Trader Joe's Kosher Specialties?
I'm really looking forward to the soon-to-be opening of a "Trader Joe's" in my area. Can you please recommend some kosher certified items that are unique to this chain, that I should look for?
The best thing about Trader Joe's is that they have really top quality food , things like really good olive oil and chocolate chips, as store brands at lower prices than similar items of this quality in other markets. That said, they do this by contracting directly with producers, and, therefore, any particular favorite item may at any moment disappear, replaced by a virtually item of equal quality but without a hechscher for the simple reason that Joe found a production line that could being in the top quality more cheaply, on a nonkosher production line.
They also offer frozen vegetables that yo rarely see elsewhere, like leeks and mangoes. Again, at great prices.
I like their par-baked baguette, which can be frozen, then baked and served. And their chicken thighs http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792891
Their meat selections vary, but they have consistently had beef at an astonishingly low price in the kind of low-fat cut that simmers beautifully for Friday evening pot roast or overnight in a slow-cooker.
I also adore their chocolate chips. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791281
They do offer both Triangle K and OU meat. Not probably at the same store at the same time. As I said, they're wonderful but irregular.
I don't buy the beef there often (I don't cook much red meat, and more often often want to do lamb dishes when I do, because I find the flavor more interesting ot work with) but I have seen OU as well as Triangle K (though I haven't looked to see what beef they have at the store that recently opened in my neighborhood) and for all I know they may sometimes have other hechscherim as well.
You could ask your manager and see if he would try the OU line in your store.
I wouldn't call them "unique", but they have some of the best quality and cheapest parve chocolate chips on the market. The baked goods also tend to be good and certified, but they are sourced regionally so I couldn't tell you what to expect with certification at your store.
First off, much of their merchandise is regional or East Coast / West Coast. I live in California.
In my local TJ's:
Sesame oil, Empire chicken (they even have organic,) some beef (Teva brand,) Israeli feta cheese, spiced mozzarella (the regular is not kosher,) nuts, boxed soup, soy and almond milk, tomato sauce, humus (although much of it is dairy for some unknown reason,) frozen spinach (Mexico Alef-Alef,) Israeli frozen garlic, basil and cilantro (I HATE cilantro,) Sue Bee Moscato wine (not as sweet as the "blue bottle,") yogurt, all sorts of chocolates and cookies (although most are dairy,) parve chocolate chips, Morningstar stuff, Dr. Prager veggie burgers, parve ice cream and Persian cucumbers.
At my easr coast TJ's (PA) MOST of the bread IS kosher, almost all the premade cales.pies.rtc sadly are NOT. Check at YOU store to be sure.
Ine pretty unique thing is the availability of cresent rolls and cin. buns in the tubes similar to the Pillsbury ones. they show for every holiday meal on TV. My family LOVES them. Sadly they are dairy but they are KOSHER!