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Old 03-16-2008, 11:46 PM   #1
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I went to Trader Joe's today ...

and frankly, was underwhelmed. It was a 30-mile drive and the store was quite small. They had some interesting things - after reading the thread here on what people like to buy, I got a masala and a green Thai curry simmer sauce, some frozen garlic naan bread, and frozen orange chicken for when I don't feel like cooking.

The best find was Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for $11.99/lb. I'm not sure that's worth the 60-mile round trip, though. I found PR cheese at Amazon.com for $12.99/lb. for 2 lbs. and I wouldn't have to drive. I have a friend who goes up there once a month or so - maybe I can just give her a list

They had no lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves. Oh well.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:50 AM   #2
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Really? I'm sorry you were nearly disappointed ... I love TJ's and wish we had one. It's more than 100 miles for me, and believe me, I don't pass it up if I'm nearby. I just think it's a neat atmosphere. They have $2 wines (if you like vino), and just out of the ordinary things I don't see around here. I got 5 bags of bow tie pasta for 89 cents/lb, since that's my daughter's fave. It's $1.29 here. And I got a few boxes of organic chicken and veg broth for when I don't have time to make or thaw, which I thought were reasonable at $1.99.

I thought their convenience foods were interesting for those who are single or live on the go. Not for me, but what a great selection. The produce aisle even had a guac kit with avocados, tomato, garlic and a pepper. I thought that was ingenious, since some people actually think it comes already mashed up in a container, lol.
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Old 03-17-2008, 04:58 AM   #3
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I'm not all that impressed with Trader Joe's either. Like you said, there are some unusual items available, but I don't trust buying their dairy products any longer. On two separate occasions I experienced milk products souring long before a use by date. I don't believe they store/receive dairy products properly.

They do have great coffee beans, though...
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:55 AM   #4
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Our Trader Joes in the bay area are pretty big. I find all kinds of goodies and can't wait to stock up the kitchen when I move home in June! I got my parents hooked on shopping there too. You don't find everything you need so it's not the only store I shop at.
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:20 AM   #5
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I am another "not impressed" Trader Joe's visitor.
The store was cramped, poorly arranged, and the
"deals" weren't that exciting.

But it was packed with well to do looking people, LOL!
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:00 AM   #6
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Hmm I really enjoy shopping at TJs.

I dont think it is great for all shopping but they have some products I enjoy at reasonable prices. If you have the time and inclination to do everything from scratch and/or do not really like ethnic tastes you will be dissapointed

here is what I like:

1 A good cheese selection at generally better prices than the supermarket or gourmet shops.

2 The prepared sauces marinades etc which are great for throwing together a tasty meal on work days when you are time constrained. I like thier Mole sauce and some of thier pestos as well as some of the spreads etc. You can find equivalents of many of these things in ethnic stores but TJs are more user friendly if you are not familiar with the product

3 Good selection of pasta and rice etc at better prices than the superparket

4 I like thier yoghurt and cereal also priced well

5 They make a good potato chip

6 Good selection of oils and vinegars at reasonable prices

7 Depending on your state laws good wine and beer selections at good price

Again I am not sure I would make a long out of the way trip to shop there but it is a store I enjoy shopping in and thier staff is alos usually mroe pleasant than the regular supermarket staff
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:57 AM   #7
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I have one near me but don't go there. I received a gift card to TJ's and had a hard time finding something to spend it on! Maybe it is just my store but the cheeses did not look appetizing although I did get a container of mascala. Most of the stuff looked interesting but I thought the prices were kind of high and the food was not what my family would be interested in eating. I think if you are into ethnic or haute cuisine it is a great place for you but if you are just an average everyday cook, not so much. My dad likes their beer and wine and doesn't have one where he lives so we go and pick up that for him when we are going to visit.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabbur View Post
I have one near me but don't go there. I received a gift card to TJ's and had a hard time finding something to spend it on! Maybe it is just my store but the cheeses did not look appetizing although I did get a container of mascala. Most of the stuff looked interesting but I thought the prices were kind of high and the food was not what my family would be interested in eating. I think if you are into ethnic or haute cuisine it is a great place for you but if you are just an average everyday cook, not so much. My dad likes their beer and wine and doesn't have one where he lives so we go and pick up that for him when we are going to visit.
I'm pretty sure the one I went to *is* the one near you, jabbur On Jefferson, by the Newport News/Wmsburg Airport?

I do like ethnic foods, which is why I got the simmer sauces for an easy weeknight meal. They also had a sample of a three-cheese pasta sauce that DH liked, so we got a jar of that, and a bag of jasmine rice, since I'm working on improving my Thai cooking, especially curries. But it's a long way just for those kinds of items.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:06 AM   #9
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I see them more as a niche market concept versus an overall supermarket, but my impression is that the prices are better on organics than say, Whole Foods. But since I have neither at my daily disposal, I suppose it's all in what you have to compare it to. Little things excite me, so I am REALLY looking forward to my first Wegman's trip in September when I visit a friend.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
and frankly, was underwhelmed. It was a 30-mile drive and the store was quite small. They had some interesting things - after reading the thread here on what people like to buy, I got a masala and a green Thai curry simmer sauce, some frozen garlic naan bread, and frozen orange chicken for when I don't feel like cooking.

The best find was Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for $11.99/lb. I'm not sure that's worth the 60-mile round trip, though. I found PR cheese at Amazon.com for $12.99/lb. for 2 lbs. and I wouldn't have to drive. I have a friend who goes up there once a month or so - maybe I can just give her a list They had no lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves. Oh well.
I don't enjoy being the bearer of bad news but I've touted TJ's as being good in the past but not so good any more. People who get such a kick out of it couldn't have gone 30 years ago or even 20 years ago when it was really fun. Lots of things to taste, you didn't have to buy cheese or deli meats without first tasting, not so now. It's now a packaged place, much like any other place and personally although it's less than 4 miles from my house, a straight shot too, I go very infrequently. Plus, their prices were better when it first opened up 2 years ago, since then, they've slowly but surely inched up. No big savings there AFAIC............
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