First visit to Trader Joe's...
I'll be visiting a store this weekend. Just wondering if anyone has been and if there are any goodies or interesting items that I should keep my eyes open for?
Take advantage of whatever they're demo-ing that day to try something new! I've found many a great product by sampling.
It also depends on what you like and how you cook. I'm a working mom, so I live by many a frozen product!
A few staples in our house:
-Tarte D'Alsace - a thin crust 'pizza' that has Gruyere, ham and onions. I could eat a whole one myself. They have a wide variety of frozen pizzas that are not your standard 4 cheese, sausage, etc.
-Polenta Provencal - it's a frozen meal that has polenta 'nuggets' (with a consistency of gnocchi), spinach and peas in a pink sauce. I add ground turkey to it for a quick, easy meal
-Edamame Hummus - yup - hummus made from soybeans - love it.
They have a great variety of salsas and chips that are off the beaten path, so you could find some neat goodies that way.
I also buy most of my nuts and baking chocolate from TJ.
I second that edamame hummus recommendation. It will blow you away. I also recommend their sun dried tomato and pesto torta dip.
You can eat them with the pre-packaged pita chips they sell there or what I like to do is just slice a couple of pieces of pita bread and bake at 375 for 7-12 minutes, until crispy. You can add just a bit of EVOO and sprinkle some rosemary before baking for a little seasoning as well...although the hummus/dip would take care of that!
AND ALWAYS TRY THE DEMOS!
I began shopping at TJ's circa 1998, and was a huge fan of their frozen products. I began seriously cooking for myself (and investing in a few carefully chosen pieces of high quality cookware) around 2007. I found that the more I cooked for myself, the less tasty the frozen TJ's entrees became.
I recently saw a frozen coq au vin at TJs. Whereas in 1998 I would have said "Oh, how interesting! I'll need to try it", now I say "If I buy this, it will only disappoint" (since my coq au vin is simply spectacular :)
You live, you grow. I still do purchase TJ's crackers, cookies, and certain select produce. Their organic grapes are generally good (be careful you don't buy a moldy box, though). I also buy their heads of broccoli and herbs, maple syrups and honey, and canned tuna. I tend to avoid any premade sauces or mixes-- again, simply because I feel that can do much better myself.