Recommendations for Things to Purchase at Trader Joe's
We have a Trader Joe's opening up fairly near us. I searched these boards for recommended things to purchase from TJs, but came up only with "recipes" to make from things purchased at TJs.
I have never been to a TJs, but want to go. So would appreciate your recommendations. TIA.
It really depends on your cooking style and where you live, as well; e.g.:
Do you purchase a lot of prepared convenience foods or are you more of a cook-from-scratch type? I know a lot of people who swear by their frozen prepared foods but I rarely buy them as I' have the time and inclination to cook myself.
Do you live on the coast or inland? Here in Chicago, TJs has lemons and limes for far less than our major supermarket chains. My friends from California have citrus trees in their backyard and rarely buy them. Ditto on fish: TJs carries reasonably priced tasty,flash-frozen fish. -- e.g., salmon and cod. I always keep both in stock in my freezer. But if I lived in Seattle, for example, I doubt that I'd do so as I could buy it fresh the day I planned to cook it
Do you live in the heart of a major city or are you in the suburbs or exurbs? If you live near a lot of Mom & Pop specialty stores and ethnic grocers, you probably will be less impressed by TJs "gourmet offerings" than if you live in a more culinarily bland community. If you are used to buying bakery-style bread at your local supermarket, you may find that TJs is both better tasting and less expensive. If you make your own or source from a real bakery, you'll probably not switch to TJs.
For me TJs supplements but has not replaced shopping at my local supermarket chain. TJs regularly has better prices on dairy products so I buy my eggs, butter, milk and half-and- half there. On the other hand, most of their produce ( other than citrus) is more expensive and is pre-packaged in sealed plastic bags. I'd rather buy my broccoli, green beans, lettuce ,etc loose.
Other staples that I regularly stock from TJs are coffee (lots of varieties and most is fair trade but if you are a coffee snob you'll want to stick with buying fresh roasted); olive oil; rice crackers; "2-Buck Chuck" Cabernet and Chardonnay for cooking; and TJs brand bubbly water (79 cents/ liter).
You are seeing recipes because you are looking on the "Home Cooking" Board and not on the "Chains" Board.
Buy what YOU want to buy. My tastes may not at all reflect yours. The return policy is VERY good. Tell them you didn't like it and you'll get your money back, even if you don't bring back the product. You can also ask if you could try something before you buy; most Crew Members will open a package for you if you ask and explain you are new to shopping there.
The "fresh" offerings- bakery, produce, dairy, floral, refrigerated prepared foods are all locally provided, so the taste varies from location to location.
Products come and go and some are seasonal. If you find something you like that isn't a "Trader Joe/Giotto/Darwin/Jose" brand, go back and get more and enjoy it while you can.
Yes, please read the threads linked. But one thing I haven't seen mentioned is the Dorot frozen herb and garlic packs. Here's a link to Dorot and what they look like. I used to be able to find the garlic puree at my local grocery store, but no more. I stocked up on the basil when I visited my not-so-convenient TJ.
There are a number of posts on the Chains Board. Here is a link to the current "yea/nay" thread:
My first visit to a TJ's was not what I expected. The stores are are on small side, produce can vary from location to location. This store was so slammed with crowds that I couldn't look carefully - and that's what it takes IMO to appreciate what TJ's has to offer. There isn't a lot of breadth in offerings, but what they have is usually very good.
Now that I am familiar with their products I'd never want to be in a town without one!