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Favorite items at Trader Joe's? [moved from DFW]

Went for the first time today, and was underwhelmed. Maybe I didn't know what to look for. Got a frozen BBQ chicken pizza & baked it for lunch. Chicken mostly MIA, and cheese not identifiable as Gouda. Plus the ingredients all came loose & fell to the bottom, so I had to reassemble.

What should I have gotten instead?

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  1. You might want to do a search on the Chains board here, because there are truly a thousand do's and dont's already posted for a couple of years. Great resource, now that you have one where you can shop!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Terrie H.

      i've already done that ... i see that 'you might also like' has provided options that searching didn't turn up. not sure why it doesn't work better than it does. considering the known poor quality of search, sarcastic replies like the one below are imo inappropriate.

      1. re: foiegras

        I'm sorry, I can't imagine that I sounded sarcastic and was just was trying to help.

        1. re: Terrie H.

          yours wasn't 'the one below' to which i referred.

          1. re: foiegras

            Ah, sorry, your reply was to my post.

        2. re: foiegras

          I have liked most things I have bought at trader Joe. Most of the frozen prepared foods are pretty good. My son (20) really likes all of the frozen pizza, especially the BBQ chicken.

          I love the frozen fruits and veggies, the stocks and their selection of cheeses.

          The less healthy people I live with love the prepared frozen foods such as the taquitos, potato pancakes, and Mexican foods and of course the cookies.

      2. Every palate has its own preferences. It is not possible for strangers to compile a list that will suit yours. TJ's releases an annual list of its most popular items, which you can find by googling, if you are unwilling to read the many helpful TJ's threads on the CH Chains board.

        1. I love the Alsace pizza but it's a thin crust

          1. I've had access to a TJ's for several years - about 1/2 hour to 40 minutes from me. Only go when I have other errands or appointments planned in the area. I'm generally underwhelmed, as well. Not much into frozen, prepared food and haven't tried any.

            When I go, I usually need to stock up on coffee beans - you have to experiment to find what you like (if any) but once you do the price for bulk is a lot cheaper than the grocery stores in my area.

            Also great prices (and selection) on cheeses. As an example, TJ's I go to has Boursin for 3.99 compared to 6.99 at Stop & Shop (I'm in Massachusetts). I always buy grated parm there, too (Argentina, but it tastes good and the price is right). Many more...

            From reading Chow yeah/nay threads I've also discovered their raisin rosemary crisps. I like their gingerbread mix, and always pick up boxes of their roasted red pepper/tomato soup.

            Then it's really hard to walk by the orchid plants and not bring one of those beauties home.

            So you have to spend time, and sometimes lose a bit of money in the trial and error process of getting to know the store. Although others have said they have a generous return policy, an hour round trip to shop and and hour round trip to return doesn't work for me. Plus, they don't consistently carry some of the stuff you like.

            I might be more of a fan if I lived closer. I see people leaving with grocery carts full, but they're probably more local.

            2 Replies
            1. re: nlgardener

              Or they live farther away! Before the Maine store opened, I would fill my car (not cart) at TJs every time I went to Massachusetts, mostly with little dark chocolate-covered things and frozen potstickers.

              1. re: nlgardener

                i generally like to cook fresh food & they are known for frozen, which is why i hadn't gone till now. however, i've injured one of my hands & can barely chop veggies, so i have a newfound interest in the freezer section.

                i remembered reading about the orange chix & looked for it unsuccessfully. i see now they are often sold out, so maybe that was it.

                i want to try the alsace tart & frozen mac & cheese (though i believe i can still make that myself).

                today i tried the sweet potato tater tots. ok, but there's a brand of frozen seasoned sweet potato stuff that's excellent & really beats TJ's.

                i got the frozen brown rice, looking forward to that. i don't have a source of really good brown rice or a cooker, so that's something i don't do well even with 2 hands.

                thx for all the ideas!

              2. "What should I have gotten instead?" Far too open-ended. What would you have gotten if you knew it was good? TJ's has hundreds of products, from frozen dinners to salt and pepper. You could post one of your own typical shopping lists here, so people would have a clue what you want.