Trader Joes Suggestions Anyone???
I will be taking a trip into the city a couple times this month picking up the relations from the airport. That means a major shopping spree at Trader Joe's. Anyone have any suggestions on what to buy there? I always pick up the same goodies so I would love suggestions of favorite finds from fellow Chowhounds. I am uo for anything and will be bringing a mammoth cooler!!! Food,wine, household goods... anything!
some of my random faves:
fage total greek yogurt (other stores carry it now, but tj's is still the cheapest)
reduced fat santorini salad dressing
thai chili-lime peanuts (actually, all their nuts & dried fruit rock!)
honestly, your best bet is to take your time ambling up & down the aisles, browsing all the items. i usually stumble upon new & interesting cheeses, condiments, cereals & snacks when i do it that way. depending on the location, some stores also have a dedicated "new products" kiosk (it's typically near the coffee grinders and/or wine section). you can always check out the latest stuff there.
Here's my list of favorites at Trader Joe's AND whole Foods!
Crackers and chips:
Stoned wheat thins
Parmesan pita toasts
Blue bag potato chips
Trader Giotto crostini (best crackers for cheese I have found)
Mini multi seed rice crackers
Snap Pea Crisps ( i am completely and helplessly addicted)
Stir fry snow pea mix
French green beans(HARICOTS VERTS- stir fry these; do not blanch))
Mandarin orange chicken (in a pinch) ; Stir fry Citrus Chicken
Chicken spring rolls- both Coconut and Lemongrass types
Tamales- Grn chili and cheese, and Chicken
Mini Beef Tacos ( i have detested all their other frozen mexican products- skimpy fillings and poorly flavored)
Tr Joe’s Spinach Pie (not Filo Factory version)
TJ's eggplant parm in filo (good flavor but yes it is mushy)
Artichoke hearts(nuke 2 min.; much better than in jar)
Tarte d'Alsace w/ gruyere and ham(what a tremendous product)
Calamari rings( good for quick protein/seafood addition to a soup or entree)
Indian(vaccuum packed in foil pouches in box):
Eggplant ; Dal ; etc.
Niman ham/corned beef
Cilantro lime noodle salad
Spinach, red chili, flour tortillas
Mexican layered dip
3 layered Hoomus
North Atlantic (navy label)smoked salmon
Grated parm in navy blue bag(watch out- this can go moldy)
Aged Old amsterdam gouda w/ black rind
Goat cheese crumbles(for salads)
Greek yoghurt w/ honey on the side
Greek tzatziki yoghurt sauce
Pate in mini loaf- shaped crock
Triple ginger gingersnaps in tub
All nuts/ roasted sunflower seeds
Thai chili lime cashews
Raspberry chocolate trail mix
Dark chocolate bars- the single source ,and the larger tr joes bittersweet and extra dark ones( i use all these for baking)
Cans and Jars:
Canned hearts of palm( neat addition to salads; though some of theirs are too fibrous)
Thai Coconut, Mojito and Moroccan simmer sauces
Vodka marinara sauce
Salsa with corn and black beans
Black truffle oil (better than the other cheap[less than $25] ones i've tried)
Black tea unsweetened, in jug (the bottled one is better but more exp.)
WHOLE FOODS MARKET:
Seeds of Change 7Grain Pilaf(TREMENDOUS ), and Cilantro Quinoa
Casbah Saffron Jasmine Rice
Casbah? Moroccan Rice w/Lentils ,and Couscous w/Lentils and Tomatoes
Barbara's Cheese Puffs in White Bag (the ONLY great cheese puffs i have ever found);
Frontera Chipotle Lime Tortilla Chips
Blue Moon sorbets- grapefruit campari, and peach melba
V cornmeal pizza crusts (TREMENDOUS;the ONLY pizza crust for me,but i pre-bake 7 min. before topping)
Nature's Touch veggie patties- vegetable medley and spicy black bean- good low carb starch
Rudolph’s Whole Rye Bread, brown wrapper- The most toothsome hearty Rye bread i have found -for toast- not sandwiches)
Pigs Fly- Dark Rye , Harvest
Iggy's- all theirs but especially Francese(though the holes are a drag)
Vosges Bars- esp. Red Fire Bar and the Barcelona with salt and smoked almonds
Newman's own peanut butter cups
Orange Choc. bar :Black and Green, and Chocolove
Red pepper and feta spread in jar
Vermont cheese co. lightly salted or unsalted butter in yellow paper-wrapped tube
bruderbasel smoked cheese- for pizza
Parmesan (their new wisconsin parm is very very good, as cheaper alternative to the expensive italian ones)
Danish feta in a jar (with herbed marinade which can be used to marinade lamb or chicken or beef; add red wine vinegar first)
Fresh ravioli- Smoked mozzarella and Red pepper; and Lobster; and Pea and mascarpone
Cilantro pesto (Bear pond farm)
Lifeway Raspberry Kefir
Cindy's: Chipotle ranch, Cilantro, Deeply Roasted Sesame, Greek with Feta and Olive,
(Cindy’s Ranch and Creamy Miso need work)
365 Peanut Sauce (for peanut noodle salad)
Trout, Skate ( both are very flavorful fresh fish that won't break the bank)
Charlie Trotter's 2 gravlax types
Frozen minced clams
Whole foods teriyaki orange marinade next to seafood
Assorted Chicken Sausages
The best deli Corned Beef i have had
Sesame Noodle salad
Guacamole-not low fat
Red pepper hoomus
Teryaki Chicken Wings
Corn chowder(i add cooked shrimp, smoked and regular scallops,clam juice, cilantro and pesto to this)
Clam chowder(i add more clams, and corn to this)
Tomato fennel soup (i add cooked wheatberries or brown and wild rice, and/or chopped ham to this)
Butternut Squash Soup
Mixed sprouts- for salad
Arrowhead crunchy peanut butter and almond butter
Maple syrup- (grade B for stronger flavor)
They are the only ones who carry my fav curry powder-Sun brand Madras-in small gold square can- TONS better than any other brand,(even from Indian food stores).
Flours, Grains, Spices, Dried Fruit
Ginger Chew candies
My lord! I may have to seek out a Whole Foods. There is a market similar to Whole Foods in Poulsbo (WA) on the way home. I may try to find some items on your list there. I am still trying to get over the fact that some TJ's have delis! None of mine do! I mourn.
So far I am definitely going for greek yogurt, santorini dressing, chili lime nuts, both coconut and lemongrass spring rolls, mushroom rav's, tj spinach pie, tarte d'alsace (OMG) and calamari rings. I just read off my list so sorry about misspellings. Luckily I have a cavernous freezer!
I am still in shock over TJ's having a deli! I am beginning to think my loved ones who shop there have been sheltering me. GASP!
You had to mention those Pea Pods????? I had JUST purged then from my memory! I could gorge myself on those crunchy bits of heaven. I have tried the calamari steaks, Curious about the rings...
re: Wanda Fuca
Poulsbo - would that be Central Market? I haven't been to that one, but do shop at the Shoreline and Mill Creek ones every now and then. There's a lot of overlap in character between these and Whole Foods. The only Seattle Whole Foods that I'm aware of is in Ravena/North University district.
If you cross over on the Edmonds ferry, consider stopping at 99 Ranch, a large California/Asian grocery on hwy 99 (used to be a Kmart).
I'm close enough to a Traders to shop there regularly, buying things as much for price as uniqueness.
- handmade flour tortillas (best around)
- cereal selection, like healthfood shops, but much cheaper
- nuts - good selection and prices
- baking items - oat bran, ground almonds, King Arthur flour
- 69cent pastas; also wide italian style noodles
- frozen vegies, I especially like the green beans from France
- good price on eggs, butter
- chocolate, esp. the lb plus bars
I used to get most of my cheese at Traders, but get less because prices have gone up. Central has a pretty good selection of cheese. The Mill Creek one often has a lot of cheese samples. There's a Thriftway on Ballinger Way (north Shoreline) that has a good cheese selection as well. There's also a cheese monger in downtown Edmonds.
For a massive selection of hot sauces, and bargin prices on cheeses and lunch meats try DD Meats in 'downtown' Mountlake Terrace.
re: Wanda Fuca
-Pita Chips (multigrain with sesame seeds or sea salt)
-Joe Joes (like Oreos, but better...they have the Candy Cane ones right now...yum!)
-Banana Crisps (if you can find them....we haven't had them in our MD store in awhile...NOT the chips, but the crisps)
-Truffle Brownie mix
-Simmer Sauces for a quick meal
-Pound Plus Chocolate Bars
-Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (in a box...really good)
Wow, what great recs so far. I love the frozen vegies and fruits from T.J. and since your going to take a cooler, you will be able to buy some. I don't buy many other frozen items from there, but do like the nosi-goree(sp), which is a indo vegie/rice mix. The wheat tortilla shells , pizza dough, chocolates,cookies and the cheeses are pretty good too. I love the vinho verde white wine. Shave is a great product,which was gone for a while, but is now back. As the op said, look around,you'll find plenty of things to try.
Frozen food: If you like Mexican food you should try the roasted vegetable enchiladas (no cheese) or the chicken burritos. It's not gourmet food but a tasty frozen entree when you come back from work and are too exhausted to cook. Any of the frozen Japanese gyoza is done really well. Salmon patties are also really good along with the chicken drummettes.
Soup: Tomato and red pepper soup, and the roasted corn and red pepper soup! Stay far far away from the canned soups, though. not worth it.
Snacks: the nuts and trail mix! Stay away from the hummus (too lemony IMHO). Pita chips, soy chips - all done reall well. The snack bars (apple, strawberry, trail mix-type) are not any better than the ones in the regular grocery stores.
I'm surprised about the reactions regarding their hummus. I regularly get their garlic or spicy versions. In my Middle Eastern cookbook, the hummus recipe calls for 2-3 lemons or to taste. This is one of those dishes where 'to taste' is very important, whether it be the lemon, the garlic, the salt or the oil.
But hummus is also an item that is readily available in regular groceries.
Many of the good prepared items the Traders sells are produced in Europe. I like the strong dijon mustard from France. Their 'nutella' copy is from Turkey, in a hexagonal jar. Their dried tomato bruschetta is also from Turkey in the same shape jar. I also like their plastic tub of Sicilian dried tomotes in oil.
In fact, when I starting shopping at Traders a number of years ago, that's what stood out - the private label import items.
None of y'all have mentioned the whole, peeled, plum tomatoes (TJ's brand), which at $.99 for a 28-oz. can is a terrific deal. I get the no salt version because I prefer to do my own seasoning, but the must-buy appeal for me is the quality of the tomatoes and the juice in which they're packed. The juice is thick, not thin and watery, and the tomatoes taste like (gasp!) tomatoes. Highly recommended.
To go along with the whole peeled plum tomatoe sthat Xanthippe recommends, I suggest the fresh lasange noodles in the refrigerated section. Believe it or not these are a seasonal item at TJ's (not sure what "season" but they are here now)--they are great quality and a good price.
I like most of their trail mixes, dried fruit (especially the dried pineapple), nuts. Some of the frozen dinners. We especially like the samosas, both veggie and shrimp tempura, chicken masala. Tofutti cutie "ice cream" sandwiches.
Their cheeses are good. Particularly fond of their yogurt cheese.
Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, all with no trans fat.
Good price on the Hansen's soda if you like them. Same thing with the canned kalamata olives.
Love their prepacked salad mixes too. Tomatoes on the vine.
We like their hummus and always get the assorted 4 pack for parties along with some Stacy's pita chips.
In the pasta section of Trader Joe's: Italian Egg Noodles. They are thick and delicious...nothing like you have ever tried. In the bakery section of Trader Joe's: High Protein Banana chocolate chip muffins. 100 calories a piece.
In Whole Foods frozen foods: Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers ... the best.
i personally am NOT a fan of any tr j mex products EXCEPT their mini beef taquitos and their tamales; i've found their othet mex frozen products to be dreadful. same with their froz tempura and potstickers. and the first time i had their carne asada i thought it was good, but the next time it was way too salty (and i do like salt). i wish their pnut butter were good, but it cannot compare with arrowhead mills pnut and almond butters from whole foods. but remember,they will give you back your money for anything you didn't LIKE, no questions asked (same smart policy at whole foods). this policy enables you to try new things and not feeled ripped off if you didn't like them.
Try the organic Aronia berry juice ($3.99 qt.)with a shot of Blue Italy sparkling mineral H20 (.99)& a squeeze of a Tj's Key lime ($1.99 a bag).
Incredibly thirst-quenching, habit forming and completely overloaded with anti-oxidants. More than cranberry, blueberry or pomegranate-and tastes way better.
Also on my weekly TJ hit list are the dried pet aisle chicken breast strips for psycho-pooch. Super fresh and a must-buy to prevent "man's best friend" going postal.
kelvin- i will definitely check it out... i hope they sell the aronia berry juice here in cowtown!
i also can't get enough of that addictive cilantro salad dressing they have in the refrigerated section... yum! Strangely, it doesn't taste much like cilantro, but it's so good.
My TJs is out of the candy cane JoJos, when I asked about them, they said that they are out of stock and not expected to be back in at all.
The peppermint bark that have is also wonderful and a great price!! 6.99 for the tin of (i think) a pound. It's also out of stock at my Tjs, but they said that they ARE expecting to get that back in.
Regarding the sparkling pomegranate juice -- it's wonderful. Super good with vodka. Very holiday-ish we thought.
I had a cocktail party last night. I was completely last minute and 6 people converged on my home with only about 2 hours to prepare. I headed to Tjs and basically, it was a Tj's party.
I had fresh tomatoes from the farmers market, so I bought the organic basil and marinated mozzerella (bite sized), a baguette, mixed olive tapenade, the red bell pepper and eggplant spread that I adore. I made crostini and topped it with these spreads. Also did an assortment of pita, veggies and hummus from TJ's.
i haven't had the shumai, but i've had the japanese gyoza. they're pretty good as long as you boil them and use them as gyoza in soup. fried up, they're not so tasty. if you're looking for tasty pot stickers (fried) you're better off to get to your nearest chinese grocery story and buy a bag - they're probably going to be cheaper there anyway. :)
Thanks for the headsup. Will pass on these. HAte to buy it, and then ahve to return it. I loke almost all of their products- but did not care for the baked brie. I guess it was my own fault- I mean how difficult is it to wrap it on phyllo and bake it myself! But- did get a full refund with no questions.
i'm a big fan..i mean BIG FAN of their peanut-butter filled pretzels. they come in salty and not salty varieties, so take your pick. they're the most satisfying and STUFFING salty snack, so you usually can't eat more than two cups or so at a time. and delicious! perfect if you love peanut butter.
Me too, you might be better off to ask what not to buy. The list will be smaller.
They are just a great store, and part of the fun for me is to try new things. I love their pastas and cheese aisle. Oh and the bread baskets, ohhhh and the fresh produce too...The frozen food section has got to be one of the most enticing stolls. I can spend days in that store.
Sweet White Corn (White Bag)
Frozen Coho Canadian Salmon Filets
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Cheese Enchilada's in the Green Package
Aaron's Kosher Chicken
Cilantro Lime Dressing
Cream Top Black Cherry Yogurt
Green Label TJ's Marinara in Cans
Soy Vey Teriyaki Marinade
Organic Spagetti Noodles
White chedder popcorn
Chile Lime Pistacios
French lime-aid type drinks
Raw hide chews for the pooch
Grapefruit salt scrub in the soap aisle
A friend introduced me to the frozen risotto - at first I thought she was nuts, but now I'm addicted. I get the mushroom risotto, add some TJ frozen asparagus and a few of the TJ frozen artichoke hearts and then sprinkle the shaved parmesan. Love that!
I also love those Triple Ginger cookes! If you like tart cherries, they have bags of Montmorency cherries that are fabulous to much on straight or toss into oatmeal.
We were at dinner at a friend's house friday and she brought out some Marcona Almonds with Rosemary and Sea Salt she'd picked up at TJ's. I had never had these before (don't know if they're new or not) but they were DELICIOUS. I nearly stole the package from the pantry to bring home as a doggie bag!
And it must be said again - the Candy Cane JoJo's this time of year. YUM