Favorites from the new Trader Joe's
Here are a couple things I've found at the local Trader Joes at Great Hills Trail that seem extra special, extra delicious or unique from what I can find the local Central Market, HEB, or Whole Foods.
The first time I went into a Trader Joes in New York, I was confused, didn't 'get it', and I couldn't find what I was looking for.
Next time at a Trader Joe's in San Francisco, it was much more interesting. And, I learned that interior photos of their beautiful Thanksgiving display were not allowed and "against the law"...
Now that there's a Trader Joe's in the 'hood, I've had a chance to leisurely peruse it without being 'on the clock' while on a work trip. Here are a couple products I like and things appreciate about the local Trader Joes.
1) Individually wrapped goat cheese discs, 4 or 5 to a package
PERFECT for adding one to a bowl of their Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper soup from a carton.
The individually wrapped part means less waste to me, since not everyone likes goat cheese.
2) Trader Joe's Raisin Rosemary Crisps
First impression: that's a strange combination of ingredients.
First taste = WOW. Delicious. These are GREAT plane food / purse food to make the hunger noises go away.
3) Small leaf, peppery arugula
HEB's organic arugula doesn't seem like real arugula to me - the leaves are way too big and the taste is different; not as peppery.
I tried to bring 2 containers of small leaf arugula back from a graduation trip in May, but the heat in the luggage compartment made them a little sad and limp.
Trader Joe's arugula is small leaf and peppery, just as it should be to start a great salad.
4) Trader Joe's has Cremant !!!
Discovered Cremant while in Alsace region of France last Christmas. It's a sparkling wine that to me, tastes like a "winier", more flavorful and interesting champagne than any other I've had. Not that I have champagne that often - which is exactly what a wine grower in Alsace complained to me about - he felt Americans should drink Champagne more as an every day wine vs a special occasion wine.
In Strasbourg or Colmar, everyone from "ladies who lunch" to blue collar workers begin lunch with a glass of Cremant.
Trader Joe's is a Crémant de Bourgogne for just $10! Not sure how that version differs from Crémant d'Alsace which I had and really enjoyed. Will try it and report back.
Location: At the beginning of the beer aisle towards the front of the store, near the front of the score. Bottom shelf.
The marinated artichokes in glass jars are a good start for a quick and simple pasta dish. I chop them up and cook some onion or shallots (99¢ for a little bag of 2 or 3) and some cut up small tomatoes, then add the drained artichokes, the marinade and some cooked pasta, grate a bunch of Parmesan or pecorino over it and it's dinner. Or you can just throw a package of the fresh tortellini in and stir-cook it in the liquid until it's tender. Quicker than take-out!
The Crèmant de Bourgogne is really nice, as is the Prosecco. My favorite fizzy is a good bit drier, cheaper and not as sparkly, the Portuguese Vinho Verde in the tall green bottle, now blessedly with a screwtop (the tiny mouth was damned hard to find a cork for!).