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Costco & Trader Joe's Arrive in Sarasota. What food to buy/avoid?

Oh happy day-- both Costco and Trader Joe's are opening in Sarasota in a matter of weeks. I've never shopped in either store. Would appreciate suggestions regarding what types of food items would be worthwhile exploring -- and what to avoid.

I'm really interested in getting better quality and selection of food than is currently available -- bread, meats/poultry, spices, produce, prepared foods, wine, etc. Of course a bargain is great, but buying 36 giant rolls of toilet paper or mega bottles of ketchup won't motivate me.

Many thanks

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  1. +1 on the aforementioned question. What's good at those places? Help a newbie out.

    1. Sep. 7, for those too lazy to Google :-)

      OK, here's what I crave from TJ's: snacks! Nuts, dried fruit, rice crackers, wasabi peas, sesame sticks, crackers, pita chips, cookies, chocolates and chocolate-covered things, most made by TJ's but some imported, all better (natural, some organic) and way cheaper than at my local grocer/health food store. I also buy certain jams, whole-wheat couscous, and I like all the flavors of hummus and similar dips (also all-natural, some organic). I rarely have the chance to buy fresh food at TJ's, so am less familiar with cheeses and such; rarely could buy frozen, so am interested to see what's available, if it's all-natural, but prepared food is prepared food. Was never a fan of their baked goods. Coffees and teas are decent for the prices, which are low. Ditto wines.

      They have really good canvas--real cotton canvas--tote bags, too, in which to haul home the booty.

      1. As for Costco, we will have to see. My experience has been that their meats are excellent and their imported cheeses. Also, they have great rotisserie chickens at a great price. iMO their produce isnt anything special. You can get better at our local markets.

        1. When I lived in Northern California I shopped at both Trader Joe's and Costco. The chicken at Costco is very good and Gluten Free. Also, they offer higher quality merchandise then Sam's Club. Trader Joe's has excellent fresh meats, bakery items and cheeses.Lots of interesting items that I can not find in Florida. Can't wait to shop!!!!

          4 Replies
          1. re: prairieprincess

            Thanks to everyone who's responded. Gives me lots of places to start. Does anyone have a particular favorite food item at either TJ's or Costco?

            Latest info on opening dates in Sarasota : 8/17 costco, 9/7 TJ's

            1. re: SarasotaLady

              Costco meats rock. They have PRIME beef try finding that anywhere else regularly...

              1. re: drctl

                The prime beef is in the blue styrofoam tray not the white.

              2. re: SarasotaLady

                The frozen chicken and green chile tamales from TJs have to be my favorite!

            2. is the TJ going to be bigger than the one down here in Naples? because the selection here is very small...

              for all the hype i didnt find much that i couldnt get already at publix
              and i dont care about the 3 buck chuck ...i dont drink

              costco...i dont shop at very much ..but when i do its usually for the meat and cheeses...

              5 Replies
              1. re: srsone

                srsone-- the Sarasota TJ's will be in a former rooms to go showroom -- about 18,000 sq. ft. Don't know how that compares to Naples..

                I also found website for the Naples TJ's -- . http://www.yelp.com/biz/trader-joes-n...
                Lots of reviews. Reviewers feel into 2 camps-- they either really liked the food and atmosphere of TJ's or just didn't get it and were disappointed. . .

                1. re: SarasotaLady

                  im in the "i dont get it and dont care" camp...

                  and the one here was a books a million ..i think its 12,000 but i dont remember

                  1. re: srsone

                    It was Borders and I believe it is smaller then the Sarasota store.

                    1. re: Mother of four

                      ok...forgot..get them mixed up they both closed a bunch of stores

                2. re: srsone

                  TJ's has a lot of prepared foods, which some people avoid. I find it to be of higher quality and less unhealthful than most prepared food, but it is what it is. It's an unusual store, so sure, opinion is polarized.