First Time In A Trader Joe’s

I went to Trader Joe’s today for the first time ever.  I’ve heard people raving about this store for years, but the big expansions into South Florida didn’t’ take place until I was already in Germany.

It’s kind of funny that I never had a chance to try any Trader Joe’s food until now, because some Trader Joe’s food is sold in Aldi stores in Germany.  (A quick history:  Trader Joe’s started out as a California-only store under a different name in the 1950s.  It was renamed Trader Joe’s around 1967, and was American-owned until Theo Albrecht purchased the chain in 1979.  Theo Albrecht is the owner of Aldi Nord.)

I digress.  Amelie and I were trying to go to Target today, not realizing that all of the Target stores would be closed for Easter Sunday.  It’s astonishing how quickly I have forgotten about everything being closed on Sundays now that I’m back in the United States.  The Target we were trying to visit was only a mile or so from the Trader Joe’s, and it seemed like as good a time as any to have my inaugural visit.

I totally stole the next two photos from Yelp because I didn’t know I was going to write about this while we were in the store.

I totally stole this photo from Yelp because I didn't know I was going to write about this while we were in the store. I totally stole this photo from Yelp because I didn't know I was going to write about this while we were in the store.

I’ve heard many people say that the Trader Joe’s aesthetic is very similar to the Aldi experience, but I think that Trader Joe’s is much closer to a Whole Foods type of store than Aldi.  Still, the pricing of all the Trader Joe branded items is much closer to Aldi levels than Whole Foods.  I was expecting Trader Joe’s to be more upscale than it was.

I liked the bag they put our stuff in.  It’s been ages since I’ve been given a paper bag at any kind of a grocer.

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We originally went to the store in search of some body wash for Amelie, and we found one that she likes in the store.  The cookie butter cookies and the power-berry juice blend were total impulse buys.

It is not for nothing that they call cookie-butter “cookie crack.”  That stuff is super-delicious.  Some of you will know it as Speculoos or Spekulatius.  It’s the same stuff.  It is delicious, delicious stuff.  The juice is also really tasty.

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We also decided that we’re going to try some not-at-a-restaurant Indian food for dinner.  We’ll probably trade rice- Amelie wants the Paneer Tikka Masala but doesn’t want the spinach basmati rice.   We both want the naan though.   I have been known to make a meal out of just naan and a mango lassi.

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I don’t really have a well rounded closing for this post, so I’ll just show you a picture of this amazing dog we saw in Boca Raton today.  He was so tiny, and he looked kind of badass with his tiny sunglasses on.

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Have you been to Trader Joe’s?  What do you think of it?

14 thoughts on “First Time In A Trader Joe’s

  1. Oh my gosh, dog-with-sunglasses cracked me up!

    I adore Trader Joe’s. When I realized most canned tuna has soy added (gosh darnit!), I looked for alternatives online and TJ’s is one of the few that doesn’t add soy AND isn’t like $4 a can. So that’s one of the staples I get there. Their frozen naan is so good, too! I try not to buy the convenience/premade food so much because it can get out of hand so quickly and before I know it, I’m plunking down $100 for two bags of stuff. Oops. Oh! I also like their cranberry juice (the unsweetened, tart-as-hell stuff) because it’s cheaper than normal stores, and then I get their sparkling water for $1 a bottle and put a tiny bit of cranberry juice in the water to make a soda-alternative drink. 😀 *thinks* Their tahini-free hummus is delicious with their pita chips. They sell crumbled feta cheese in a container so you don’t have to deal with the water! OH and their flowers are always cheaper than anywhere and last quite awhile. I get cut daffodils there ($1.50 a bunch!!!) around this time of year. At Christmastime they have Christmas Cactus and my mom still has the one I bought her years ago and it still blooms. My garden is full of mini-daffodils from years past. So yeah, good quality plants. 😀

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  2. Jason Vervlied

    if you like Indian food, make a trek up to Lake Worth and go to Crazy Mario’s on the corner of 10th Ave and Military Trail. The plaza is a little run down and the resturaunt isn’t a five star place, but you’ll have a hard time finding better authentic home style Indian anywhere in South Florida. Oddly they also d pizza/Italian and some fusion. The Masala pizzas are really good.

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  3. bunny42

    I was very surprised how reasonably priced most items are. Definitely comparable to Publix. The selection isn’t huge, but what they have is high-quality. I love their flowers! They send out a flier every so often with specials for that month. Good stuff, most of which you can’t easily get elsewhere. I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t have more loose tea available, only tea bags. But other than that, I have nothing but good things to say about TJ’s. It’s really great to have actual store personnel in the aisles to help you find things. And they all know where everything is!

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  4. I absolutely hated visiting Trader Joe’s when I lived in the States; at first I thought it was organic so had it on par with Whole Foods with lower prices and fewer offerings but quickly realized, it was just differently packaged conventional foods, many of which I had only previously had in Germany. No biggie, but I could never find all the ingredients I needed for from scratch foods — they’re heavy on the packaged stuff and less so on the veggies — and ended up there in Berkeley on the day before Thanksgiving. Woo, boy, the entitlement of the customers was beyond anything I could tolerate at a grocery store. It’s food, people, food.

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    1. This will never replace my normal grocery shopping routine- it’s too far out of the way and doesn’t carry half the things I prefer to get as staple foods. It’s an interesting experience, though.

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      1. It was the closest to our house in Berkeley but you hit the nail on the head when you said “doesn’t carry staples.” Like who doesn’t have avocados in California?

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  5. jennnanigans

    I like Trader Joe’s, but I barely ever go because the one here in Winter Park is always banana-balls crazy busy and there’s no parking. It’s also across town from where I live so it’s kind of a trek to get over there and get stuff. I love the store, I just default to Publix for groceries and whatnot since it’s on the way home from work.

    Tiny badass dog in sunglasses is BADASS. 😀

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