Where have you been hiding, Trader Joe's?

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. :slight_smile:

I agree with you. I live in Northern Virginia and I go to the Trader Joe’s near Seven Corners. I love the exotic chicken simmer sauces and the fresh meals in the deli section. It’s great to try out exotic foods at reasonable prices.

I luuuuuuurve Trader Joe’s. They’ve always had great prices on good wines and I’ve always loved their interesting and funky selection of goods. Their frozen foods have always been a mainstay in my freezer, and I always seem to eat well when I shop there.

While the SO’s out of town this week, I should pick up some nibbles from there tonight…

Yeah, Trader Joe’s is good. My wife is one of the foremost cheese experts in the entire world. We recently went to Cabaret party in Paris with trapeze artists playing above the tables. I was seated next to the president of Trader Joes’s. I told him how much people liked his stores. He knew.

Wow! Blast from the past.

I remember visiting a buddy in Los Angeles 20 years ago(I think). He took me to Trader Joes. What a place.

Seeing as how my parents live next to Seven Corners, I’ll put them on to it. I can’t believe I was in Arlington three weeks ago but didn’t know about it. Thanks.

Well, I’m going to weigh in for the opposition, because the worst eating of my life happened while my mother was shopping at Trader Joe’s. It was somewhere between little health-food store and mass-market food, with the benefits of neither. Ugh.

They have Trader Joe’s -outside- California?!

(Ashy hopes they open one in Utah somewhere!)

Sigh Sniff

I so miss Trader Joe’s. Hooterville (where I am currently exiled) does not have Trader Joe’s. I grew up with Trader Joe’s. I took Trader Joe’s for granted. Now, no more Trader Joe’s.

Whenever I visit home (L.A.) I stock up on Trader Joe’s stuff. Everything thinks I’m nuts, but life in Hooterville is just a little more tolerable with some Trader Joe’s products in the house.

A favorite is the Ghiradelli Chocolate “UFOs” (mint chocolate jumbo chips. TO DIE FOR!). And the Asian crackers, and some of the boxed mixes. Unfortunately, I am limited to choosing non-perishable items to take back with me. I usually pack several large boxes with Trader Joe’s stuff, and UPS it back to myself. I don’t care if it’s expensive, it is essential to my peace of mind.

Also, each Christmas, the folks back home send all of us here in Hooterville “Trader Joe’s Care Packages”. That’s all we want. Trader Joe’s stuff.

So, please. Keep describing the food items. I miss them so. It’s nice just reading about them. (And no, last I checked, Trader Joe’s won’t mail order. Drat.)

Ashtar: No, I don’t think they’re in Utah yet. Check Trader Joe’s site, (traderjoes.com, I think).

Samclem, I’m very bad at giving street directions, so I’m going to tell you to go to www.allnva.com. You’ll be able to get driving directions there.

Myrr21 is obviously suffering from some sort of insanity.

“Where have you been hiding?” Heck, there are two Trader Joe’s within walking distance of my apartment!

The one thing I always buy at Trader Joe’s is their French Roast coffee. 1-3/4 pound can for under eight bucks – and it’s good! Another one of my favourites is the cocoa-rolled chocolate covered almonds. The sweetness of the chocolate, the bitterness of the cocoa, the nuttitness of the nuts… Oh, yass! And let’s not forget the dolmas! Rice, tomatoes and garlid wrapped in olive oil soaked grape leaves. Mmmmm. Veggie burgers are good, and so are the burritos (both corpse-laden and non-corpse). The cheeses have already been mentioned. I bought a selection with one of their baguettes for snacking on when my vegetarian friends dropped by.

Great prices on liquor, and a good selection. The bad news is that if I were an alcoholic, I’d be in trouble. The good news is I rarely drink alcohol. the bad news is I rarely drink alcohol.

I was going to go there this weekend, but somehow I never got around to it. Now I wish I had. I like their bread.


There’s a Trader Joe’s in Columbus, OH. http://www.traderjoes.com/locations/map/672.asp

medstar NOt only are you bad at giving directions, you are bad with the names of malls. :slight_smile:

Unless I miss my guess, you meant to say that there was one near Tyson’s or Bailey’s Crossroads., not Seven Corners. Of course, they could have built one and not added it to their web site…http://www.traderjoes.com/locations/index.asp

I really appreciate the info.

Well, yeah, but you live on the Left Coast, and they’ve only just recently infiltrated states east of Arizona. So to people like me who’ve never lived in a state that didn’t border the Atlantic, TJ’s is a new thing. :slight_smile:

If I wasn’t on a diet…

Haven’t seen them. I’m gonna have to look for them next time I’m there.

That’s one of those things that’s dependent on state liquor laws. I’m going to have to go to their Alexandria store soon to check out the wine selection.

That’s gotta be rough, and I’m not being facetious. Like I said, four visits and I already can’t imagine life without it.

How long a drive is it? Put a big cooler and some blue ice in your trunk, and you ought to be able to get frozen stuff home if it’s not 14 hours or so.

And have I mentioned their peanut butter? As in, nothin’ but ground-up peanuts, the way God intended? Heavenly. :):):slight_smile:

I’ll just throw in a few desserts for good measure:

Tofutti–little “ice cream” sandwiches that are actually non-dairy.

Mochi–Japanese ice cream balls with an edible coating; the chocolate and strawberry are good; haven’t gotten to the mango or green tea…yet.

I just spotted a package of miniature chocolate Bundt cakes covered with chocolate chips. And someday they will be mine.

Mmmmm…Trader Joe’s…

This whole thread is making me hungry; why I read threads that have something to do with food when I don’t want to eat too much is beyond me.

It appears that the closest ones to me are in Washington, but with the exchange rate the way it is, I’m going to have to settle for reading all your lovely descriptions!

Darn it! Thanks to this thread, I just had to go out to the local Trader Joe’s and drop some cash. Trader Joe’s Corn Chowder…mmmm.

My stomach thanks you, but my wallet isn’t so sure.

Doh! Forgot about that. In California you can get whiskey in the corner market or supermarket. Or Rite-Aid. That’s something I’ll have to get used to when I move. Beer and wine are sold in the supermarket in Washington, but spirits aren’t. As I said, I don’t drink much alcohol; but there are times when a nice shot of Jeagermeister is nice. (Hm. Seems like I just had one in early February…) Anyway, if the state allows you to exercise your right of free drinking, Trader Joe’s wines are pretty good, and they’re cheap.

One thing I had at TJ’s that I didn’t really care for was the soy ice cream. It wasn’t bad, but I’m not much of an ice cream fan anyway.

There are a couple of things they carried back in the '80s that I miss. One is the escargots in the shells. Just heat’n’eat! Man, those were good. Then there was the “merguez” (?) sausage. I think it was made from lamb, and it was loaded with garlic and cayenne pepper.

No Pudge brownie mix can be found there. Fairly fairly good fat free brownies.

& if I weren’t on the diet, I’d have picked up spanakopita earlier today, a few pieces would be one thing - but there you are, and there’s the tray full of spanakopita & then, suddenly there’s the empty aluminum tray.

That said, perhaps it’s that I live in an area with fairly decent grocery stores and/or that I’m a really picky eater (and therefore most of every grocery store is inedible to me). But, I could live without them.

It’s nice - but it always seems as though I can get almost everything there somewhere else. …

The finest source of high quality, low priced junk food I’ve found. No sulfites in most of it, too, so the only death I risk eating it remains in the less-immediate future.

Try the Snapeas. Ingredients: Peas, oil, rice, and salt. Shaped like peapods and baked. At best they sound tasteless and gross. That’s good because it means there are more for those of us who know how delicious they are.

I love, love, LOVE Trader Joe’s, and I got Spiny Norman hooked on them, too. I love the atmosphere - very “Mom & Pop”, but “gourmet” at the same time.

It’s the only place I’ve ever been able to buy frozen asparagus spears. Not only are they cheaper than fresh, but they cook up just as good as fresh, and last longer in my house, too!

And I love how they stamp each individual egg in the carton with “best when used by such-and-such date.”

Their imported wine section far surpasses not only the chain grocery stores, but liquor stores, as well.

Now I’m very, very hungry.

Trader Joes is one of our few retail shrines. Excellent under $10 wines; killer rice pudding; rich organic jams from Italy, and cheap deoderant. Can’t beat that.