Trader Joes Finally!!!

booberry85January 17, 2014

Hurray! It looks like Central NY will be getting a Trader Joes. With the exception of Wegmans, Central NY is an abyss when it come to places to grocery shop. Yes, we have grocery stores, but if you want something that's slightly out of the ordinary, you have to order it.

I'm so excited! It's still in the final planning stages now. I'll have to look on Trader Joes stie to see if they have an idea of when they will open.

(Now I need to pray to the Food Gods for Penzeys & Whole Foods)

Here is a link that might be useful: Trader Joes in DeWitt

This post was edited by booberry85 on Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 12:08

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Trader joes opened a few months ago here in Amherst NY. I was disappointed as I don't see what the big deal is. Seems they sell a lot of packaged frozen foods. I went there looking for two items. Organic grapes and something else (I forget). They had neither.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 12:19PM
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Great news! The closest TJ's to us is an hour away, but we still make it there every couple of months.

Their produce and dairy products are IMHO better than the average supermarket goods, but the prices are similar.

Good cheap wine (their cheap reds are better than their cheap whites)

Lots of choice in oils: several olive oils, coconut, and even some high-smoke-point oils like rice bran oil or grapeseed oil, all at decent prices.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Not sure i really get it either. It seems to be super for singles or young couples needing an easy meal. And IS healthy if you are careful. But i just saw stacks of sweets and cookies all above the frozen pre-made stuff...stacked. 'Fun food' if young and very active. I have only stopped a couple times and was baffled. The only cauliflower was in a plastic bag all chopped up and 'ready-to-go'. No criticism at all. It would have been a favorite shopping stop if it was around 25 yrs ago when i was a newlywed. We were always seeking healthy and quick meals back then and did not have the skills yet to cook from scratch so much.

I do think in a dismal grocery area you will enjoy the variety. I did buy, out of not wanting to waste the stop, a tiny spiral ham that was 'natural-this-and-not-that', and a bit of hot smoked salmon. Both were excellent quality and very expensive but well worth it. A treat being Christmas. Everything is packaged. No butcher or 'grocery guy'. A bit too boutique for me and not at all what i wanted. Forget having a grocery list and i spent an extra 20 on crap i did not need or really used wisely. Probably snack-ish and empty calories. Nothing really memorable except for the ham, (NOT salty!)....i did simmer it for an hour as i always do with smoked ham but this one was something to write about.

A Fairway recently opened as my local grocery, so i understand the ye-haw. Winters can be awful for cold climate shopping after such good summer local fresh produce.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 1:31PM
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Love TJs for certain things, but I consider it a "filler" store. You'll still need to go to Wegmans for a lot of every day stuff. TJs has great cheese at a good price and I love many of their frozen items. It is a fun place to go every so often. I buy little at WF because of the expense. I go mostly for the salad bar, since it is pretty much the only decent salad bar around.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Trader Joe's has a nice selection of cheeses and they are a decent price. And my TJ's has a really good variety of small pieces of various cheeses which I really like. I picked up a 2 oz piece of fontina one day to add to mac & cheese.

I recently bought a champagne/citrus vinegar that I use on salads. It's really good.

As far as frozen goes - the Sweet Corn & Green Chile Tamales are really good.

TJ's is about a mile from me. Other than a few things I don't shop there on a regular basis. I too consider it a "filler" store. Whole Foods is about a mile from TJ's and I buy a lot more stuff there. I love Whole Foods produce.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Boo, I'm envious. I also love TJs, but the closest one is a 4 hour drive away, Northern Michigan will never get one, I guess.

I grow or produce so much of my own food, from vegetables to beef, eggs, chicken, pork, that my trips to the grocery are for paper products, dairy and fresh fruit.

I get my seasonings, herbs and spices from Penzey's and cleaning supplies and paper products in bulk.

I'd love to have a TJ's, though, just for their Triple Ginger Gingersnaps, their dried fruits and nuts, their Pound Plus chocolate and their orange champagne vinegar. Oh, and their Dubliner cheese, I can get it at Sam's Club, but only if I want to buy a 3 pound block, which will get moldy way before I use that much.

I like it much better than Whole Foods, although I do plead guilty to going to WF, getting something from the deli for lunch and then trying to recreate it at home. However, it's also a four hour drive.

My favorite grocery shopping is actually taking a drive to Grand Rapids, which is only 50 miles away, and going to the Mediterranean Market, the Asian market, stop at Horrock's for some produce and the local Carlson-Arbrogast farm dried beans and Penzey's on my way home. That gives me enough unusual ingredients to play with for several months. I get all my brown rice, lentils, garbanzos, olive oil, roasted red peppers, bulk Ceylon tea and sometimes green coffee beans at the Mediterranean market, half the price of the local groceries. I can also buy a whole goat there if I'm inclined, although I haven't yet, LOL. I usually stop at Costco at the same time and stock up on things like brown sugar, butter for the freezer and other basics.

So, my grocery shopping actually gets done about once every three months, LOL, with a stop at a local organic dairy for milk about every two weeks.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 2:26PM
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with the exception of Wegman's

LOL. Much prefer Wegman's to Trader Joe's.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Good for you Boo!

Mine is opening this Fall. The HG is happy about that so we don't have to come home to Tampa via downtown Atlanta. I have tricked him way too many times just to get to a TJ's that was en-route.

Then there was the time we were coming home from our visit with CF friends in Michigan. I suggested that we spend the night in Cincinnati (we would normally drive to south Georgia before stopping) only to surprise him with an early morning stopping trip to Jungle Jim's Grocery Store.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 3:49PM
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LOL, Cathy, I also went to Jungle Jim's, although I didn't trick Elery, he happily went right along. His sister and BIL really didn't see the attraction, but I had a blast.

I've never been to a Wegman's, although several members here have said good things.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:04PM
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I'm in the area too, Boo, and saw the article. My thought was: I'll check it out. I agree that the only chain worth shopping at in the area is Wegman's. But, truthfully, I can't even get motivated to go to the Dewitt Wegman's even though they have a much better selection than the Wegman's stores north of Syracuse where I shop. I supplement Wegman's with smaller stores. Asian grocery stores in Syracuse, Mazzye's meats in Liverpool. Even little old Nichol's in Liverpool has things that Wegman's doesn't carry (and a better deli). No such thing as one stop shopping as far as I'm concerned. I'll check out TJ's once it opens though.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:29PM
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I'm going to look for those corn/chile frozen tamales! I like their pineapple salsa a lot. (and I don't like pineapple).

They carry 2 frozen tarts made in France. One's raspberry, the other pear. (There used to be blueberry also that had the tiniest blueberries with the biggest flavor punch). For fruit lovers these tarts are beyond any desert anywhere. The pear one needs to be served at room temp. to taste the delicate hint of almond.

It's gems like these that keep me a fan.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 10:37PM
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Annie, while the rest of us are driving 50 miles to get farm fresh food, while you have it right outside the door (or canned).

I also like Wegman's better than TJs, but have to drive a whole 10 miles to get there.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 12:48AM
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Comparing TJ's with Wegmans is like comparing the corner general store with Home Depot.

There are two within a few miles of my house, and every couple years someone posts something that makes me check them out again. This time it's the tamales, which are something I've never had and always been curious about. (Do you eat the husk???) Unfortunately every time it's the same thing - I browse every aisle at least twice but only walk out with one or two items.

So I guess I'm another who doesn't quite get the appeal. Go figure the one thing they had that I'd go back for was discontinued - their thousand layer crackers. Loved them! But it's probably a good thing because they worked out to cost something like 25 cents per cracker IIRC.

But I'll head back, probably this weekend, if someone is kind enough to tell me how to eat a tamale!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 7:01AM
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Interesting to me because I'm also in CNY! But I have never been to a Wegman's or Trader Joe's or any of the "special" places you all talk about shopping. I just checked and Dewitt is well over an hour drive for me. With what I'm reading here, I wonder if it's even worth the drive to check it out?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 7:25AM
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Tamales are cornmeal and similar to polenta, grits, spoonbread, corn pon...
The husk is a wrapper, not eaten, and gives not only a nice aroma/flavor, but allows them
to steam nicely as an individual package. I make my own so i rarely purchase them.
The filling, unlike polenta, is often a juicy seasoned pulled pork or chicken, with the soft cornmeal wrapped around the core of meat. This cornmeal filled blob, once wrapped with a corn husk, expands when steamed, and makes a firm little delightful 'purse'. Eaten on a plate with a fork or can easily be eaten standing on a street corner, as they are often sold from a cart throughout South America, NYC, etc.
Usually made with lard and why i don'y buy them. I use the rich braising juices from the pork mixed into my masa and make a filling that is juicy and spicy like a mole. No need for an extra sauce. Most i have purchased are bland, very little filling, often dry, and need a side of red or green sauce.
I hope TJ has a decent product for your first tamale.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 8:04AM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I've been to TJ's before in Boston & in Hartford, CT areas (I have family in both cities). I love their soups as well as the dried fruits & nuts. I've had to get stuff that was shelf stable to make the ride home, but now I'll be able to check out more things. No word on when it will officially open.

Party Music, when the TJ's does open you can make a day out of it in DeWitt. There is a HUGE Wegmans there that has everything under the sun. I actually find that Wegmans a bit overwhelming, but I go there once in a while for the experience. There are smaller Wegmans in Syracuse & Auburn that I go to more frequently.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 8:23AM
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So, I rather like TJ's. The workers at ours are always friendly and helpful...not so much at our big grocery store (Giant Eagle). So, shopping "experience" is a plus. I like the size of TJ's too - it's a "manageable" sized store, so you can get in and out quickly...most of our other stores in the area it's a long hike to get anything because they are so large.

Some of my regular or semi-regular things there are:
* Organic milk - they have the best price on it in the area
* Organic avocados (yum!)
* Other organic produce (probably the best prices on it that I can find locally)
* Organic coconut oil
* Coconut milk
* Cheeses - they have a wide variety with some that are quite good
* Nuts and dried fruits
* Green Tea
* Peppermint Jo-Jo's (like Oreos, and these are only available at Christmas)
* A few of their frozen packaged things are fairly good - and great for a 10 minute meal. I admit to getting their frozen Fried Rice. I almost always have a bag of it around just in case I need something quickly.
* Also, I usually keep a few of their tetra pack soups on hand for something quick.

I've found that I'm generally not terribly impressed with their meat department, so I mostly stay clear of it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:12AM
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FOAS - do not eat the husk! :-)

You should try the chicken tamales also. I like them also - but the corn/green chile are my favorite.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:20AM
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There is a TJs about 15 minutes from me and I haven't been there since they opened and I HAD to check it out after so many people raved about it.

Like so many have already posted, what a waste of time. I bought 2 - 3 items that were good (but not THAT good) and I walked out shaking my head in wonderment that so many people find it appealing. Truthfully, I feel the same way about WF. There is one not far from the TJs and I haven't been there in a couple of years.

If I am going to make an effort to go somewhere to shop, I am headed to Wegmans (30 minutes away) or one of the very nice farmers markets.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:40AM
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It's funny that we all have such different perspectives on TJ's (and the other retailers).

A TJ's oepend about 1/2 mile from my work last October. And tho I don't shop them regularly or for the bulk of my grocery shopping, I do love to stop in for certain items.

Like Andreak, I find their organic milk prices to be far less than I can get elsewhere. As is with their free-range and organic eggs (when my neighbors hens are being stingy...)

However I love their meats. Picked up some French Boned Pork Chops for a reasonable price a few weeks ago and they actually tasted like a pork chop! Chops I have gotten in the last couple of years have been flavorless.

They also have frozen fish selections that I can't get anywhere else around here, such as silver salmon and mahi mahi.

Their organic grass fed ground beef is about $1.50 per pound less than my local grocery, and their BS Chicken breasts
are huge, and altho not cheaper than the bags of "flash frozen" Tyson or Jennie-O, they are fresh and so much tastier!

Their cheese selection and prices are also very good.

As for the pre-packaged frozen stuff, the frozen fried rice is good and nice to have on hand to pair with a quick stir-fry. And the Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken are nearly as good as I can make myself.

And their store brand whole bean coffees are darn good too!

I love TJ's, but I suppose I would consider them more a "filler" store as well.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:42AM
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I occasionally will shop at Trader Joe's, the nearest one is 30 minutes (maybe a little less) away from my house. My mother doesn't drive due to health issues but is still working so I often drive her home from work. There is a TJ's, Whole Foods, and a really nice non chain grocery store all near her work so occasionally I will get there early with the purpose of killing a little time perusing one of these stores. I will agree with others that the bulk of TJ's products are either frozen, canned, jarred, or boxed. Not a large selection of fresh fruits, veggies, or meats/proteins. The one thing I have bought there that really impressed me was their garlic powder. It was inexpensive and way better than any other garlic powder I have tried. (Note: I have not tried Penzeys garlic powder). I also like their wines, dairy products, nut butters, baking products, and chocolate. I do think their frozen/boxed foods taste good but I don't buy them because I have been trying to eat healthier these past few years.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 10:11AM
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We drive an hour to Trader Joe's several times a year just to get a few things. Their "British Muffins" are so much better than grocery store English muffins. I like their Soft Whole Wheat Bread (oddly named, since it's not soft as bread goes) for breakfast toast. The Triple Gingersnaps are good. Best of all, they have non-ultrapasteurized heavy cream. I'd go there for that alone.
We always pick up some new things to try. This time, fig butter.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:28AM
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A Trader Joes open up a year ago and I finally went last month. I just couldn't see what the big deal was. Its so small and the parking was terrible. My friend was just going on about this and that item. I did get a couple of things but not sure I'll be going back. They just opened a place called Sprout, I guess its suppose to be similar to Whole Foods. Will probably checked that out in a few months.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Surprised no one mentioned their macaroni and cheese. That is the best frozen mac and cheese I've ever had. So creamy. Definitely worth the trip for that alone.

I agree on the selection of cheeses.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 4:14PM
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Its interesting to see how far people drive to grocery stores. I have Tops and Wegmans two miles from my house. Add in TJ, walmart, Target, and a million other stores within 5 miles.

Years ago before wegmans moved into the buffalo area I remember people taking mini vans to Rochester (2 hours away) with lots of coupons(doubled coupons) to shop at wegmans.

While I'm on my way to Wegmans right now, (I'm stalling because its cold and blustery) they aren't great with everything. Their meats seem to be dropping in quality. I have a great butcher close by but he doesn't have everything and isn't open 24/7. I may consider checking Tops meats as many here rav about them.

I guess not every store can answer everyones needs. Good thing most of us have a variety to choose from. I heard recently that the average person has 8 or 9 choices in stores to buy food at. Much higher than years ago. That sounds high but consider that many gas stations now have mini stores.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 2:36PM
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For farm fresh fruits and vegetables year 'round, Kevin can walk from work during his lunch hour to the Tuesday Culver City Farmers' Market, and I have made him promise to go there every week to make sure that we have more fresh vegetables to eat. Adjacent to the Farmers' Market is a Trader Joe's, but we generally shop at the one in Westchester near our house. I really do not care for TJ's tamales, possibly because there are so many tamale shops here that make excellent fresh tamales, but I have recently decided that I should try making them myself again and use the duck fat I have saved in place of lard. Then I can put smoked or barbequed turkey legs inside. Since it's still extremely warm today, I think we will have to cook outside, to avoid heating the kitchen. We're still going to TJ's today, but we will also have to go to Ralphs to get the turkey.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 3:51PM
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debark, I have one very small independent grocery store in the town I live in, population is somewhere around 800 people. The only fast food is a relatively new Subway and we also have one gas station.

If I drive 25 miles there is a Wal-Mart, Meijer, Aldi's and Shop N Save. That's 25 miles one way, another 25 miles home.

If I want to drive 50 miles, though, I can go to Grand Rapids where they have every ethnic market you can think of, various grocery store chains including D&W, Kroger and Family Fare, the Downtown Market, a very upscale "food destination" where they give classes from cooking to yoga and have vendors that sell things like cheese, wine, baked goods, seafood. It's relatively new, and has been open for only a few months.

Not a Trader Joe's, though, or a Whole Foods. They did have a Fresh Market for a while, but it closed.

On the upside, I have a wonderful farmer's market about 5 miles from my house and I'm surrounded by pick your own orchards and berry farms, organic dairies and asparagus fields. That doesn't help much for fresh produce in the winter, though.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 7:14PM
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I like Trader Joe's because they have some prepared food that is truly heart healthy. My mom is in her mid-80's and on a fat and salt restricted diet. She cooks less than she did at a younger age, and likes soup in the winter, but despite looking couldn't find prepared soups that fit her dietary needs. TJ's carries several different varieties of good tasting of low fat, low sodium soups as well as good low fat cheese.

I live I an area without TJ's and don't know if I would shop there if there were one around since I pretty much make things from scratch and I use standard grocery stores, local farms, and the nearby coop.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 7:36PM
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Add canned lite coconut milk-99c, chocolate chips for baking, house brand ap flour(excellent and 2.99), olive oil, chopped garlic, all kinds of crackers, wine, nuts, almond flour/meal, romaine, spinach, cubed butternut squash at holiday time, orange flavored dried cranberries, spices. I love tj's. I was underwhelmed with a particular house mustard but I sure would try anything at tj's. Their prices are good, too.

Love, love the 72% pound plus. Is there are better deal? So just for the big chocolate bar and the red and white cheap wines alone. My store is 5 minutes away.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:16PM
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westsider, I didn't even know they had almond flour/meal, next time I go I'm definitely looking for that for macarons.

I tried the almonds in the food processor thing, what a PIA.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:19PM
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Lars, tamales made with duck fat? sounds terrifically decadent. Report back how they turned out. I once made a roux with duck fat for a gumbo--excellent.

Oh, one other thing I didn't see mentioned: The quart cartons of chicken stock at TJ's are very good, both in regular and reduced salt versions. Very full flavored and rich. Hardly worth making your own stock with stuff like that available.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 8:54AM
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Annie, the almond meal I've seen at TJ's is made from unblanched almonds, and IMO has way too much brown skin. Tried it and did not like it, even for uses where the skin is okay. If I grind my own whole almonds in a coffee grinder I get something with much less brown in it. So the TJ stuff must be made from very small almonds, which would have more skin surface in relation to volume.
Bob's Red Mill almond meal/flour is much better.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:43AM
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I usually buy our alcohol--wines, gin, vodka, cognac, bourbon--at TJ's. Prices are great--usually about 10% less than our local liquor store on major brands, and the workers really know the stock and can recommend knowledgeably. It is fun to experiment with the bottles that come in on specials. Just recently for a month or so they had a very fine bourbon at a great price.

I like to have their boxed soups on the shelf. They are better than any other prepared soups I know, and useful as the basis for all sorts of things. Ditto their boxed stock, although now I usually have plenty of home made frozen stock on hand.

As others have said, their cheese selection is reasonable and always interesting. I buy most of my cheese there.

Cut flowers are lovely and well-priced. I don't buy them often, but I admire them when I walk in.

When I go, I always buy any dairy and vegetable produce that I can use. Yogurts, cream, milk, all are worth checking out. Leafy and root veggies also. Artichokes and asparagus are sometimes a really good buy.

I have little use for the prepared frozen meals, but usually have a package or two of their grilled corn in the freezer.

They have an interesting steak sauce (sort of their version of Worchestershire sauce) and a useful garlic sauce, both of which I try to keep on the shelf.

Their olive oil selection is great, and the house brand (the one with the pouring spout) is my favorite cooking oil.

I also keep their canned crabmeat in the fridge. It keeps forever--well, for months. Not really "lump" although the top layer is, but very reasonable and great for quick special-tasting pasta dishes.

They also have a decent jar of alfredo sauce that is nice to have on hand for emergency meals.

Of course, many things I never buy there: granulated sugar, TP, and paper towels, for instance. They carry them--usually tucked into a corner of a bottom shelf where I am more than happy to leave them.

Have fun. And I bet a Penzey's will follow them soon to offer you even more goodies.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Wed, Jan 22, 14 at 10:07

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 12:02PM
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i would take a Wegman's over TJ's any day. I did an experiment a few years back for Thanksgiving. It was just going to me DH and me so I bought everything at TJ's - turkey, gravy, stuffing mix, canned pumpkin, 2 buck chuck wine, etc. It was very subpar and DH agreed. Very interesting but I won't do that again. We have one near us but I usually just get a few things there (chicken pot stickers, cheese, nuts, chocolates). I think alot of the raving is because it is different than our everyday grocery stores. If it went out of business tomorrow, I wouldn't miss it.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 12:16PM
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Justsaying, you made a mistake in confusing Trader Joe's for a real grocery store. It would be like shopping for Thanksgiving dinner at 7-11. It's a niche store, a specialty store.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 12:50PM
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When people want me to describe Trader Joes, I always tell them, "It's where yuppy meets crunchy granola."

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 1:55PM
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Booberry85, when I saw your reply to Party Music, it reminded me of shopping at TJ's. They play the best music, and there are invariably a few people humming or singing along, myself included!

I was there last Saturday, and bought the usual triple ginger snaps, pound plus chocolate with almonds, roasted red pepper & tomato soup, giant raisin medley, and Ezekiel raisin/cinnamon bread. One thing they had that I'd never seen was cilantro dressing, so I bought a bottle. Good stuff!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 2:04PM
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I also don't get the appeal. We make most everything we eat from scratch so we buy flour/sugar, etc. in bulk at Sam's Club. I make my own chicken and beef stock and we hunt deer so beef isn't purchased and it certainly is organic- (although that isn't important to me.) We went to TJs one time when visiting the kids/gkids in Chicago. Walked out with nothing and won't go again.

Didn't think the prices were anywhere close to reasonable.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 3:43PM
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The more I go, the more I like it! I used to go occasionally for certain things, but now I start my weekly shopping there, then go elsewhere for other needed items. They have the best prices on organic produce around here. They have a lotion I love, I get basic baking items like their cocoa powder, choc chips, etc. as well as their whole milk organic European yogurt and other dairy items. Their lightly salted kettle potato chips are very good. I also get raw sunflower seeds, canned tuna, and their organic low sodium veggie broth for when I need a quick broth. I have to stay away from artificial ingredients, and I can find some good choices there without "natural flavors" and other additives.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 4:34PM
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It never bothered me that the almond meal may have brown almond skin ground up with the nut meat. I use the almond meal for low carb bread, along with TJ's roasted unsalted sunflower seeds. I just monkey around with an online recipe and it is, unfortunately, a bit dense but still tasty.

I am sure that Christine's homemade meal from unblanched almonds tastes better in that it likely has a more intense almond flavor, but I am not going to grind my own. It's good info to know about Bob's Red Mill but TJ's is about $4 for a pound. And you don't have to buy a 5 lb. quantity like Grainlady's supplier or pay for shipping. It is located where the nuts and dried fruit are. It is good enough for me.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 9:59PM
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Sushipup - I didn't make a mistake - I know full well what TJ's is but they had everything I needed for T'Day so just thought I would give it a go as an "experiment." If they are going to sell turkeys, potatoes, vegetables, etc. one would think you'd be able to make a decent meal out of it. I wouldn't go so far to say it is a specialty store - it's just a different kind of grocery store than everything else and I think that is what draws people in for the most part.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:32PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I really like TJ's but the closest is an hour a way so I don't shop there often.
I make my own cookies, stuffing, gravy, soups, dinners, etc. but there are plenty of other things that are very good and at great prices. I love the Crown Prince smoked oysters in olive oil that I can't get elsewhere except online, orange champagne vinegar, dried gnocchi, and many of the cheeses (love cranberry Stilton). The sulfur free shampoo is good and 3 dollars cheaper than Loreal's Everpure. The prices on produce are fantastic and better than local sales. .69 red peppers for instance.
Two Buck Chuck gives me headaches and is still a cheap tasting wine but they have plenty of good wines at prices better than my local grocery stores.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 2:46AM
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strawchicago 5a IL

We have been shopping at Trader Joe for the past 20 years. Their chips are low-salt, such as Quinoa & black bean chips is really yummy. I also like their Flaxseed-corn-chips (low-salt).

TJ has decent spices at low-price: cinnamon, oregano, but the spice-combo like seafood spice is icky compared to Penzeys' wonderful spice-combo.

I buy lots of dried fruits & raw nuts .... They have the freshest raw nuts, and best dried blueberries. Their bread-selection is good for low-salt diet. Their tofu is very good & cheap. I buy soymilk from TJ since it's lower in salt than any other place. They have cheaper cereals than anywhere else. I saw a woman buying 10 boxes of organic cereals.

The meat section is very good: a good selection of chicken sausages, no-nitrites hot-dog (the best !), plus no-nitrite, reduced fat bacon. I bought cheese a few times, and they are very good. Trader Joe also has the lowest-salt flaxseed crackers ... it's very hard to find low-salt & high-fiber crackers like Trader Joe.

Folks also raved about Trader's Joe sea-weed snack, high in magnesium, vitamin B6 (essential for good sleep), and B12 (vegans lack this). My kid loves the crunchy sea-weed snack, very addictive.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 11:55

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:37AM
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By far the best gluten free pasta anywhere and cheapest at $1.99 for (I think) 12 ounces. Wish I could order it online. In general they have a good selection of gluten free things. And they make a cheesy popcorn snack (think Pirate's Booty) that I could eat by the bagful

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:36PM
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As a former NYer, I concur with Strawberryhill that their all natural hot dawgs are excellent--best I've found on the west coast. The buns are great too. We bought two packages of each yesterday.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:41PM
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I suppose selection of fresh products varies with locale. Here in Los Angeles, we have an excellent selection. Their rainbow carrots around the holidays were fantastically sweet. I wish they were still offering them. We aren't fans of many of their premade entrees, however the frozen polenta with carrots and spinach is terrific when baked and topped with grated parmesan cheese. I've served it repeatedly as a gluten free side when I've had company for dinner. Quick, simple and good!
I find many of their items are healthy alternatives, competitive pricewise and the fresh flowers/orchids are always nice!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:36PM
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strawchicago 5a IL

Forget to add that their customer service is Excellent. I was afraid to buy a new cereal, so they told me if I don't like it, then I'll get a full-refund. They kept their promise.

I used to get Jasmine brown rice from them ... really soft and fragrant. Then they changed supplier, and the rice was tough & icky. I brought the rice back for a full refund.

Their frozen fish is excellent, but a bit more expensive than Sam's. Lots of wonderful ethnic snacks: Frozen Italian tiramisu (YUM!), Italian frozen roast chestnuts, French berry-tart, and German liquor pound cake. The orange-essence German liquor pound cake is addictive (gained 5 lbs. from that !!). We used to get butter-crunch twist from them, but the supplier changed the recipe and used palm oil (ick). The quality varies with the supplier. I'm addicted to seaweed snack from Korea, only 99 cents per pack.

Below is a Pinterest of people's reviews of Trader Joe's. Need to double-click on each board twice to see what are folks' favorites at Trader Joe's.

Here is a link that might be useful: Reviews of Trader Joe's products at Pinterest

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 11:57AM
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Lori, I'm happy to see you here again! It took Trader Joe's to lure you back out, LOL, so I like them for that alone.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:41PM
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When we visit the California contingent of the family, TJ's is in walking distance, so we go. It's okay for picking up a bottle of wine and an occasional oddball item or an orchid for the house, but there is a whole lot of no there there. We don't do frozen meals when there, so I have not tried them. We do know some drinkers of "2 Buck Chuck." I tried a sip once. Thoroughly horrid and undrinkable, and I am not a wine snob. TJ's will open here later this year next to the flagship Whole Foods. It will be interesting to see how it goes. No way will 2 Buck Chuck cost only 2 bucks in Texas. Liquor taxes are much higher in Texas, so I am kind of curious what it will be called here. . .

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 7:54PM
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Kitchendetective, here in Michigan it's 3 buck chuck. I don't care for wine at all, so I'm a poor judge, but Elery and my mother both like dry red wine and find TJ's wine acceptable. Mother says it's "not the best I've ever had and certainly not the worst". Truthfully, I think the worst came from Aldi, LOL.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:14PM
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2 Buck Chuck...didn't find it very drinkable, and I'm FAR from a wine snob. But, it was acceptable for a cooking wine. But then, I also find that the "box wine" is handy to have as a cooking wine. So, take that for what it's worth.

We actually can't get wine at our Trader Joe's because of PA's restrictive liquor laws. Heck, up until very recently, you couldn't buy beer anywhere other than at a beer distributor...recently we "loosened" up a bit and you can now get it at some of the grocery stores. And wine...used to be only at the state run liquor store. Rather unhandy when you need a quick bottle of wine. But I digress.

Kitchendetective - it becomes "x" Buck Chuck for whatever it's cost winds up for your area. I think that when we were in Nevada, it was 3.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I had a really good red recently at Aldis, San Zenone
Toscana Rosso Red, and when I went back to get more it was gone, although I did initially get 4 bottles. I'm going to try some other Aldi's this weekend.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:33PM
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There are several different varietals of Two Buck CHuck (it's up to 2.50 or so in California), and not all have been rated the same.

Here's a rating of the various wines done a while back.

Here is a link that might be useful: Two Buck Chuck

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:51PM
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Oh, and the wine blend changes, probably a couple of times a year.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 11:45PM
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Thank you, Annie. I wish I could come by more often, but I do sneak in now and again. I miss my friends here. :) xoxo

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 1:11PM
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TJ's and Aldi's have a "relationship" so many of the items you find at TJ's, Aldis may also carry at a better price.

I have both stores very close to me and I haven't felt the need to go the TJ's in about 2 years now. Aldi's carries a Pinot Noir and a Chianti that are very good, better than Chuck, which leaves me with a killer headache. Chocolates are great as are the cereals, spices, meats. Both stores have a liberal return policy. I bought a turkey breast at TJ's and it was awful. Got my money back by just bringing in the wrapper.

No, I don't see the fuss about TJ's.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:22PM
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Lori, we miss you too!! Drop in and say "hi" more often!

Around Thanksgiving Trader Joes had an excellent nitrate free ham (probably preserved with celery juice-- a natural nitrate) in a silver wrapper. I bought a small one to try and honestly it beat the pants of the recent Honeybaked hams. This was far less salty. I'm sure it's a seasonal item, but hopefully they will repeat it year. If so, I will buy a couple and freeze them for later use.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:57PM
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I can second the ham mentioned by compumom above if it is TJ's uncured ham.

I recently thawed a frozen one and shared it with two neighbors. Both came back announcing it was the BEST ham they had ever had and demanding to know where the heck they could buy it.

One of them, an accomplished cook whose food I envy and enjoy when I receive overflows, said he hated the taste of previously frozen ham, and this one was great. "Er," I said. "It has been in my freezer for several months."

If you find it at TJs, consider giving it a try.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 17:09

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 5:07PM
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Peppi, a new Aldi's just went in about 30 miles from here, I like shopping there a lot. Elery went there yesterday and bought avocados, so far all the produce has been from the USA.

I like that I can get Dubliner cheese there in small amounts and the kids like their snacks, about half the price of Meijer or our local Evil Empire. However, Mother bought something called "Winking Owl" wine. Why? Because Mother thinks owls are cute, LOL. She said the wine was possibly the worst she'd ever had. I asked her what she expected for $2.99. (grin)

If I lived in Chicago and had your shopping available I probably wouldn't be that impressed with TJs either, but with no Trader Joe's, no Whole Foods, no Wegman's, few specialty stores, well, TJs is a fun stop.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 6:52PM
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I mentioned the ham above. It was the best ham we have ever had. We had talked about skipping ham this past holiday because in the past the salt and the overeating and the after effect, sick and thirsty, but it was small and i caved. We loved it.
I don't go out of my way, i've only stopped twice now, but it is near my car dealer for service and will stop again when piggy-backed other shopping needs.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 8:49PM
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I shop at TJ's about once a week. Nuts are a good price, great cheese selection, bread is good and fairly priced, lots of cereals. We had the ham at Thanksgiving, and yes it was good. Produce is ok, some of it is organic which I like, but sometimes over-packaged. Good prices on basics like eggs, milk, butter. Ready-made salads are reasonably priced and pretty good. They have a roasted corn (loose not on the cobb) in the frozen section that is so good!

All TJ's may not have the same products, but I don't care for the sour cream (grainy) and some of the prepared, frozen foods.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 9:10PM
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