This weekend I went to Trader Joe’s for the very first time! One FINALLY opened close to me on Friday, and I was really excited to check it out. I had heard the hype for a very long time, and after going there I have to say, I think the place is worthy of it.
Leading up to my big trip, I did my research. I wanted to make sure I knew which ‘must-have’ items to get. There are a few obvious ones… like the Cookie Butter and 2 Buck Chuck, but there is a long list of extremely popular items.
Since I wanted to know what was good at Trader Joe’s.. I decided to email Nathan, since he has a blog aptly titled What’s Good at Trader Joe’s. Nathan got back to me that same day, linking me to his “Pantheon” list. Out of the 570 items that he’s blogged about (so far) only 35 have made this elite list. He also recommended I try their frozen Indian Dishes. I got the Coconut Oil Spray, the Chicken Curry Salad, and some other items based on his suggestions. He has TONS of stuff on this blog, so if you want even MORE Trader Joe’s… you should check it out by clicking here.
Another big help was this Huffington Post article about the 17 top selling items at Trader Joe’s. A few of them I had seen on other lists, like the Corn Relish, Triple Ginger Snap cookies, the Marcona Almonds with Rosemary, and the Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip. I ended up buying A LOT of the stuff on this list, since it looked so good.
Now that I knew what I wanted to buy… the next big issue was deciding when I should go. Since it opened Friday, everyone told me I was CRAZY to go this weekend. But I just couldn’t wait. I figured I would go Sunday morning, since NOTHING is busy in Pembroke Pines early Sunday morning. (Trader’s Joes or not) My hubby still said there was no way he was going, so I went by myself… which was probably best since I didn’t need kids distracting me from my very important must-buy list. Anyway, I got there at about 9am and it was perfect. There were people in the store, but not that many. It didn’t feel hectic at all and I was in and out without any issues.
|Empty store, prepared salad and dips, pumpkin mania, cheapie wine!|
I was impressed by the prepared salads and dips. I got a Super Spinach salad for lunch with quinoa, chickpeas, edamame, and some ginger miso dressing. It was REALLY good. I bought my hubby a spicy chicken thai noodle salad which was also good, he heated it up… but I’m pretty sure it was ment to be served cold. (and I think it tasted better that way) The bagged organic spinach was noticeably cheaper than at my other favorite organic supermarket. Actually, a lot of stuff was way cheaper. I know some people say they don’t see a huge difference when comparing Trader Joe’s to the other place, but I did.
I saw tons of interesting items, but I basically stuck to my must-try list for this trip. I was THRILLED to discover tons of pumpkin flavored items, but I only got the Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea and the Pumpkin Butter.
So far everything we have tried is really good. The Speculoos Cookie Butter is worth the hype. (at least in my house!) I could swim in the Chicken Curry Salad, but after seeing how much fat and calories are in it, I’m afraid this will be the one and only time that I purchase it! I was also surprised how much the whole family liked those Ginger Snaps. The cold brew coffee concentrate is good, but it doesn’t compare to the Starbucks Iced Coffee that made our family favorites last month.
So there you go, I am a new Trader Joe’s fan! We will be using a lot of the stuff I got for lunches and dinners this week, so I will be tweeting and Instagramming any honorable mentions! (and if anything sucks, I will definitely tell you that too)
What do you think of Trader Joe’s? Worth all the fanfare or just another grocery store?