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An Ode to Trader Joe’s

It's an all-American success story with low prices and great noshes. It laughs in the face of Whole Foods.

Bridget Johnson


June 7, 2012 - 3:43 pm
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Trader Joe’s products don’t have artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, trans-fats or MSG, and are quite frankly the most delicious grocery items out there.

Some favorites:

  • The Pizza 4 Formaggi – with edam, asiago, pecorino, and grana cheeses: $3.99.
  • The Reduced Guilt Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, which make Baked Lays hang their little cardboard-tasting heads in shame: $1.99. Decadence = these with TJ’s blue cheese roasted pecan dip.
  • The 3-cheese shredded blend of cheddar, mozzarella and jack: Here, bags of shredded cheese are like you just took a block of queso to the cheese grater yourself — never dry and crumbly. $3.99
  • The creative bagged salad blends at around two bucks a pop, and the organic baby carrots that are thicker than the grocery store’s for less.
  • Around St. Paddy’s Day, they have real Irish bangers.
  • The creative and yummy selection of ready-to-eat refrigerated lunch and dinner items. Back in Cali this selection was more extensive, like gyro sandwiches, but I currently have in my fridge the Cubano Seasoned Wrap with roasted pork, ham, swiss, dill pickles and mustard dressing.
  • Try one of the 96 percent lean burgers on the Knotted Challah Rolls with havarti (cheese prices are a fraction of grocery stores). Just sayin’.
  • The popcorn! Bagged varieties include movie theater with butter and salt, olive oil and salt, white cheddar and the new (out here, at least) herbs and spices.
  • Here I can get a bag of either red or green apple slices without the single-serving kiddie packing that drives up prices in the grocery stores, and they last quite a while.

And I can’t say I have much of a sweet tooth — Trader Joe’s has the best junk food around, so I think I’m already doing OK there — but TJ’s has chocolate-covered everything. They also have an impressive frozen dessert section, including the mini ice cream cones and the TJ’s version of Otter Pops (read: real fruit instead of day-glo artificial everything). Their versions of other infamous junk foods are also pretty awesome, such as the TJ’s versions of Funyuns and Ritz Bits.

Oh, I’d hate to see a world without Trader Joe’s.

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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