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Trader Joe rec's

Currently chowing my way through another visit to New York. Yesterday, as I was meandering around Union Square, I noticed a bunch of people carrying Trader Joe's bags. I've seen Trader Joe's products mentioned countless times on this board but never had the pleasure of visiting a store. I followed the bags and found a jam-packed store - I never realized that the store was 80% TJ products. Now I get it. Anyway, before I head back to Toronto, I figured I'd pick up a few (non-perishable) items/ingredients to take back with me - what are your favourites?


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  1. I suggest you go next door to Trader Joe's wine store and bring your carry home from there. Some great bargains and good guidance from staff.

    1. These are only approximate names as I remember them now. Be sure to check their Fearless Flyer either online or at the store for a description of some new or old products.

      Black Olive Tapenade
      Balsamic Vinegar - the one in a squat squarish bottle with a red label
      Squat round jar of Roasted Red Pepper Spread
      Dundee Orange Marmalade - it's an opaque white jar
      Soup cartons - Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato, Spicy Roasted Corn or something like that
      Baked Pita Chips - I like either sesame or cinnamon flavor
      Don't miss the dried fruit and nut section - Honey Sesame Cashews are awesome; Dried Mission Figs feature regularly in salads in my home as do Raw Pignolas;
      Single Origin Chocolate bars
      Organic, Shade Grown and Fair Trade Certified Ethiopian Coffee - I was grinding can of these beans one time and another shopper stopped to ask which one it was.
      Cookies in clear plastic boxes - Triple Ginger Snap or something like that, Pecan Crunch, Almond Double Chocolate Chunk
      I love their Raspberry Vinaigrette - but it is in the refridgerated section. :(

      Lemme know if you'll have more space in your luggage! :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: sweetTooth

        Wow that's some list! I actually stay around union square funny how my cousins never mentioned Trader Joe's...Well then again they're a decade younger than me so they're not really hounding down serious chow!
        I'll be partaking in your upcoming American Thanksgiving so let me start the fasting now coz I'll be feasting on all those treats that we canadians are deprived of!

        As for refrigerated stuff I actaully brought back some Mango salsa from Costco/club price Heck it was winter so i figured it would be ahright, besides I flew back that time. That list just got me salivating... Okay time for some doldrum breakfast :)

      2. Their dried fruits are really good too.

        Try the "smashed bananas" and the chilli-spiced mango.

        They also make a very good prochuitto marinara sauce, if it's available.

        1. Oh how I miss Trader Joes's! Love their huge jars of olives...

          1. My new discovery is their Ceasar Salad Dressing with egg and anchovies, in the refrigerated section -- the BEST!!

            1. I'm a sucker for Trader Joe's junk food:

              --goat cheese and herb potato chips
              --3 cheese potato chips
              --chocolate-covered, peanut-butter-filled pretzel nuggets



              1. As I have stated in a couple of posts, i just do not get the love affair with TJ. But on my way to poker I needed a place to buy some root beer and TJ staring me in the face. In I go.

                Not a great selection of RB but Boylan;s diet into the cart. Then I see the Joe Joe's and remember people liking them. So what the heck into the cart. Not so great with root beer, but brought home with me.

                Next day DW, daughter and I give them a taste test. They are actually pretty good. Read the ingredients and agree that the stuff they are made from ain't so bad.

                So i am becoming a TJ I give it a tumble for certain items.

                BTW - I will NEVER get there buying frozen fish.

                1. Their hot & sour soup in a jar has outstanding flavor. I heat it up a bit with some hot sesame oil, but then I do that to a lot of things. But even straight out of the jar it's possible the tastiest pre-made soup you can buy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BobB

                    -Pork Potstickers are good and super cheap
                    -Chicken Burritos
                    -Chicken Lo Mein
                    -Mini choco chip cookies
                    -Rack of Lamb
                    -Vitamin water is cheaper than most places

                  2. The wine is a steal compared to Canada (especially for California wines). I bring my two allowed bottles every time I cross the border - which is often. I stock up on lots of other things too, I'll just mention a "few" of the easy-to-pack items ;)

                    I'll second the tapenades though I usually get the green olive one
                    vidalia onion relish
                    orange-muscat vinegar
                    wild rice
                    saffron and vanilla bean
                    dried fruits (I use them in scones, oatmeal - bluberries, berry mix, etc.)
                    Chili-lime peanuts (and other nuts)
                    chocolate-covered fruit
                    stollen (if they have the holiday items out), small box, easy to carry.

                    1. really love the chili spiced mango. But don't have TJ's in my part of the country. wondering if anyone has a recipe that replicates the flavor and texture of TJ's stuff. I can get hold of all the ingredients except the citric acid, but can't figure the right combination of paprika (I assume hungarian, which is hotter), sugar, salt, cayenne. Any suggestions?

                      1. -For snacking, TJ's honey sesame sticks are addicting! I had to stop buying them because I'd eat too much of them.
                        -Also, their truffle oils are inexpensive (~$10) compared to other stores.
                        -Mexican One Pot Chili (in a glass jar) is pretty good w/ some cornbread (which TJ's sells). I add ground turkey and some beans/veggies to the chili and then doctor it up with some honey and some extra chilis (like New Mexican chilis).
                        -TJ's spices are limited in varieties but generally cheaper than grocery stores.
                        -No-sugar-added fruit jams are good