Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:10 pm
A Trader Joe's just opened a few blocks from my house. I'd never shopped there before today because the nearest one was quite far but as one of my favorite A2Kers has spoken glowingly of it I decided to check it out today.

What a cool store! I love grocery shopping and have four stores on my regular curcuit and after today I have added Trader Joe's. (My only gripe about them was that so much of their produce was over packaged. What's up with that? Completely annoying.)

One thing I didn't realize is that much of what they sell is Trader Joe's brand and that they offer such an interesting assortment. Now I'm wondering what I should try and what I should avoid from their line of foods.

Any tips?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 4,321 • Replies: 24
No top replies

 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:22 pm
I love Trader Joe's, mainly because of their assortment on European
goods. The cheeses are excellent (Spanish, French) and their Italien
Pizza is better than any American. I also love the Greek yoghurt,
Olive oil, Tapenade, dried fruits, great variety of nuts, and European
chocolates. The wine and beer selection is also good and reasonably
priced.

I also buy their shampoos and soaps.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:33 pm
I love it love it love it!

They have lots of cool stuff for kids, too. The little shopping carts, the balloons, often kid-centered promotions (a "treasure chest" that kids can root around in and come up with goodies, etc.)

Gee, specifics. Can't think of anything in particular to avoid. (That doesn't mean there isn't anything, I just can't think of an example right now.) I could recite my typical grocery cart but that's boring. Favorites include: Lunch meat (tasty, good prices, choices like "hormone-free"). Granola (phasing it out, grrr!). Sourdough boule (before I started making my own!! :-)). CHEESE. (Really fabulous selection and prices).

I'm on my way to bed so am not at my sharpest, will think more.

One thing that you may or may not know is that they rotate their products a lot, though they seem to do that a lot less these days. So a given favorite may well not be there next time you go. Usually shows up after a while though.

Their produce is OK, sometimes I get WOW deals (especially on avocados in season) but I usually shop local for produce and basics and then cruise TJ's for extras.

A couple of blocks away! Lucky girl! There was this brief shining moment in Naperville just before we moved when we had a TJ's within a few minutes, it was so fabulous. Now I have to do more stock-up type trips, isn't one really close (but there are two that aren't terribly far away).
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:34 pm
Thanks CJane.

We have a store called New Seasons not far from here that I had been doing some shopping at but it is A LOT more expensive. They have a great cheese assortment, including a "cheese shop" so I wasn't overly impressed with Trader Joe's selection. The prices are so much better though that based on your comment I'll give them a second look.

The pizza - is that the prepared food pizza or the frozen food pizza? I saw their cornmeal pizza crust in the prepared food area and almost bought some because I like really dense, Pizzeria Uno type cornmeal crust but I didn't get any.

I'll certainly give the soaps and shampoos a look!

Thank you!
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:35 pm
Reading CJane's, yes, their olive oil is great and much cheaper than anywhere else. We always buy olive oil and soy sauce there.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:39 pm
I thought I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada there but I could be confusing it with Trader Vicks..... in any case, his hair was perfect.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:39 pm
By the way their own brand is often another brand that they -- I dunno how it works -- and sell for less. So for example their frozen pesto pizza is Amy's Pizza, which is very good, but they sell it for much less than at regular grocery stores. That's true of almost everything that's Trader Joe's brand.

We get that, and also get the pizza dough and make our own pizza. I had a rough time of getting it to spread out without tearing holes in it, eventually figured it out. First time I tried it here (used to make it all the time in Naperville) it took like twice the time to cook (by the time the dough was non-goop the topings were incinerated), never figured out if it was a bad batch or had something to do with my oven or what. Need to try it again.

Did I say I was going to bed? I'm going to bed. G'night!
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:44 pm
Hey! I didn't see a treasure chest or the little shopping carts (love those at PetCo!).

I know you're a big fan, soz, and that is one of the reasons I made the trip to check it out. I'm going to have to go back when I have more time to really "do" it.

I was so impressed with their prices! I thought it would be a lot more expensive -- more like Whole Foods or New Seasons.

I'm going to need olive oil soon so I'll be sure to check out their brand. Thanks both of you!

I should take a second look at their produce. I was just so put off by all of the plastic containers. I HATE over-packaging more than just about anything.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 09:56 pm
Years ago, Trader Joe's had no produce at all, and only for the last
couple of years has added produce and my guess is they buy it already
packaged. The cheese assortment is not as extensive as some other
stores have, but the prices you can't beat. I also buy the Black Forrest
Ham and Proscuitto at reasonable prices.

boomer, that's frozen pizza, ready to put in the oven. It's smaller, 12 x 12
and reads "Italian Pizza" - little Jane likes it a lot.

As sozobe said, the olive oil is good and cheaper than the supermarket ones.

I buy dog treats there too.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Mar, 2007 10:01 pm
Well, prior to now, I was bored beyond belief with TJs. I've gone there for many decades, from probably store number 2. Gotta say, stuff doesn't taste all that good. I'll admit the store has picked up..

Though I'll agree it was more interesting than Safeway, in 1980.


Now that I'm in Albuquerque, I'm nodding, ok, that TJ's gets here. Unfortunately, it, like any other demographicically derived store, picks the east side of town, about ten miles from my house.

Oh, well, apparently we are total idiots west of the river, not just by TJ's, but any other firm but Walmart.

It's really bizarre, I've never seen such classist distribution before.
0 Replies
 
tomasso
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 12:14 am
Just want to add

that in addition to being a good place to shop, it's also a great place to work!

A friend of mine who works there says they let the workers switch duties fairly often , so you're not doing the same thing all day.

And FYI
if you have a question about a product, the employee is allowed to open the package and let you try some of that product.

You should also be able to get your money back for any product you are dissatisfied with, no questions asked.

He also told me that during training he was told that if a customer mentions that they are having a bad day, they should give that person a flower or something. Rolling Eyes

However, I'm not sure if TJ's has the same policies in all states.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 12:34 am
I bought cheap wines there decades ago. Have near inhabited the store back when I was enthused. Am glad you are all getting a glimpse - which I think I first glimpsed in the late seventies.

I have to say, that if you are excited about Trader Joes, you have many potential markets to fill in.


Get a grip.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 12:45 am
I buy some American products at our Aldi - Trader Joe is just another branch of the German Aldi markets in USA. (Owned by one of the "Aldi brothers" since the 70's.)
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 02:02 am
Well, I'm sort of dismissive myself of Trader Joes. (and whatever the German owner, Walter.)

On the other hand, now that I am in the hinterland, I'm amazed at how spare the markets are, over all. Yes, there is a Whole Foods ten miles away in this big city, but not so much like it near by. I arrive here in the southwest as quite spoiled. My immediate market doesn't even have any fresh herbs, whatever time of year. They don't seem to know anything at all about them.


Grrrrrrrrrrr.

I suppose I'll have to speak with the manager, with who knows what luck.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 06:36 am
Since our Trader Joes is about 45 miles away,we usually make an all day out of it . I have one piece of advice. Eat First before entering, otherwise youll be buying all sorts of crap that , when the eyes of reason return, youll never figure out why you bought the "peruvian marinated seabass eyelids",
Im not nuts about TJ's cheeses. Since its just another 35 miles more into Philly and the Italian Market, weve never bought anything but the imported versions of cheeses that TJ's seems to provide erzats versions of. (We like Asiago, and Prima Donna , and its only DeBrunos (of NYC) and Claudios, who import the real stuff) De Brunos and Claudios sell to local butcher (10 miles away) shops and , we have to order the cheeses we want but it is the realy good stuff. TJs cheeses, are mostly made in Wisconisn or Canada. Consequently their selections of the "non cheddar" varietals are for interpretive purposes only.
The rest of TJ's is great . We usually find the makins of a very next meal and some stuff for the pantry. (One of my problems is that Ive got a huge selection of condiments that originally sounded neat when I bought em but , wfetr storage, weve never had the nerve to try em on anything) So the collection mounts.
I think this habit may be something more pathological so I dont worry about it.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 07:00 am
ossobuco wrote:
Well, prior to now, I was bored beyond belief with TJs. I've gone there for many decades, from probably store number 2. Gotta say, stuff doesn't taste all that good. I'll admit the store has picked up..

Though I'll agree it was more interesting than Safeway, in 1980.


Now that I'm in Albuquerque, I'm nodding, ok, that TJ's gets here. Unfortunately, it, like any other demographicically derived store, picks the east side of town, about ten miles from my house.

Oh, well, apparently we are total idiots west of the river, not just by TJ's, but any other firm but Walmart.

It's really bizarre, I've never seen such classist distribution before.
On the other hand, we of the proletariat side of the river have Sunflower Market (by far my favorite).
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 09:14 am
After I finally turned off the computer and hied myself to bed I came up with the qualifiers that Osso did...

I don't want to imply it's some gourmet foodie heaven. The "I love TJ's" equation for me goes something like: "Wow, that's cheap" + "hey, it tastes pretty good!" I'm 100% certain you can get things that taste better and are also more expensive, and probably if you search you can get things that taste better and are as cheap. It's just a nice convenient combination, for me, of things that are cheap, taste good, and are at least somewhat healthy. (There I compare pesto pizzas, which sozlet loves, with comparable prepared foods.)

And that's a big part of it; I've long gotten prepared or mostly-prepared foods there. Roasted Garlic Marinara spaghetti sauce + pork sausage is a standby "I don't have a lot of time to cook tonight" solution. (It's not like pasta itself is ever that expensive, but I always get their penne pasta for I think 65 cents.) I'm moving away from that somewhat as I cook full dinners from scratch more often, but still have 2-3 staples in case I lack ingredients or inspiration.

Oh, speaking of which, I can recommend their Cuban Mojito sauce. Simmer with chicken and serve with black beans and rice on the side, yummy.

Their jasmine rice is another staple.

It's also just a nice shopping experience for the reasons Tomasso mentions. People who work there always seem nice and enjoying themselves. Sozlet invariably gets into a long conversation with someone, who recognizes her when we come back the next time, that sort of thing.

Anyway, don't want to oversell, just been a store I've enjoyed a lot since I discovered it . Not the be-all and end-all, just a nice collection of useful/ tasty/ fun/ cheap stuff.
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 09:46 am
Never been to Trader Joe's. Not yet. Two are way on the other side of town but one is opening soon that's a little closer. Just a little. Opening day should be fun. I'll keep an eye out.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 09:56 am
I buy all of my coffee from TJs (double dark Mexican is my favorite). I plan my visits around when I need coffee and stock up on the other TJ specialties that I like when I'm there. The standard list includes:

whole wheat pita pockets
fresh-baked pugliese bread
TJ brand hummus
individual servings of clam chowder and chicken curry soup
fresh broccolini
dairy, eggs, juice
50% lighter salted peanuts
trek mix (at least one kind)
turkey chili (canned)
tortilla soup (glass jar)
rice (brown, white, basmati)
70% dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate with almonds
frozen shrimp, fish, chicken breast
frozen artichoke hearts, mixed peppers
frozen berries, peaches
granola, breakfast bars
100% cranberry juice
wine (we like the white bordeaux, white burgundy, and IL Cuore - a table red)
white corn tortilla chips, salsa authentico, soyztels, mutli-grain pretzel nuggets, whole wheat pita chips
whatever else grabs my fancy as I'm wandering the aisles
0 Replies
 
Slappy Doo Hoo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Mar, 2007 10:00 am
I used to live directly across the street from one. Don't miss it much...I liked the tortilla chips, and they sold nutrition bars pretty cheap. Pretty much got sick of the rest of it and stopped going after a while. Definitely used to like how inexpensive two bags filled with stuff would be though.

Lot of hippies worked there. I'd imagine they don't drug test their employees.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Quiznos - Discussion by cjhsa
Should We Eat Our American Neighbours? - Question by mark noble
Favorite Italian Food? - Discussion by cjhsa
The Last Thing You Put In Your Mouth.... - Discussion by Dorothy Parker
Dessert suggestions, please? - Discussion by msolga
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Trader Joe's.
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 01/27/2022 at 12:13:02