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have any BC'ers been to Trader Joe's lately - what do you have to bring back over the border from TJ's?

i went in early Sept to the location in BLI - which is such a nice clean and friendly TJ"s ---- all those Canadians there.

Are there as many at the Spokane WA location? I don't know. I've never been to that fairly new one.

I also often go to TJ's in PDX (i see a lot of people on this board go to PDX)
and also several in CA

i have certain stand-by products ---
*Cat Cookies for People (someone up here actually thought i was giving their cat chocolate crackers!)
*TJs pesto --- it's a handy pantry stand-by and better than any reasonably priced normal supermarket option up here. PLus, I don't often have enuf fresh basil in summer to make my own.
*Mesquite almonds - a bit salty but i'm a bbq flavour person
*TJ's canned alaska pink salmon - no skin, no bones - a bit salty, not much diff than what we get in stores here - tho no queezy skin/bone factor
*TJ's wild rice mix - it's just something different on a boring dinner nite.
*TJ"s laundry soap - it is probably made in Canada but it's about 20 dollars here and 12 dollars there. Lavender liquid in something like a 3 or 4 liter size.
*TJ's liquid hand soap in the bergamot flavor
*TJ's cuban style beans in a can
*various TJ's salsas ---- there is a low-salt one that is pretty good --- and the corn one too.

i also impulse buy some things that i regret later - like the "light brie" ... that was bad!

I realize there is an entire list of TJ's YAY, NAY and MEH but i think that for those of us who don't have a TJ's nearby - and esp when an international border is involved, we have certain "just have to have" or "ask our friend to buy it for us" products.

i am curious

ps - i also buy some of the cake mixes (check out the "lite" brownies) and the vanilla cake mix, i use orange-scented olive oil for the fat requirement - people think i'm something else - or maybe they are being kind! no really, the vanilla bean cake mix is very handy. At xmas they come out with a cranberry orange quick bread - that's good too.

and then we divert from here to the other Pac NW products we just have to have from south of the border (like Krustez Snickerdoodle mix - avail only at certain safeway or is it albertsons --- and diet rite splenda cola from target or albertsons in BLI, WA.

EDIT - maybe i should have continued this past thread - i remembered it afterwards

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  1. Don't forget the TJ's homage store on West Broadway in the old wood oven bakery space. It's still going strong and they have a nice, small selection (although obviously pricier than if you shopped across the line there is still good value).
    Talk to the guy running it and he will take suggestions on things to bring in.

    I buy the California apricots among other things.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eatrustic

      We don't go to TJ on dedicated mission. It's always on way back from Fairhaven, or REI, or Burlington, Anacortes, etc. But even those trips are often on a whim too.

      God Bless the Nexus Lanes !! ;-)

    2. We always buy Calbee's Snapea Crisps from TJ's:


      As it's $1.49/bag, vs. about $5-6 up here [rolls eyes].

      I always buy their banana bread mix, cornbread mix and mac & cheese ........ I've not tasted better from kits up here for the same price or higher.

      Of course we buy the $3.49 merlots and chardonnays for cooking wine :-)

      Otherwise it's totally impulsive, random buying of whatever picks our fancy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LotusRapper

        oh yes, those "candied snap peas" ; ) are dangerous!

        now i have seen those up here in BC too ---- i think maybe at our neighborhood IGA Marketplace.

        (i say as I am just now experimenting with some TJ's Guacamole from the fridge section - it would be OK en route to a pot luck snack party - i wouldn't make a trip to buy it - but going, going gone - too late now!)

        and isn't that true about the random impulsive spending --- i feel like one of those contestants on the Price Is Right or those vintage game shows where you won X minutes to race thru the market and grab as much as you could!

        two buck chuck et al. faithful team they are.

        why are their baskets so small at TJs?

        PS --- take your own bags to shop in bellingham - anywhere in BLI -- you pay per bag now -- which is an admirable initiative on behalf of city or county - i don't know the jurisdiction. I didn't mind taking my own.

      2. SO is often in WA state and I usually put in a request for the following:
        - Frozen falafel
        - butter (TJ's organic unsalted, and Kerry Gold)
        - jalapeno-cilantro humus
        - triple ginger cookies
        - butter almond thins
        - salted caramel sauce
        - any new (to us) and nifty cookies (last trip netted some wonderful chocolate lacey cookies)

        If I go along, then the impulse buying gets pretty out of hand.

        I had him pick up some speculoos cookie butter recently - bleah. I liked the concept in theory but in practice, way too sweet and stodgy for me. I take its' a good example of the type but that type isn't to my taste at all it turns out (though I love speculoos cookies).

        2 Replies
        1. re: kinnickinnik

          have you tried the LEMON thins? (cookies) - they are good
          speaking of USA cookies - i am a big fan of Pepperidge Farm CHESSMAN cookies (i know about milanos too ; ) ---- during holidays they make holiday xmas patters - the rest of the year, they are the figures off a chessboard. I don't know where to buy them up here in Canada ---- you always see the Pepperidge Farm goldfish in about half a doz diff incarnations but none of hte cookies -
          and the brandy-snap type w/ macadamiia nut --- dark or light choc
          i melted a whole bag of them in my car earlier this month --- oh darn, have to keep those at home and eat them ourselve now!

          1. re: Georgia Strait

            Ooh no, not yet. We do often get the Lemon Heart cookies though - love those too.

        2. Love going to Trader Joes. We usually bring back their hummus, cheese (they have quite a selection to pick from, favs are Supreme Brie and burrata), heirloom tomatoes, salted plantain chips, frozon croissants, truffle brownie mix (i know this is so easy to make at home but their brand is absolutely sinfully delicious), and of course wine. I'm not a fan of the two buck chuck but they have a very good selection of wine under $10.

          1. We lived in California for 12 years before moving back to Canada, so I head to BLI for my TJ fix every month or so. On the shopping list:
            - TJ Joe-Joe cookies (like Oreos, but better)
            - TJ's version of Ritz Bits sandwich crackers
            - frozen naan bread
            - nuts and dried fruit
            - cheese cheese cheese
            - large whole wheat tortillas/wraps
            - Just Avocado packs
            - filled pastas
            - Kerry Gold butter
            - TJ cereal bars
            - frozen edamame

            No cheap wine - the duty charges are just too high.

            1. Just a comment regarding the cake mix - an amazing trick I learned from the Sunrise Tofu guys is to substitute 1 egg and a package of whipped up dessert tofu for all of the other things you are supposed to add to a box of cake mix.

              I have tried this with multiple kinds of boxed cake mix, and it always worked great! Not at all heavy like you think it would turn out. Just be sure to mix it super well.

              1 Reply
              1. re: StarryFork

                TJ has a REAL cake mix. not like the others. they splurge on real cake flour, and then ask you to use butter. Also, theirs expires!

              2. My list:
                applewood smoked bacon
                fage yogurt
                kerrygold butter
                maui short ribs
                pound plus chocolate
                pub cheese
                speculoos cookie butter

                Also sometimes get:
                salted caramel sauce
                cheese sticks
                green mango strips

                1. Three words : two buck chuck :)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: vandan

                    I think I might have a serious drinking problem if I lived in the US. Is two buck chuck actually drinkable? I wonder how much it would cost if they sold it in Canada....

                    1. re: Quattrociocchi

                      Is it great tasting no, great value yes , drinkanle definetely yes , whites tend to be better than the reds in my experience , also perfectly suitable to cook with

                      1. re: vandan

                        OK all you cross-border shoppers - do you declare your alcohol purchases?? I don't buy booze unless I've been down for the required exemption time. Don't want to risk losing my beloved Nexus card, and declaring seems to take a long time and kind of negates the savings. Or do the border guards just wave you through?

                        1. re: Quattrociocchi

                          Always but as l never go down for just the day and since the amount you can bring back has increased it maKes no sense to not declare it

                          1. re: vandan

                            Yup, always declare alcohol even if it's sub-$5 TJ variety. I tell them the total value of the groceries I have with me, as well as how many bottles of wine there are.

                            Regardless of whether the typically 20-something CBS agent even bothers making eye contact with me.

                            Yeah my Nexus card is worth gold !

                            1. re: LotusRapper

                              LR - do you fill out the whole Nexus declaration form or just tell them. That form is a pain in the a**. Seriously, they want to know where the product is made and what category they fall into....that's enough deterent for me.

                              1. re: Quattrociocchi

                                We used to fill out the green forms that they gave us. But since I think early 2011 they switched to the online version (one form for EACH person):


                                And funny we only did that two or three times during the summer 2011 and each time, CBSA agents never asked us for the forms, just verbally what we bought and how much. And since then we've never bothered downloading and filling out the forms, and they never ask us for it.

                  2. Hi KINNICKINNIK - i went to TJ's in BLI the other day and found that in addition to the LEMON THINS cookies - they also have COCONUT THINS -

                    and those Mesquite Almonds - trouble in a bag. They are in the latest fearless flyer.

                    TJ's has a handy little flyer near the restrooms in the BLI location describing what cdn's can take back - i was surprised - of all things - to see Avocados listed. Do we grow them here?! (the obvious apples, berries, etc were also listed)

                    1. I've got a vegetarian in my house and TJ's Masala Burgers are her absolute favourite veggie burger. I do eat meat but I agree they are delicious. Give them a try if you're looking for something a little different.

                      I've tried the TJ's salsa and I have to say it is not that great compared to Skagit's Best which you can get at the Bellingham Food Co-op & lots of other local stores -- truly the most delicious salsa I've ever eaten. You do have to like cilantro, though. http://skagitsbestsalsa.blogspot.ca/p...

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: geekmom

                        TJ's salsa verde is decent for the price.

                        But thanks re: Skagit's Best. Looked up their site's locations and two are in downtown B'ham, Community Food Co-op (which I've never set foot in) and at The Market on Lakeway, which I've been but must have missed it. Just curious if other "The Market" carry them ? Cuz there's one at Birch Bay Square.

                        1. re: LotusRapper

                          I'm not sure about that Market at Birch Bay -- I guess if you are really committed to trying this salsa, you could phone and ask them if they carry it :-)

                          Community Food Co-op is great if you are into organic food - the prices are much better than just about any Vancouver supermarket, and you can buy raw milk and cream there too; useful if you're experimenting with cheese-making.

                          1. re: geekmom

                            a few comments from a life-long cross border shopping fan ---

                            that market in Birch Bay --- is that the one where one can buy tents and wine and beach stuff ---- or is it down near Hagens (is that Ferndale?)

                            yes, i agree on the TJ Salsa Verde - a bit salty for my taste but handy to have on hand (tho my Guatamala friends who now live in Vcvr showed me how easy it is to make at home (diced tomatillos, chopped white onion, a hot pepper - simmer it up and from what i could understand - it was like the way some of us might make rice or potato to go along w/ the main meal. No real recipe, just do it. And it freezes well - i don't do canning so i freeze instead - and this freezes well.)

                            i have tried the TJ jar of bean dip - why?

                            i also like the CORN salsa from TJ --- kind of doubles as a corn relish - something to have on hand for non-dairy type people if you're serving a cheese and crackers / some sort of dairy dip. Seems fancier than red salsa.

                            That's interesting about the community food co-op in BLI

                            aren't we just getting crazy with this exchange rate?

                            truth or dare - i should ask what we all buy at TARGET --- interesting food section - i have always liked Herdez small tins of salsa (incl verde) having grown up on that in Mexico during the draft dodger era ---- and i always indulge in PepperRidge Farms "chessman" (men?) cookies - they make the traditional xmas symbols seasonally. And Snowman Peeps of course at Target. and DIET RITE cola - splenda.

                            Speaking of every day shopping, we are also big enthusiasts of Grocery Outlet in the USA -- it is sort of how TJ's started back when before it got designer niche (ie GO is like shopping at Liquidation World for food) ----
                            there's one in BLI --- it's like a treasure hunt. Some organic, some odd, always interesting. I usually go to one in east portland OR
                            Bellingham Grocery Outlet
                            1600 Ellis Street
                            Bellingham, WA 98225

                            and, for interest,
                            i went in to the "grocery" at Walmart in Omak WA the other day before coming back over the Oroville / Osoyoos crossing - that was interesting! (esp considering that Walmart is apparently one of the biggest mid-men of organic etc in USA (and maybe here too?). Seemed ironic that there was a HUGE forest fire (brush fire) burning a few miles to the east, apparently threatening major powerlines and homes, but Walmart was business as always ; ) (and i was in there)


                            well, having now brought CH to the popular common denominator ; )

                            thank you - it is interesting to read all your comments.

                            1. re: Georgia Strait

                              LOL GS -- Yes, I have to admit I've taken advantage of the Walmart grocery section on numerous road trips through the US. Nothing fancy, but cheap and very reliable; I was even able to find interesting meat substitutes for my vegetarian daughter at a Walmart in the middle of nowhere, Idaho.

                              I forgot to mention about the Community Food Co-op that you need to have a membership to shop there and get the member pricing on sales but you can buy a $20 membership at the East End Food Coop if you're ever in Vancouver's Commercial Drive area, and never shop there again - the Bellingham co-op memberships cost four times as much but they will honour membership cards from other co-ops.

                              1. re: geekmom

                                So I go to EEFC and buy their $20 membership and use it in perpetuity at CFC ? :-D

                                Looking at their site: http://www.communityfood.coop/join/me...

                                "You can sign up at any register or the service desk. Ownership requires a one-time fully refundable capital investment of $90, or you can pay a minimum $3 per month to maintain your membership until you’re paid in full. Owners pay a $5 annual owner dues, which is non-refundable. The capital investment and annual fees are waived for seniors age 62 or older."

                                So would I still be required to pay their annual $5 dues with an outside membership ?

                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                  Your EEFC membership is fully equivalent. I always tell the cashier that I have a membership in the Vancouver food co-op, flash my card at them and get the member rates. They've never asked me to commit to annual dues or actually sign up with them. Let me know what you think, if you ever go.

                                  1. re: geekmom

                                    Thanks a bunch GM, great info :-) I'll get my EEFC card first and keep it in the glovebox, along with my cards for Haggen, QFC, etc, etc !

                      2. Was at TJ's last week and came home with all sorts of goodies:

                        -3 kinds of cheese; at nearly a quarter the price it's hard to go wrong.
                        -pumpkin loaf/muffin mix, yet to try
                        -jarred marinara sauce
                        -sweet potato crinkle chips
                        -coconut milk
                        -roasted red peppers
                        -some shampoo that smelled great, yet to try
                        -a 6 pack of beer

                        I always declare at the border as Nexus is too valuable to risk. It saved us a nearly 2 hour wait last Sunday. I've never had any customs agent do anything but waive us through after declaring the beer. I've also never filled out that pesky form and never been asked about it either.

                        Happy shopping!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: vancityfoody

                          Ditto on Nexus. All that cavity search was well worth it during the application process ! (just kidding ......)

                          We did up the pumpkin loaf mix during this past week (bought from TJ last weekend). Maybe a titch sweet but not a fail, quite good in fact. I used our mini loaves pan to make it, the same pan I use for their cornbread mix ..... warmed-up mini cornbread loaf topped with butter makes a happy brekkie for me :-)

                        2. TJ no longer carry Snapeas Crisps, but have replaced the product with their own version called Inner Peas:


                          Which, to my disappointment, they don't taste quite as good. And the first ingredient is no longer green peas, but cornmeal :-(

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: LotusRapper

                            hey, funny you should mention that product - i heard from someone in the last couple of days that they, too, are equally dismayed in the replacement.

                            we were talking about how TJ's ---- dare i say ----- has become over-rated (lightening bolt about to strike --- or laughter from those who never drank the TJ flavour koolaid)

                            many of the products, if it was not for the cute TJ packaging, i don't think i'd make a weekly pilmgrimage across the line (as in 49th). OK, maybe for the cake mixes (incl the cornbread mix you describe above - with actual corn kernals in it?!), the cookies, the kerry gold - all discussed previously. And of course, cheap Washington liquor if one is not crossing back north over border.

                            also on our TJ list as a "must" - the TJ honey-orange blossom liquid pump soap. Guests do like to wash hands at our house ; )

                            and the current edition of lavender laundry liquid soap - i'm sure made in BBY or somewhere up here in greater vcvr - but the TJ version is several dollars cheaper.

                            1. re: Georgia Strait

                              Sad news about the snap pea crisps! I'm going to the states this weekend and was planning on picking some up at trader joe's. Now I'm at a loss for where to find them... They used to have them at costco.

                              1. re: dimples_323

                                Many places here sell them, at $5 to 6 per bag ! Hence TJ's ..... ;-)

                          2. Has anyone mentioned the chocolate-covered orange jelly sticks yet? For those who grew up eating Jaffa Cakes (they're a British soft cookie with one side covered in chocolate and a disc of orange jelly in the middle) - they are just like eating a Jaffa Cake without the cake. Totally addictive.

                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                i know i read that thread sometimes (or the quarterly one) and i always feel depressed ; ) cuz they talk like - yep - just stopped by TJ's - tried this, that, yay, neh etc etc --- like it's just down the street (and it sometimes is, of course, for them!) --- so i think it's funny how we in our household and other households i know around here - premeditate the TJ and Target shopping as tho it's an epic journey (which it is!)

                                Those jaffa stix mentioned above sound good. The frozen mac and cheese at TJ"s is worth the quick journey back over the border too.

                              2. Cheese, junk food, the odd wine. I bought a bottle of farmhouse apple cider from the Basque region of Spain that was quite nice. We never see anything like that here. I'm also a sucker for chewy candies. I bought a bag of jelly filled penguins that we hoovered up in about three minutes flat.

                                1. new love from TJ's = dark choc pnut butter cups (TJ brand) ---- so if pnuts are ok in your household - this is a must for cross-border shopppers. I think this product was in the most recent email newsletter - or did i read (or dream) about them elsewhere. Not sure.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                                    I think I had those, wife bought some once and by the time she made it back to the car (where I was), there were only two left :-/

                                    I like their choco-covered peanut butter-filled pretzels too: http://traderjoes.com/images/fearless...

                                    1. re: Georgia Strait

                                      Oooh yes these are quite, quite wonderful. Have you ever tried the dark chocolate mint creams? Those are nice too.

                                    2. Just came back from Oregon with a trunk full of TJ's. I've only been there a few times, so I referred to the advice of others here for my shopping list. Of what I've tried so far:
                                      Joe's O's: cheap (1.49) box of bland cheerios-type cereal that didn't agree with my digestive system--threw most of the it out. I'll stick to my oatmeal in the morning;

                                      Masala veggie burger: tasty, if a bit potatoe-y. Will buy again

                                      Kale & spinach pie: too salty, but quite tasty. I would only buy this again if for a party; I can make something myself just as tasty & similar with less salt.

                                      Jalapeno hummus: I probably could make any of their hummus myself (how hard is it to make) but the thing is, working with jalepenos is a pain for me, so this is on my buy-again list (the red pepper/garlic one was not all that memorable)

                                      Genova pesto: again with the salt... Is this an American convenience food problem? (I don't buy a lot of processed food) or is it a TJ's problem? It's pretty good though, and a little goes a long way in my cooking. I don't like it on its own; I make sure there are tossed vegetables mixed in.

                                      TJ's rolled oats: I bought these b/c I was out of oatmeal, they were on sale, and I thought I would mix up my Scottish oatmeal mornings. Meh. Take it or leave it. I prefer the density and full flavour of my Scot oats

                                      French Roast low acid coffee: Sold. I like a full flavour coffee with richness, but it's hard to get that with low acidity and not lose something. I will buy this many times again.

                                      TJs dark chocolate and its Belgian milk chocolate: It's TJs chocolate. It's always good.

                                      Plantain chips: Pure evil. In the tasty way. I won't allow them back in my home, they're so so good. And fattening.

                                      Raw whole cashews: excellent price, excellent quality.

                                      Automatic dishwashing detergent: have used once and it was terrible. Not sure if it's my dishwasher's fault, though

                                      Crunch unsalted almond butter: perfection

                                      Brown basmati: good quality; a bit crunchy/tougher than some others I've had.

                                      Still quite a few things I've not tried yet, and still so much more to buy and try next time I'm down there.

                                      1. Great summary, Readhead !

                                        I've been reading these sporadically for fun:



                                        The first blog is good 'cuz they always post the nutritional label up, very helpful.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                          Thanks for these links! I can see I'm going to be adding a few items to my TJs shopping list...

                                          1. re: geekmom

                                            See ya in the border line up ! :-D

                                        2. ... any recent must-have finds at TJ's ?

                                          ---- i have Kerrygold on my list & the "cat cookies for people"

                                          (oh, that's right - have to remember my recycled shopping bags for Bellingham - city tax on all shopping bags)

                                          anything else that we can't find up here (or reasonably priced up here) etc etc?

                                          i already have a large collection of the TJ pesto (in jars, i recommend, handy for summer meals at the cabin)

                                          (i've also read the April 2013 yay/nay list on CH) and the fearless flyer or whatever they call it at TJ's

                                          i also get some items from Target "Archer Farms"

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Georgia Strait

                                            Lately I haven't been able to walk out of TJs without a couple of bars of the dark chocolate with caramel and black sea salt. It's pretty amazing!

                                            1. re: geekmom

                                              black sea salt? i don't know about that
                                              is that salt fr/ the black sea
                                              or salt that is colored black|?

                                              i need some white pepper - maybe at TJs? - I like their grinders (ie they function well) - and then i recycle them to a friend who creates her own seasoning mixtures for home use.

                                              1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                All salt is sea salt.

                                                Sometime black coloured salt is sold as 'Hawaiian'-large crystals that can be used to create a loverly dish.

                                            2. re: Georgia Strait

                                              The gluten-free flour is a godsend. It really is just like regular flour, and it doesn't upset my stomach. It's made baking a happy experience again for me!

                                            3. Came back yesterday from Bham for a week at Lake Whatcom (for work). Dropped by TJ's around 2pm and the place was packed, as usual, with Canucks. It's becoming rare to even see a WA plate in the parking lot. So I only picked up the usual bits like salsa verde, corn tortillas, mac & cheese, cornbread mix and a couple bottles of cheapo vino before skidaddling outta there in a jiffy.

                                              PS: gas at Fred Meyer (Lakeway Dr) seems cheapest at around $3.59/gallon for 87 octane - FYI.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                                is that the cornbread mix with the corn kernels in it?

                                                what aisle do i find it in?

                                                1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                  Yes it is:


                                                  'Tho I have been known to add half a can of corn niblets into the mix to kick it up a notch.

                                                  The aisle changes from time to time, as does for their other products too. Kinda like walking into a Chapters store, it's different every time. Prolly done on purpose to make you peruse ALL the isles ;-)

                                              2. Planning my first TJ run from Vancouver since I was in LA three years ago - any chance someone/anyone could advise as to what I'm NOT allowed to bring back into Canada? I have tried a dozen border websites and the like and can't seem to get a straight answer when it comes to dairy/butter/meat...

                                                Any advice would be much appreciated!

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: meghany

                                                  There's nothing you can't bring back. You can even bring back (raw) meat. I was there last Saturday, and noticed by the cashiers they now have this new type of insulated shopping bag. Can't recall how much $. But I joked to my wife that it was the "Canadian special" item, for people like us to haul back dairy (and/or meat) products by the trunk-fuls, LOL.

                                                  At the back of the store near the washrooms there's a place where you can get printouts of what's exempt and not exempt when coming back across the border. All groceries ('cept maybe some special items) are duty-exempt. Alcohol is *not* exempt if you are down for < 24 hrs, but > 24 hrs as your personal exemption amount goes up considerably, your alcohol purchases ought to be covered.

                                                  Declare all things with CBSA, regardless if you have Nexus or not. I show my receipts and tell them the $ breakdown by categories (ie: $50 for groceries, $20 for alcohol, $20 for kids stuff, $20 for books/misc). 98% of the time they roll their eyes and wave me through before I even finish talking ;-) Better to be honest and diligent than dishonest and try to sneak something through.

                                                  1. re: LotusRapper

                                                    Interested to hear you can bring all meats back -- we were told no pork, and even had chicharrones confiscated, when we were flying back from SF.

                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                      Sounds like border guards needed a snack. Pork rinds are allowed to cross. http://airs-sari.inspection.gc.ca/Air...

                                                      1. re: fmed

                                                        That's exactly what I said at the time! They were expensive 4505 chicharrones, doh.

                                                        The specific no no that made me the saddest was no charcuterie. Seems like sausages are still a problem. I'd hate to have a $40 artisanal salami confiscated...

                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                          Dry cured salumi is allowable if it is in hermetically sealed packaging. But the CBSA agents often don't bother checking the actual rules. I wonder if a printout from that website I linked would have helped.

                                                          1. re: fmed

                                                            I can't view any of the specifics online -- maybe I'll try the link at work. It's only a guide anyway and I'd hate to make a fuss with a border guard :-).

                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                              Haha yeah. This site is what the border guards are SUPPOSED to use as the guideline for allowable importation. They routinely ignore it so it makes sense to not risk it.

                                                  2. re: meghany

                                                    Like LotusRapper said, near the bathrooms at the back of Bellingham TJs they have that handy little flyer. I was actually given a similar flyer by the Canadian border agent who interviewed us on our way back into Canada a few weeks ago. There are some weirdnesses like: only 1 bag of potatoes (i believe the limit is 5 lbs or something like that). only one turkey. no more than $20 worth of (non-milk) dairy products.

                                                    Note that this is per person, so if you can bring along some friends, you can bring back more Kerrygold butter. ;-)

                                                  3. that's right - there is that list back by the washrooms at the BLI TJ's ---- i wondered about the 1 turkey (i remember that was a big deal in the old days -go to USA and get cheap turkey)

                                                    yet my friend's neighbor or something goes to Costco in BLI and picks up pounds of cheap chicken pieces and brings it back to the fraser valley area - a major chicken processing area.

                                                    - and i was surprised that there actually IS a limit on dairy - yet i have seen people loading milk - an entire shopping cart full of milk jugs - in to a BC license plate car at that Rite Aid or whatever it is near Cost Cutter and ACE hardware in Blaine. (the 176 crossing) (that was last Sept 2012)

                                                    one time last year the Cdn border person asked me about the cheese i was bringing back - he asked if it was hard or soft cheese - so even tho you buy the Cdn Brie (for a deal) at TJ's - maybe we're not supposed to bring it back (I had hard cheddar cheese, commercially packaged, so i suppose that's ok).

                                                    another time, i had my cooked chicken salad product taken away. I was coming in from the USA to Cda.

                                                    i would think that the majority of us are the least of their worries - my friend watches that ultra-reality show on Slice network Canada about Cdn border services inspections - and the one episode i saw showed all these people bringing raw meat in their luggage from another continent on an extra-long-haul flight - and i presume they planned to eat it later - after how many hours? I certainly do not envy the job that they do.

                                                    maybe someone already posted this link - here you go about the 1 turkey and dairy limits etc

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                      Thanks everyone! I think I'll do it tomorrow...

                                                    2. Survived a car club run today (13-hr drive day for me) that saw us go from Edmonds > Kingston > Pt. Gamble > Poulsbo > Pt. Orchard > Tacoma > Alki Beach in Seattle. Insane SB lines early this morning on #99 for Peace Arch (backed up to almost the Pacific Inn Hotel, or what I call the Pink Palace) and on Hwy 15 to north of 8 Ave. That Nexus card should be on the TSX ......

                                                      Too tired to go to TJ's on the way home.

                                                      BTW, there are 10 TJ's between Everett and Tacoma for those of you hitting that stretch of the Sound. Many of 'em are bigger than Bham's TJ too.

                                                      1. CBSA agent: "Put down that TJ Angus rib-eye and walk away from the vehicle ..... " ;-)


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                                          that is a great link - ps - have those dogs been to check out the senate meal supply lately? btw - what do those senators eat on our dime - recipes anyone?

                                                        2. Bought a couple jars of Curry Simmer Sauce yesterday on the way home. Holy cow the morning SB border traffic was insane ..... at Pac Hwy it was backed up to past 8 Ave. Even our Nexus line took 20 mins or so. I digress/vent.

                                                          So, first time I've bought this:



                                                          Might come in handy on a rushed-dinner prep basis. Anyone tried it ? I plan to add a small tin of coconut milk to it, as I do with most my curries.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: LotusRapper

                                                            i am pre-meditating my next southbound tj's trip in a few weeks - i shall look for this - which aisle? let us know what you think - i wonder if our Pres Choice up here has similar "memories of ..." (you know those products, i'm sure)

                                                            ps - I do like the Tj's canned coconut cream / milk whatever it is. I use it for vegan creamy vegetable (usually carrot) soup or add to curry or ... I don't know what its country of origin is, mind you. It is less expensive than somewhat equiv product up here in BC supermarkets

                                                            now if only we could get that Peace Arch to remember its inscriptions - and make that food-adapted ---- children of a common - kitchen?

                                                            ... the good ole days of cross-bordering

                                                            oh - just had to say that it strikes me as funny when i read your border frustration post - off-chance some people who are not familiar with the cross border lifestyle may think that's a special Lexus lane ;) (now if only they had those on BC Ferries ; )

                                                            1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                              Wish I knew which isle. Wife picked them up while I was in a different isle. Just ask the staff and they'd be happy to help you find it :-)

                                                              BTW, there's a new Rocket Donut in Fairhaven, corner of Harris & 11th (see my thread in the Pacific NW board), FWIW:


                                                              BTW, we noticed on way back (also Pac Hwy/truck crossing) that there was a warning sign to the right of the Nexus lane (right after the D Street overpass) that non-Nexus holders caught in the Nexus lane are now subject to $124 fine. We mused why the odd 124. At any rate, it is what it is !

                                                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                will do and will try all those aisles

                                                                maybe there is a tax on that border lexus line infraction?

                                                                then again, nobody asks why grpcery items are odd (albeit smaller) numbers ... or airline tix - all odd numbers. good question - who do we know to ask. you'll be in a fancy line after that radar enquiry.

                                                                thx for the info - will check and see what else we find. Big fan of just the good old "cat cookies for people" - i actualy had someone return them to me once saying that their cat could not eat chocolate. (i know pets cannot eat choc - but no sense of humor.)

                                                                ps - what is the update from anyone about the importer trader joes on 4th in vcvr? is it still there? etc

                                                                1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                  He's still there (as of last time I walked by a couple of weeks ago) and operating amusingly as "Irate Joe's" since being hit with a lawsuit from TJ's

                                                                  1. re: kinnickinnik

                                                                    [chuckles] .... good comeback humour :-)

                                                                    They coulda renamed themselves Trader Moe's ..... 'tho that may result in lawsuit by C3 Entertainment Inc, owner of the Larry, Curley & Moe franchise ;-)

                                                                    Still haven't been to Irate Joe's ..... how much higher are their prices compared to TJ's ?

                                                          2. Picked these up earlier this afternoon, Mini Cafe Twists which are like halves of a small palmier. Vegan !! ..... no butter, dairy, egg, yeast.

                                                            Taste ? Light, layered, textured, crunchy, not sweet nor heavy at all. 30 cal per piece. Low guilt, VERY addictive. I think the box was $3-something:


                                                            1. LotusRapper ---- those cookies look good - will have to check in a couple of weeks ....

                                                              QUESTION -

                                                              do you ever buy any of the canned fish at TJ's?

                                                              i find the TJ's yellowfin pale tuna in olive oil (yellow label) too salty which is ashame as it has a nice texture and appearance.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                GS - no, have not bought any canned fish yet. Might pick up a can just to try, 'tho canned tuna takes a backseat to canned salmon around the LR household.

                                                                Speaking of salty ...... tried a jar of the "Trader Giotto's" (cute) pesto. Kind of meh, no better or worse than the garden variety we get here:


                                                                We also started buying the Triple Ginger Snaps mini cookies:


                                                                Again, totally addictive, quite gingery and not really sweet. In fact by last night both the mini palmiers (1 box) and ginger snaps (2 boxes) were mysteriously dusted off clean.

                                                                I just heard from a friend they also have the ginger snaps in ice cream form ......

                                                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                  i must say - that TJ's pesto is on my "must have" list - it's handy not only in our own kitchen ---- also as a quick gift for when you get invited over - seems exotic up north of the 49th eh?

                                                                  agree - also a salty product

                                                                  in reading the yay / nay thread ----- i agree, the breads and the produce and butcher section are not the main reason to go to TJ's (there is also a current thread about "not getting" TJ's ---- haha - move to Canada, then you might miss it, among other things ; )

                                                                  it's the butter
                                                                  and cheese
                                                                  interesting quick baking mixes

                                                                  and 2 buck beverages (well, a little more now) - still inexpensive relative to our BC LCB and pretty decent quality. I don't usually bring liquor over the border - however, we do shop for those items when staying down south.

                                                                  PS - are you going to review any PNE food for us? I have not been there in years.
                                                                  or how about campus food at this back-to-school time of year.

                                                                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                    Totally agree. For practical & safety reasons I don't buy the meats or milk (that's for them Costco shoppers, lol) back home. Cheeses we do buy for obvious reasons :-)

                                                                    The 'bevs' ........ not every time, but Mrs. definitely peruse those aisles. I don't really drink myself.

                                                                    PNE ...... dunno yet. Jr. and his friends been talking about it. Even if we go, the boy in me comes out and I'd just end up eating corndogs and mini-donuts anyway :-)

                                                                    BTW ...... LR. Jr and I came up with a new term for me: "donutarian".

                                                                    Campus food .... no one in the household is in that demog. group, so not likely any eating ventures.

                                                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                      ok - diff thread inspiration for you - where is the best school food - there must be parents / guardians out there who are interested in the food and vending machines (are those legal in schools?) etc. What about the cooking programs - those gingerbread houses on display at the Hyatt dwntwn each Xmas season are amazing - high school and post sec. The people who make those must be heading somewhere ; )

                                                                      back to this topic - one other thing I do buy at TJ"s is the "wasabi mayonnaise" - it is on the grocery aisle - refrig after opening - i think we can get similar grocery product up here in BC - but it's stylish to get the TJ version, right ; ) We use the product sparingly on chilled cooked salmon and cold rare cooked beef.

                                                                      ps - EDIT TO ADD ... next time you're over the border - p/u the TJ's mesquite smoke almonds - they are good. The shelled pistachios are not (too salty for our taste - which doesn't really make sense when i've just said buy the smo almonds - but dang they are good! *(see the YAY / NAY thread over in Chains)

                                                                      That said, overall, I'd say that Costco Canada nuts like pine nuts, pecans, almonds - may cost more but are better than over the border at TJ. I say don't go there just for those nut products.

                                                              2. Brought these back yesterday:

                                                                Reduced fat Cilantro dressing:

                                                                Pumpkin butter:

                                                                The dressing is very cilantro-y and I'm glad it's reduced fat because it looks rather rich and creamy with mayo as base. The pumpkin butter is quite good on my crumpets this morning, a tad sweet but the overall spice balance is alright. I'd like to try it in some plain med-fat yogurt this week.

                                                                1. almost time for peppermint (candy cane) jo jo's !

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                    I coulda got you some. Feel free to contact (email) me, GS. Small chance of going down this weekend, greater chance next weekend (9/10)

                                                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                      thank you LR - i appreciate your offer - I think we might go to usa for turkey day (Nov 28) - will keep your "mule" offer in mind. I assume you are in GVRD area - do you work downtown? (ie Georgia & Burrard or ... nearby?) I can't figure out how to PM ... will explore some more on CH. Thx!

                                                                      ps - when i was at TJ's in Oct - i bought the ceasar romano dressing in tall glass jar (*same style jar as many other dressings, like Simply Natural, etc) --- have not tried it yet. It is certainly not the white gloppy looking stuff one commonly sees in supermarket)

                                                                      1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                        Hi GS - click on my name and you'll see my profile info on the right side of the page, including my email. I don't work in downtown but can get to/from there quickly, and live not far from city hall, so exchanging "packages" should be easy.

                                                                        (Like Ford <-> Lisi <-> Bahrami) LOL.

                                                                        We'll be going down next weekend sometime (Remembrance Day long wknd). Let me know by Friday.

                                                                  2. Kerrygold grass-fed butter produced from the cows that eat special Ireland grass! Lots and lots of it.

                                                                    But be careful. A border guard told a restauranteur crossing with a huge amount that it was illegal. I'm sure it's a political thing with the dairy board.

                                                                    1. This past weekend's haul included:

                                                                      - high-fiber O's (cheerios)
                                                                      - frosted maple & brown sugar shredded bitesize wheats

                                                                      Generally not being a milk cereal for brekkie person, they got my curiosity because they are only $3/box (the shredded wheat box weighs in at 1lb 9oz/723g !) and boast high fiber content.

                                                                      Taste ..... the bitesize wheats are sweet but not overbearing (in skim milk). About the same as Kellogg's but I suspect TJ's ingredients are better since it's 100% whole grain.

                                                                      The O's ..... super crunchy, rather neutral taste. Can maintain crunch and integrity in a bowl of milk for > 30 mins (I timed up to 43 mins before dumping it out). Best eaten with fruit toppings or jams, but the 9g fiber/serving is the winner here, one serving and you got 1/3-1/2 of your daily intake out of the way.

                                                                      1. i impulsed on the "midnight moo" chocolate syrup - I don't think i'd do that again - it's in a fat plastic bottle (i try not to buy over pkg but I did) - and it has a very cocoa powder taste - also the product is supposed to be kept in fridge after opening (i think that's what it says) - and yet is pretty much impossible to get out of the bottle if that cold.

                                                                        yes - more KGold butter
                                                                        yes - some cheese
                                                                        yes - cat cookies for people

                                                                        ps - has anyone (who will own up to it; ) done a taste compare
                                                                        1. peppermint jo joe - vs - Pres Choice similar product
                                                                        2. TJ maple sandwich cookies - vs - Cdn Dare brand version

                                                                        the other thing i always buy over the border (cuz I don't think we can get it up here) is Bobs Red Mill whole wheat PASTRY flour - great for carrot cake recipe on their website and other baked goods - like brownies etc.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                          GS, we have done the candy cane Joe Joe vs PC "eat the middle first" candy cane cookie comparison and the latter is sadly lacking. The chocolate coating on the outside with the little crunchy candy bits in it does make a HUGE difference.

                                                                          We usually eat very well, honestly - these are one of our few junk food indulgences. :-)

                                                                          1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                            While I've not done an A/B comparison, I have eaten the TJ maple sandw. cookies and I recall liking them better than Dare's. I don't like Dare cookies, 'tho, FWIW.

                                                                            1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                              oh, just went in to IGA supermarket and they have this huge promo display of Olympic Cdn Flag theme Ritz crackers (they still taste good after all these years - tho I have never made the mock apple pie ; )

                                                                              AND - maple leaf cookies - not Dare brand - I ate a couple and used up considerable dietary intake for the day if not longer ; )

                                                                              they also have oreo cdn Olympic cookies too - I mean, that's mainly what I shop for at TJ's - strange and memorable ... short-lived fun (long on the hips tho!) with immediate gratification!


                                                                            1. re: brokentelephone

                                                                              I truly hope you meant the crustacean edible type ...... ;-)

                                                                              1. re: brokentelephone

                                                                                Can I bring crabs over the border?!?!?

                                                                                I'm going down to Seattle next weekend and am planning a stop at TJ's on the way home - is there a preferred location, or is the one in Bellingham satisfactory? And, in all seriousness... can I really buy fresh crab there and bring it home? I wasn't planning on bringing a cooler but now I think I might...

                                                                              2. Pineapple Salsa - first time I've bought it. V. mild to Mild on hotness scale, but the sweetness and fruitiness is addictive.

                                                                                Gone through two jars already. I need to stock up on them next time.

                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                  thank you for the heads up - shall look next time

                                                                                  remember the TJ basil pesto for upcoming summer season - I think it is the best for cottage convenience re: hot pasta or cold pasta salad

                                                                                  speaking of salsa - I notice much more Herdez up here in BC (IGA store in Greater Vancouver) than we used to have - I remember Herdez from yrs ago in Mexico - then USA - now here.

                                                                                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                    Thx GS. Yeah my wife always keeps some Herdez in the fridge. Our nearest IGA stocks them.

                                                                                    I actually don't consume much salsa ..... too much of anything tomato-y can get my reflux going, unless I remember to pop a ranitidine first. I pigged out at Taco Lobo a couple weekends ago, forgot the ranitidine and I paid the price after I got home.

                                                                                  2. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                    Agreed, good stuff. For a basic all purpose salsa (for me, usually on my scrambled eggs) I like the 'Salsa Autentica".

                                                                                    Latest addiction - the marinated mushrooms! Thinking of using them in a potato salad but quickly nibbling my way through the jar.

                                                                                    1. re: kinnickinnik

                                                                                      so these are the Trader Joe's marinated mushrooms? I have a hankering once in a while - along with TJ's marinated artichokes (good price for small jar - I know we can get big jars at Costco here (some other brand) - but who needs 2 liter jar marinated artichokes open in the fridge ; )

                                                                                      1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                        We stuff our pantry with their canned artichokes. $2.25 or 2.50, compared to the $4 or more for crappy Unico ones here.

                                                                                        I think KK is referring to these: http://fitnessista.com/wp-content/upl...

                                                                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                          yes - that's another good suggestion - the TJ's (not marinated) canned artichokes

                                                                                          what do you make with them?

                                                                                          1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                            Throw 'em on homemade pizza, a quasi-Puttanesca linguine, or maybe a roast pork loin, or in a stew. My son just eats 'em right out of the can (if/when he could). Yes, he's an anomaly for an 8-yr old, palate-wise ;-)

                                                                                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                I'm sure hoping Nexus wait isn't too bad tomorrow. Have a pickup at REI so must get down this weekend. Hopefully TJ's hasn't been cleaned out of all the goodies I'm looking for.

                                                                                    2. just making my list for a cross border shopping trip === LOTUS Rpr - can you tell me - does TJ's still have the kale chip things - usually about 99 cents per pkg - they used to have spicy (wasabi?) and plain.

                                                                                      i notice a similar product up here in BC - and it's "ON SALE" (ha!) for 1 dollar something. almost 2 dollars.

                                                                                      ps - have you ever tried the TJ"s mashed potato mix (well, i have - so have you - i keep some on hand for the cottage and to thicken some soups in a last minute situation)

                                                                                      i hope to find some other items - anything you're currently recommending? - i've read your recent posts about this topic. I haven't seen a fearless flyer recently (tj email)

                                                                                      Thank you to LR.

                                                                                      Ps - i am going to the BLI TJ's
                                                                                      i have never been to the Spokane WA TJ's -
                                                                                      i do attend in OR and So Cal.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                        Hey GS, no, dunno about the kale chips, I don't recall buying them (I rarely by chips there, maybe rice or tortilla once awhile). But if the kale chips appeal to ya, go for it ! :-)

                                                                                        Btw, if you're near Guide Meridian & Smith, check out a BBQ food truck named Bare Bones BBQ. Awesome ribs, pulled pork etc. Say hi to Kelly (owner) for me, he'll know who it is if you say "Ken from Great White North". Sometimes he could be on N. State in the parking lot of Allied Digital Imaging (beside Market Fuel), just 3/4 mile or so south of TJ's).

                                                                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                          silly me - this is what i meant to ask about - the roasted seaweed snack - they are small packages - usually 99 cents ---- i see similar size pkg and product up here in BC - usually double that price

                                                                                          ps - yes, TJ's has kale chips too.

                                                                                          extra ps - that was a good link you posted re Chuck drive - interesting article

                                                                                          1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                            GS - yes the roasted seaweed pkgs are good deals, we buy them regularly.

                                                                                            1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                              If time permits, drive down the Chuckanut to Bow, where a place called BreadFarm is supposedly heavenly for all things bread/pastry :-D

                                                                                            2. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                              Location info and pics aren't updated in the Urbanspoon page, FYI:


                                                                                              It's up-to-date here on Facebook:


                                                                                          2. We stopped in at TJs Bellingham on Wednesday. There was very little that I felt compelled to bring home: jar of pickled cherry bomb peppers, dried sour cherries, a toothbrush made from recycled soda bottles.
                                                                                            Rarely buy crackers, cookies, milk, kale chips, bottled salsas, or baking mixes, so didn't even look at those items.
                                                                                            But I forgot to look at potato chips. Sigh.