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An Ode to Trader Joe's

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.