To put it in perspective from the start: I’ve been to Trader Joe’s exactly four times now. And I would sooner give up Google :eek: than give up Trader Joe’s.
That’s not hyperbole. I coud go back to Yahoo! and Lycos searches, painful as that would be, more easily than to go back to pre-TJ’s grocery shopping.
For the uninitiated, it’s a chain of funky grocery stores that started in the Los Angeles area, and has only recently made its way east. In DC area vocabulary, it’s got Fresh Fields stuff at Food Lion prices. I don’t know how they pull that off, but I’m not asking.
For the past couple months, my wife and I have been practically living off of stuff from their frozen foods section, from Spanakopita to Chicken Biryani to chimichangas. I think my favorite is their Peanut Satay Chicken. For between $2 and $2.50, you can get frozen entrees that are better than anything most of us could cook for ourselves. Including a pretty good selection of vegetarian/vegan entrees.
They’ve got their own branded cereals. They’re both cheaper and better than the stuff in the mainline grocery stores.
Their coffees are wonderful.
They’ve got frozen veggies like nobody else. Shrimp. Crab and lobster cakes. All at prices that real people can afford.
Great produce. Excellent cheeses.
What they don’t do is try to have everything that everybody might want. The one store of theirs that I’ve been to (Annapolis) is small, and I gather that’s the norm. They have stuff they like, and they’re sharing it with you, thinking you might like it too. So they don’t completely replace a standard grocery, but despite their limited selection, they come pretty damned close.
Shopping there is fun, because you never know what funky, interesting stuff you might find. Shopping at Safeway or Lion Food is just a chore.
I also love their chatty monthly newsletter.
Excuse me, gotta go. Think dinner tonight is Massaman Chicken. From Trader Joe’s.