Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trader Joe's--contest and advice needed!

For almost ten years, I have lived in an area exploding with Trader Joe's stores, yet  I only ventured there recently to buy ingredients for turkey meatball subs. Amazed that I purchased seven dozen meatballs and four jars of sauce for only $28.37 (this was for a church event and I had volunteered to donate the main course), I am ready to give this store a try. Seven dozen meatballs at most other grocery stores would have cost me well over $50.

I'm intrigued by the Trader Joe's fever that seems to have taken over everyone I know, but I'm also intimidated by this store. I like to complete all of my grocery shopping at one store--an impossible feat at stores like Trader Joe's--so that's why I've shunned it in the past. But I've heard so many people rave about it that I'm ready to make an exception and make a special trip to try the store's specialties.

But I need help. I have know idea where to start!

What are your must-haves at Trader Joe's? What items are worth a special trip there?

Please comment with at least two suggestions of items you can't live without at Trader Joe's (please be specific), and I will enter your name to win a $25.00 Trader Joe's gift card. This contest runs through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, 2010. I'll select a winner using a random number generator.

Happy grocery shopping!


Organized Living by Amy said...

Ryan loves the Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzel Nuggets. If ours had wine, I would say wine. But since it doesn't I'll go with mini-ravioli and (cheap, but good) olive oil.

rebecca.d.winnett said...

- The peanut butter filled pretzels are a necessity in our house.

- The sweet potato fries ( in the frozen section)

- TJ's Balsamic Vinegar- it is 5 dollars a bottle and is perfect. much better than any other I've found and much cheaper!

- Beer and wine- good selection.

I'm with you- can't do all my shopping there, but I've found its worth the trip for these among other staples, and the price always is stellar!

Test 1 said...

The frozen pasta Arrabiata is fabulous and I love their frozen BBQ chicken pizza.

The pink Himalayan salt is delish as well. Just bought frozen mango this weekend and it is amazing!

100 calorie dark chocolate bars--yummy!

I always buy their Peruvivan lilies as well--$5.99 and they last 3 weeks.

I shop at the store in Old Town and while I can't do all my shopping there I find myself doing more and more.

Ok--I'm going to stop now, but as you can tell I LOVE Trader Joes!!!

kerryandtorey said...

I heart Trader Joe's! The meatballs are awesome (we used the turkey ones for our house warming party a few years ago).

Also, love:
-the simmer sauces
-frozen edamame
-frozen rice for an easy side dish (lazy- yes but very good)
-the peanut butter filled pretzels
-marinara sauce
-organic chicken tenders
-frozen mango slices

And, they have a great selection of cheese!

Aunt Lesley said...

I love the sweet potato chips and the TJ brand of fruit strips. The frozen spinach/cheese dip is also great.

I also like the hard apple cider that they carry - it's nice to be able to pick and choose a six pack of different beer types!

-Lesley (Amy's sister)

Rachel said...

*Plain tart frozen yogurt
*Bigger containers of greek yogurt
*Natural peanut butter (typically a girl who loves regular PB and does not like stirring PB but this is good... and Justin didn't even notice)
*Frozen burritos, great for quick meal

I don't shop here as often as I would like, but have been pleased with their prices. Also, did try to do all my grocery shopping here one night and only had about 3 things I couldn't find (one of which being cilantro that they didn't put out b/c it didn't look good).
Now I can't wait to try these peanut butter filled pretzels!

SusanL said...

I've never been to the one here, but my sister went there for my Christmas gift. Joe-Joe's, their version of oreos, wit bits of peppermint in them. SO GOOD and I'm so glad they're only out once a year!!

Anonymous said...

aimee told me about your contest. so here goes.

crab stuffed salmon
arparagus risotto
cinimmon almonds
bowtie pasta with vegetables (green bag) with EVOO and light parmasean cheese
various non-alcoholic drinks - not to be consumed in large quantities - somewhat sugary - but very tasty
CHEESES! all kinds
deli meats

Stay away from the cereals and I caution you on the almond butter.

Also, I once bought two chicken burritos got home and started to eat one. It was bad, maybe I just got a fluke bad one?, so I threw it away. I took the other one back that I did not eat and told them it was bad. Not only did they give me a refund, without a receipt, they gave me a refund for the one I threw away! Who does that? No one, I'll tell you that.


Aimee Olivo said...

-Cinnamon almonds
-Crab stuffed salmon
-Asparagus risotto
-Tortillas - handmade flour (I buy several packages and freeze them)
-Frozen Naan
-Pizza dough & Pizza sauce (so easy to make your own pizzas this summer with lots of fresh veggies)
-OMG their peanut butter cups are To. Die. For.
-And even better than the big ones are the mini peanut butter cups.
-And if you totally want to be in heaven, buy the mini peanut butter cups mix some into the truffle brownie mix.

I only make it there very few months

Sorry Sarah said...

their edamame hummus is superb

and when I'm living alone I always get the frozen brown rice and orange chicken (2 separate items). Together they make for a yummy, quick meal.

my friends rave over the "2 buck chuck" -- Charles Shaw(?) wine super cheap and very good.

you can also buy pizza dough and sauce and choose various other ingredients make your own gourmet pizza.

trader joes isn't convenient for me, but considering how inexpensive it is I go out of my way to get there when I can.

Amy said...

I recently had the pork dumplings (potstickers) and the thai shrimp dumplings that my mom bought in the frozen section at Trader Joe's. They were delicious and so easy for a quick dinner or appetizer.

Susannah said...

Yes - cinnamon almonds, good call! Any and all of their hummus varieties are delicious, and their tabouleh is yummy. They also have a delicious chicken salad.

Jennifer V said...

I'm also a fan of Trader Joe's though I don't make it there nearly enough. My likes:

- when I was preggers, I liked their crystallized ginger; it helped with my slight morning discomfort
- they have an extensive selection of dried fruit, which is a convenient snack
- they have cheap nuts -- my brother always asks for 10 pounds of whole cashews to make spiced cashews for his officemates at Christmas; it costs like $5/ pound - pretty cheap
- they always have pretty, fresh fruit too
- I have a thing for chocolate and raspberry together. They have these raspberry jelly sticks covered in chocolate that I really like, though this description doesn't sound so great.
- As others have said, they have cheap, but good, wine. I like prosecco, and they have good prosecco for like $6.
- They always have a nice assortment of fresh flowers too.

That's more than the 2 items you requested. Everyone else gave you more than 2 items too. I think that's a testament to the love for TJ's.

I'm not sure which location you plan to frequent. For what it's worth, I think the Old Town location is a little easier to get into and out of than the Foggy Bottom location. But, maybe I have grown soft since moving across the river.....

CarolC said...

Three words: THREE BUCK CHUCK. I've never bought anything else there.

Allison said...

We love, love, love the Thai Red Curry Simmer Sauce, frozen jasmine rice, garlic naan, frozen edamame, and both the chicken and pork pot stickers. All of these items I have on hand consistently and they make great quick meals. My favorite sweet treat are the dark chocolate covered pretzels.