisanal Bagels look like true real NY bagels, and it boldly states on the rather attractively designed bag, both “Kettle Boiled” and “Hand Shaped”. Not to mention the golden words: “BAKED IN NYC – baked fresh daily”.  Naturally I had to try these babies. Guess what? They are damn fine, tasty bagels. Far better than your average store-bought bagels.

Personally unless I will be using them immediately, I usually freeze my bagels soon after buying them, cutting them in half  first (carefully of course!) so they are easier to handle and faster to defrost after being frozen. I generally tend to toast my bagels in the a.m, and these TJ real bagels make for an excellent toasted bagel. TJ’s Artisanal Bagels come 3 in a bag, and they sell for $1.99, at least in my area, NYC. They come in a few varieties. I liked the “Everything bagel” which has poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic,and onion. You should definitely try these if they are available in your area; I’m not sure since they are “Baked in NYC” if they ship all over the country, but if you see them, try them.

FROM THE PACKAGE:  “Made from scratch by experienced craftspeople, our Artisan Bagles are hand-rolled and kettle-boilded using the highest quality ingredients.  Master bagel makers spend hours preparing the dough, hand shaping each bagel, then kettle-boiling in small batches, never taking shortcuts that might shortchange quality.”


Nutritional Info: 1 bagel, 5 oz.= 370 calories