Saturday, January 3, 2009

Trader Joe's

I have recently become a big fan of the grocery store Trader Joe's. Unfortunately for me there is only one in the Cincinnati area and it is nowhere near to where I live (about a 45 minute drive). When I make a trip I have to be organized and shop with a list. On my first visit I spent about 3 hours wandering the aisles and picking one of almost everything. When the bill totaled $180 I knew I had gone overboard but I really wanted to try some new things and besides, I did have 8 bottles of wine in my cart. Trader Joe's is unlike your typical grocery store. It is surprisingly small and they carry few brand name products. They have one or two store brand items of almost anything you need. I think what sets them apart is that their products are of superior quality, they use a lot of organic ingredients and they are very reasonably priced, usually cheaper than name brand products at the bigger stores. According to their website, " Our logo assures that the products it is on contain NO artificial flavors, colors or preservatives; NO MSG; and NO added Trans Fats. In addition, ALL Trader Joe's private label products are sourced from non-genetically modified ingredients.". If you are on a special diet, for example low sodium or gluten free, there are signs that indicate products that fit that criteria. Their very helpful website also has lists of these products. Many of their items are convenience foods which kind of goes against my desire to make everything from scratch but some things I am just unwilling to go through all the work to make, like gyozas (potstickers) and samosas. They have a good selection of gourmet cheese at very reasonable prices, beautiful fresh flowers, and a huge dried fruit and nut section. They also have a great selection of wine besides their famous 2 Buck Chuck, which is now I think about 3.49. We haven't yet tried everything I bought that first trip but here is a list of the items we have tried and love. As we try more I will add them to the list. Let me know what foods you like. I'm always open to new things and would love an excuse to make the drive :-)

Thai lemongrass chicken stix
Chicken empanaditas
Samosas (my favorite)
Gyozas (my 17 year old's favorite)
Frozen basil and cilantro
Dried hibiscus flowers
Lacey's dark chocolate almond cookies
Rice noodle soup bowls
Just Clusters ginger granola
Roasted almond butter (my 19 year old's favorite)
Smooth and Mellow blend coffee
Triple ginger snaps (my other favorite)
Tuscan style spaghetti sauce
Gyoza dipping sauce
Sweet chili sauce (I mix the 2 together to dip the gyozas in)
Italian truffle cheese
Montchevre goat cheese trio
Vinho Verde white wine
All natural peppermint toothpaste
Unscented deodorant (aluminum and paraben free)
Pure castile soap

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
J.R.R. Tolkien


The Adoption Journey of Baby King said...

I love Trader Joe's. We received a gift card for Christmas and the closest one to us is an hour drive. But, well worth the drive.

Brenda Fuentes said...

Try "Simply the Best Trek Mix". It has Cashews, Almonds, Pineapple, Cranberries, & Tart Cherries. Be is addicting!

jason said...

I'm curious to hear about the wines. How were they? Which was your favorite? Here are my current favorites in Trader Joe's Wine.

Marlene Picton said...

Hi Jason! I read your post on Trader Joe's wine and I wish I had your recommendations before I shopped. Of the 8 wines I bought the only one I bought again was the Vinho Verde. I'm a big fan of "bubbly" and enjoyed the slight fizzyness of this wine. I also really like white wine and for $5 it's a bargain. My only problem with it is it goes down like Koolaid! The others were not memorable one way or the other. They were La Ferme Julien Rose, Condesa De Sarabella Viura, Rene Barbier white, La Boca Cabernet, JW Morris Gewurztraminer and Il Valore Primitivo Zinfandel. The next time I make a trip to TJs I'll print your post. Thanks!