Friday, March 20, 2009

Trader Joe's

This month, a Trader Joe's opened up in my neighborhood. I'd been to a TJ once before but wasn't too impressed. But since a TJ was now going to be within walking distance of the homestead, I thought I should give them another try. I'm glad I did. TJ, for those of you who aren't familiar with one, is a grocery chain that specializes in selling its own brands of food, everything from beers to frozen coissants, at reasonable prices. The problem with TJ is that their store brand items are totally hit-or-miss. Like their cheeses: sucks. I bought a Monterey Jack that wouldn't melt and was tasteless. Their "Parmesan" cheese crumbled so badly, it was impossible to grate, and had an icky taste. Their gyozas aren't much better: I tasted the Thai vegetable gyoza and the filling was gluey. Yuk. And I'd stay away from their toilet paper or tissue, unless you're seriously into self-harming or get off sandpapering your body parts. I dunno — that works for some people. I'm not judging.

BUT, I like their frozen tamales. Good flavor and so handy to have around. And, surprisingly, their frozen chocolate croissants work. Okay, they're really not croissants — they have yeast in it for god's sake — but they do bake up nice and crispy (although a tad greasy) and the chocolate isn't bad. I will also give them BIG bonus points because TJ included two bars of chocolate instead of a measly one (I get so upset about this, I actually joined the Facebook cause crying for the inclusion of two bars in every chocolate croissant). I also love the fact that it comes in such a tiny package (my freezer is minuscule) but bake up so big and fat and fluffy.

So, being a newbie to Trader Joe's, I have to ask: what's good at Trader Joe's? what should be avoided? Please comment!

Oh! Here's a fun video about TJ from Carls Fine films.


cheezfri said...

I lived in San Diego for 6 yrs, so I got pretty used to Trader Joe's. When I moved to St. Louis, I missed it very much. But a few years ago, they opened up several branches here. So I'm in hog heaven again!

J.A. Pak said...

Great! So what are your favorite TJ items?