Trader Joe’s has a bit of a cult-like following, it seems. People, especially on the west coast, are quite fanatical about the chain. If you’re not familiar (and I’m not an expert), it’s a small grocery store that specializes in it’s own food brand which keeps costs low.
We didn’t get our first Trader Joe’s until a year or so ago, and before then all I really knew of them was the low prices and their famous Two Buck Chuck (wine). It’s possible I may have stepped foot inside a store during a visit to California years ago, but sometimes I wonder if I just imagined it. I do know that I sampled Two Buck Chuck during a California visit.
Oh and Peppermint Jojos. A friend brought some into the office after a trip out west and my life was changed.
Going to Trader Joe’s isn’t overly convenient for me–ever since moving from the small town where I had to drive 45 minutes to get to a real grocery store, I’m reluctant to drive more than 5 minutes to buy groceries these days. Especially at a store that feels so incredibly foreign. But…it’s not that far out of the way and since I was in the area I decided to drop by.
I headed into Trader Joe’s for the peonies I keep seeing on Instagram. Since it was midday during the week and I just had Cara, I was able to browse up and down all of the aisles of the relatively small store. I felt a bit like a creeper–analyzing all of the products but not pulling a whole lot off the shelves.
I find Trader Joe’s to be a little overwhelming and quite a bit intimidating. Everything feels so different. And so much variety! So many choices! So much novelty! In trips past I’ve felt a bit paralyzed and walked out with very little. I see people with full carts and wonder how the heck they know what they want?! When I grocery shop I tend to get mostly staples, but hardly anything at Trader Joe’s feels like a true staple item.
It was a lot of fun walking around and looking at all of the different items. OMG all that cheese! (Yes, I’m still limiting my dairy for nursing). In the end I came home with very little. Two bouquets of flowers (they really are so cheap!), riced cauliflower (which I’ve heard is a great alternative to fried rice), a salad for lunch, a bottle of wine, and coconut oil (which came highly recommended…though I’m not sure how I’ll use it yet). I’m trying to stay away from sweets and snacks otherwise I could have done some major damage.
I’m not sure that I feel any more comfortable with Trader Joe’s after my visit, but at least I was able to slowly browse and get a better idea of what I can get there. Still overwhelmed? Yes! A little less reluctant to visit? Absolutely.
Now…if it were only 5 minutes closer to home.
The whole point of this post is to ask YOU what you love to buy from Trader Joe’s. For those who frequent TJ’s, do you do most of your shopping there or only stop by for specialty items? What crazy and unique items do I need to pick up on my next visit?
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Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking. “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.” Hope you’ll join the fun!