The Best of Trader Joe’s

Months ago we asked you to submit your favorite items from Trader Joe’s.  It was one of those posts that kept being delayed– not that it wasn’t a great idea, it just didn’t scream, “write it now”!  Until last night, I completely underestimated Trader Joe’s.  Today I can write: This store is incredible.

This weekend I shipped my husband and kids off to our place on the river so I could get caught up.  I literally sat at my computer for hours doing paperwork.  Finally about 6PM, I headed to Trader Joe’s with your list of suggestions in hand.  Since I needed corporate approval to shoot photos inside the store, I decided to buy most of what was on the list.  Well, $123.17 later, I can say, “ I GET TRADER JOE’S.”  While in the store, I had passionate shoppers and store employees racing me around the aisles to show me their favorite must buys from TJ’s.  I even got a quick tutorial on the best beers to buy from Jerod (store employee) and his favorite marinade recipe, which I ready to share with you and the end of this post.   I had a complete blast.

image courtesy of Kables of Seattle.

The good news is Trader Joes is doing just fine in Nashville even though we can’t buy their famous “Two Buck Chuck.”  If you’ve never heard of this product, let me say it’s a phenomenon in the markets where Traders Joe’s sells it.  They buy wine from an assortment of vineyards and sell it under their private label of Charles Shaw.  Shoppers have been known to buy a bottle, go to their car, sample the elixir and return to buy multiple cases.  Jerod told me in other cities, they keep it on palettes in the front of the store for easy loading. That’s pretty tempting when you’re entertaining a large group.

Trader Joe’s (per Jerod) has a huge following from the music business folks since most of them are from the West Coast and already love the store.

Here are your favorite items and we are grateful for your responses!  I have noted your contribution in italics, including Liza’s and my favorites, and even the suggestions from the passionate shoppers I met last night.

Fresh and in the produce area: (enter store and head left)

  • Mediterranean Hummus: also available in spicy and a brand new one, cilantro and jalapeño. $3.99 (Kristen)
  • Green Cabbage, pre-cut and washed. $1.59 (Liza)
  • Romaine Lettuce Hearts. $2.29 (Elizabeth)
  • Heirloom Tomatoes, small and pre-packaged.$3.49 (Liza)
  • Champagne Pear Vinaigrette. $2.99 (Erin)
  • Ready Made Pizza Dough, wheat or regular. $0.99 (Jessica)
  • TJ’sFresh Salsa: mild, hot and verde. $2.99 (Kristen)

Frozen food section: (there are 2 aisles of frozen food divided between meat & vegetables and breakfast items

  • Mini Croissants: comes in chocolate too! $3.99 ( Sarah M.)
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal, already cooked. $1.59 (Sarah)
  • Mandarin Orange Chicken: this is Trader Joe’s #1 selling item store-wide. $4.99( Betsy)
  • French Style Flatbread: with ham, caramelized onion and gruyere cheese. $4.39 (Jerod/TJ’s employee)
  • Pastry Pups: mini beef franks, puff pastry with parmesan cheese. $4.49 (Jennifer)
  • Pastry Bites: with feta and caramelized onions.$4.99 (Amy)
  • Sweet Potato Fries. $2.29( Shilina)
  • Thai Jasmine Rice, pre-cooked $2.99 (Ann)

Beer, Beverages, Snacks & Miscellaneous (look high & low at TJ’s, they’re everywhere)

  • Red Oval Lager, really cheap, 6 pack. $2.99 (Ursula)
  • Savory Thin Mini Crackers. $2.49 (Kathy)
  • Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels.$3.29 (Elizabeth)
  • French Market Sparkling Lemonade. $2.99 (Sarah S.)
  • Mission St. Hefeweizen Beer, 22 oz. $2.49 (Jerod)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. $3.99 (Lella)

The Perfect Marinade: Trader Joes’ Island Soyaki. $3.69

Jerod’s Marinade recipe:

  • Pour yourself a chilled Red Oval Lager to get started.
  • 1 cup of Island Soyaki marinade
  • Dump in the rest of your beer
  • Add honey or brown sugar to taste
  • Add chopped garlic & green onions to taste
  • A shake of hot sauce couldn’t hurt.
  • Marinade for at least an hour.

Happy Shopping!
Elizabeth

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