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Apr 8, 2010 08:47 AM

Giddy with glee that I might get to Trader Joe's...tell me what I must buy

I live in Ontario, but alas, no Trader Joe's here.

I cross the border and shop in Buffalo, but alas, no Trader Joe's there either.

This weekend (departing tomorrow around 2pm, so replies before then would be appreciated!) I am going to visit a friend in Connecticut where hopefully we will make it to Trader Joe's. I've only been once before in my life and that was well over 5 years ago.

Keeping in mind that I am flying and doing carry-on--so no refrigeration and no liquids over 3 ounces--what should I scope out? We love snack foods and I'm a total chocoholic, but really I'm up for anything.

It will likely be the Orange CT store, if that makes any difference...

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  1. How cute! We really take Trader Joe's for granted here i guess, but it's a really cool store for certain things. I really like their dark chocolate bars and the fruit leather stuff. Too bad you can't take any frozen food, which is where they shine. That and cheap, interesting wines.

    1. Stuff from Trader Joe's that I love:

      Almondina biscuits/cookies
      TJ's Ginger Cookies (the ones in the little round tubs)
      TJ's Dark Chocolate Pound Plus (with or without Almonds)
      TJ's Chocolate Orange or Raspberry Sticks
      TJ's European Truffles
      TJ's mini chocolate bundt cakes

      For consumption in CT, I highly recommend the frozen chocolate chip cookie dough. It bakes up beautifully and tastes way way better than any of the wider known brands (maybe because it actually contains real butter).

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nani7

        I <3 the triple ginger snaps!

      2. Here's a previous thread on the same thing:

        Keeping in mind the weight and size of packaging, my recommendations are :

        Look for the slope-sided (about 4x6") red box of TJ's French Truffles. If you are lucky they will still have some leftover from the Christmas season (I found them in MA last week). They are simple but sinful: cocoa-powder dusted, semi-sweet dark chocolate, extremely creamy.

        Interesting selection of pastas and rice - my favorite is brown jasmine.

        The 12-grain snack crackers (tan box) are delicious AND healthy. The little peanut-butter stuffed pretzel nuggets (bag, with and without salt). The sesame and soy mini-rice crackers (clear bag) are ultra-crisp and packed with flavor. The tamari roasted almonds (bag) add soy sauce flavor with less saltiness than other salted nuts.

        You really can't go wrong on their cookies but the Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookie bites (8 oz rectangular clear plastic container) are as wholesome as they are addictive.

        The Fresh Raspberry Preserves (17.5 oz rectangular glass jar) are the best razzie jam I've ever had. There are other flavors in the same jar but IMO they are not comparably outstanding. Strawberry comes close.

        Their English Cheddar with Caramelized Onion is scrumptious, and can certainly handle some room-temp travel time.

        TJ's allows sampling and the employees are extraordinarily helpful. I suggest you go to the desk when you arrive - explain that you are a newbie, your particular snack preferences, and your carry-on limitations. I'll bet that someone will take you around the store to help you make your selections. You might also find ideas on

        8 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          Thanks for the other thread, shame on me for not searching first. Definitely planning to check out all the sweet and savory munchies. Chipotle chocolate hazelnuts really caught my eye.
          The novelty of getting things we can't even come close to here is just so an American living in Canada I felt the same way when I moved here and hit the Loblaws, now it's the other way around as I get to US grocery stores just once or twice a year.

          Sure do wish I could pick up a bottle of that 2 buck chuck....that would be a hit as part of my office Christmas gift exchange, especially if that's what it says on the label. People would get a kick out of that, regardless of how it goes down!

          1. re: greygarious

            do they still carry the "two buck chuck" wine?
            wasn't it TJ that carried that one? I had read that it was pretty good actually.

            1. re: grnidkjun

              In MA where I live, only 3 stores per supermarket chain have liquor licenses and the 3 TJ's I frequent are not among them, but I read a couple of years ago that it had become 3-buck chuck. It may be 4 or 5 by now, for all I know. Their flyer a year or so ago listed an apricot-infused beer that sounded intriguing - I'm sure that like most of their inventory, these things come and go.

              BTW, yesterday I made a batch of tassies, which are a sour cream or cream cheese dough pressed into mini-muffin tins, then filled with a wide range of possible sweet or savory fillings and a custardy base to hold them together. For a few of the tassies, I put a walnut half on the bottom, topped with a TJ French truffle. These are wonderful - afterwards I realized I probably could have skipped the custard part on those. In most of the others I used dried fruit, nuts, and TJ white chocolate chips, which have cocoa butter (unlike supermarket brand white "baking" chips which have no cocoa content).

              1. re: grnidkjun

                It is "Charles Shaw" on the label (hence, "Chuck") and $2 in California, $3 in other states.

                One of the varietals won a ribbon in the California State Fair in 2009 or 2008. Judging is always blind/label free.

                OP will have to check all the liquid get to the airport early.

                1. re: Cathy

                  Well in the end I stuck with snacks/nuts, largely of the chocolate variety, but I did pick up two cheeses that I couldn't resist - the English cheddar with caramelized onion that was suggested as well as an apple-smoked garlic cheddar. Have yet to bust them open but really looking forward to it. Had no plans to check bags so I steered clear of liquids, then got to the airport on the early side, got a standby seat on an earlier flight at the last minute but no overhead space left so in the end had to check the bag and wait for it anyway. Should have just brought a big empty suitcase!

                2. re: grnidkjun

                  There's no two-buck Chuck in Connecticut - our grocery stores sell beer only, can't sell wine.

                3. re: greygarious

                  Interesting, thought the rectangular jar of boysenberry preserves was the best of its flavor anywhere, always have a few jars around as it is seasonal at TJ

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    The shape of the raspberry preserves jar has changed to hexagonal or maybe octagonal (it's not handy). Not sure if that collection has boysenberry or not - definitely straw, logan, and blueberries, spricot, and cherry.

                4. Lemon Curd, best deal and best tasting then the regular stores. I just remembered I have some salmon quesadillas I bought from them, think I will make those tonite.