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First visit to Trader Joe's...

FrenchPeach Aug 2, 2011 02:30 PM

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?
Thanks!

  1. f
    ferret Aug 2, 2011 03:28 PM

    You can get a sense of what to expect from their flyer. Just select your state from the drop-down list and then click "Read the Latest":

    http://www.traderjoes.com/soapbox.asp

    1. inaplasticcup Aug 2, 2011 03:43 PM

      Hiya, Peach.

      You might find this thread helpful:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719646

      I don't care to do produce at TJs, but I like their balsamic, olive oil, pastas, cheeses, and wines and those are probably the most frequent reasons why I shop there. :)

      1. s
        sciencediet Aug 2, 2011 06:28 PM

        Cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. In big plastic tubs. Also little chocolate-covered things.

        1. c
          CurlieGlamourGirlie Aug 3, 2011 12:22 PM

          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.

          Enjoy! :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie
            kokosowy Aug 4, 2011 08:50 PM

            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!

          2. e
            escondido123 Aug 3, 2011 09:15 PM

            We buy there for the good prices on wine, cheese, many staples and produce. We are not big on frozen foods and have to admit I haven't found TJs to be any better--though their ice cream is good and well priced as are their big dark chocolate bars with almonds

            1 Reply
            1. re: escondido123
              Mr Taster Aug 4, 2011 05:00 PM

              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.

              Mr Taster

            2. masha bousha Aug 5, 2011 09:15 AM

              Oh where do I start?? I adore TJ's and it's a constant topic of conversation amongst my local friends and family as to what we bought and loved. I'm currently loving the triple layer hummus, the pita crackers, the mushroom risotto (frozen) and the sublime ice cream sandwiches.

              1 Reply
              1. re: masha bousha
                c
                CurlieGlamourGirlie Aug 5, 2011 09:42 AM

                The mushroom risotto is a staple in my house. Quick and easy dinner.

              2. f
                FireFlyFiftyFive Aug 5, 2011 09:22 AM

                Go for all the chocolate covered treats. Yum!

                And there are sugary covered nuts that don't even have chocolate that are yummy.

                1. k
                  KatoK Aug 5, 2011 03:18 PM

                  TJ's is a great place to stock your bar supplies. I am a huge fan of their Monopolowa Vodka, a real bargain at $9.99/Liter. They also have good prices on Scotch and Tequila. I also get their Spanish Sherry for cooking. Among other things, their regular hummus is very good. I'll have to try the edamame version.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: KatoK
                    pamf Aug 6, 2011 01:09 PM

                    That only works if you are one of the lucky folks who live in a state where TJ's is allowed to sell liquor.

                    1. re: pamf
                      k
                      KatoK Aug 6, 2011 03:25 PM

                      You are right pamf, my omission, excellent clarification.

                  2. a
                    acetaminophen Aug 5, 2011 03:31 PM

                    I'd say--take it slow, explore the store thoroughly. You're going to find inexpensive staples, as well as twists on classics that sound (and probably are) really, really delicious. Back before I made grocery lists, I would come out of Trader Joe's with my weekly staples AND at least five other products that I wanted to try! If anything you try isn't up to snuff, they have a generous return policy.

                    1. m
                      mikeinboston Aug 8, 2011 01:02 PM

                      The frozen croissants (both plain and chocolate) are good to have on hand. You will need to pre-plan before serving as they need overnight to proof. And dont be shocked at their size when you take them out of the package, they rise about 200% during proofing. A little egg wash, pop 'em in a 350 degree oven for 20 min or so. Never going to replicate Paris, but a very nice treat.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mikeinboston
                        s
                        story1267 Aug 8, 2011 01:09 PM

                        +1 on the croissants. They are amazingly good and ignore the name "mini" as they really do rise and expand exponentially. Two per person is PLENTY for breakfast. My favorite TJ's item by far.

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