When I first moved into this neighborhood there was Safeway and that was it. I love seeing the little markets pop up, including Trader Joe's.
Portland is a grocery shoppers paradise. We have a giant Asian supermarket, a German grocery, a Danish grocery, and many Mexican groceries all within a short drive.
I thought Trader Joe's was more like Whole Foods so I was really surprised at their prices -- pleasently surprised.
I cooked some salmon I bought there last night. Norwegian farm raised salmon, no less. It seemed almost a sin being from salmon country and all but it was really pretty good and the price was great. Mr. B is not a huge salmon fan and he liked this better than the wild caught stuff I could live on.
I like Trader Joe's. There are a couple within easy shopping distance of my house. The newest and closest one seems busy every time I go there. They feature a small stuffed animal that gets hidden on the shelves every morning. The first child to find it gets a prize. That's a cute idea and I've noticed small children sighing as they come in the door when the animal is sitting on its shelf, already found for the day.
Look for good quick, inexpensive flower bouquets and plants outside. I like the shelves of dried fruit and nuts. Lots of interesting types and not too expensive. There are delicious pistachio chips and bits that are great in a salad... with, for example dried cherries. Beware though, their dried Rainier cherries don't hold a candle to the tart Montmorency ones.
They also sell neat cheeses that are great for parties. There's a layered kind with a cheddary-type and a blue-cheese inside... yummy.
If you like tamales, try their green chili and cheese vegetarian style. S'good. Other faves: tubs of 3-ginger cookies (yes, you can eat the whole thing) and their delicious whole-wheat naan bread. A friend who adores their chocolate-covered cherries... not my thing, but if you're a fan, you might try them. Let's see... it's a good place to get interesting produce. Buying bananas by the piece? Weird.
TJ's doesn't have a great rating as a "green" store. I recently saw a list and it was a "3" along with Safeway, Costco was "4", WalMart at the bottom with a "5", Whole Foods was "2" and CSA's & Farmer's Markets were a "1".
Mmmmmmm. I could eat a few trays of that TJ's spinokapita or whateveryacallit. Delicious!
Their gorgonzola, walnut ravioli is great. I could do it without sauce! I think I'll do it with a brown butter, basalmic, sprinkle of parmesean sauce though.....
Lucky you! I have two Trader Joe's near me. One on the way home from work and the other near the pet store when I run errands.
Right before the holidays they had basket making kits and I believe they sell the baskets year round. Since my parents don't have a Trader Joe's I made them a goody basket for their Christmas present. I also did the same thing for my neighbor who helps me out with yard upkeep.
My daughter loves the chocolate covered banana chips(addicting) and my son loves the mini peanut butter cups. When I prepare for hiking I buy my nutrition bars and trail mix there. You should try the Heavenly Trail mix, it has dark chocolate and dried cherries in the mix.