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Old 11-13-2005, 01:40 PM   #1
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Trader Joe's Bargains

Well, they've just opened a Trader Joe's here that is conveniently located on my way home from work.

Did a test trip today and got some maple syrup, dried blueberries for HH, and a little Cointreau liqueur cake that I'm gonna make a nice chocolate sauce for.

Some of the prices seemed comparable to the local Safeway and others much too pricey for what you get. I realize TJ's has a more interesting and eclectic selection.

But for regular-type trips, what do you TJ fans recommend as good buys compared to the regular mega-mart?

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Old 11-13-2005, 03:21 PM   #2
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- Cheeses, especially the imported ones
- Nuts, all kinds
- Olive oil (I get the Kalamata)
- Those big squares of chocolate that are broken from a much larger piece (for Dad)
- Moo Cream (body moisturizer)
- cat treats (vet says they are more healthy)
- And garlic-stuffed olives, which everyone in my family is addicted to

I used to get maple syrup there, since they have a better price than the supermarkets, but I discovered that Christmas Tree shops have real maple syrup for a dollar less than TJ's.

The dried blueberries are excellent. I've been using them in baked oatmeal.

There is a cheap wine there that is nicknamed "Three Buck Chuck" or something like that. I tried several varieties of it, but it's far too watery and weak for me.

Lee
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Old 11-13-2005, 03:31 PM   #3
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Thanks, Q - their cheese selection did look pretty scrumptious. The wine is called Two Buck Chuck, but apparently it's called something else here because there was none for sale for two dollah.

BTW, the place was packed. Must have been a lot of TJ fans waiting for this one to open. People were pushing carts heaped with stuff up to the registers.
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:04 PM   #4
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I'm a big fan of the prepared pizza crust and also a good bargin is the better than boullion. Around my parts, TJ has the best price for this. Go down the snack aisle, they have good snacks! The TJ label dairy products is also good. Their milk is BST free, which is the growth hormone.

And their free range whole chicken is also a good price (at least around my parts). I believe it's organic too. Can you tell I love TJs and have done my price comparisons?
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:27 PM   #5
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Exactly the kind of input I was looking for, htc (you too, Q).

I'm kinda leaning toward the dried cherries for a pie or something, along with some of that yummy looking cheese and probably a loaf of whole grain bread or two for starters.
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:32 PM   #6
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My dd used to send me artisan breads when she was in California before we had them here. She sent lots of other things. I'll have to think what they were. that has been almost 10 years ago.
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:35 PM   #7
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Actually, licia, I've been getting artisan bread at Panera's lately, but will have to do a price comparison. Or carve out some time and attempt it myself.
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:37 PM   #8
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That is where I get it sometimes now, but we had no Panera's then and the grocery stores didn't have it. Also BJ's has very good bread if you need a large quantity of it(like 3 loaves at the time). At Panera I can get one at the time - and different size loaves, so I don't lose any.
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:41 PM   #9
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We go to Costco instead of BJs (both are here) and Costco makes a pretty decent garlic loaf, but had none when we were there this a.m.

We love bread too much in this house to risk having 3 loaves of good bread at a time. It would be gone in a heartbeat.......
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Old 11-13-2005, 05:54 PM   #10
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we have a trader joe's near here but I never shop there. the local supermarket is a high end chain called Kings. they have at least as eclectic a selection as trader joe's and the prices, while still high, are better.
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Old 11-13-2005, 06:48 PM   #11
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When we were in Oregon, we lived near a TJ's and I loved it for wine. They carry one call "Jest Red" ... hardy and bold, not for the faint of heart (it will actually stain your tongue purple). Their general wine section was good as well and seemed to change regularily enough to keep it worth the trip. The "Three Buck Chuck" is watery but nice to keep on hand for cooking or when you want just a little sipper and don't want to open something nicer :).
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Old 11-14-2005, 01:09 AM   #12
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As you can see by the list below that I love to shop at Trader Joe's. I find most of their prices to be reasonable. Mostly what I like about them is they tend to have products that do not have sulfites, high fructose corn syrup, and are generally better for you. I still read the labels, but I have found more things that I can eat. Just so you know I am allergic to sulfites and have to watch my sugar intake. Here are some of my favorite things from Trader Joe's:
  • Blueberry Bran muffins from the Zen Bakery
  • Trader Joe's Sprouted Multi-grain Salt Free Bread - This bread does not have high fructose corn syrup. Now that I have started eating this bread all the other breads are too sweet tasting for me. 2 grams of sugar and 15 grams of carbs per slice
  • Any of their nuts and dried fruits
  • Trader Joe's white corn tortilla chips
  • Whole wheat pastas
  • Trader Joe's pad thai - found in the frozen section.
  • Triple Ginger Snaps
  • Shortbread cookies with apricot or raspberry filling
  • low sodium soy sauce
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Old 11-14-2005, 01:52 PM   #13
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Mudbug I am so glad you have a TJ's now! I love their prepared meals for something to keep in the freezer when I don't feel like cooking. They have a decent selection of Mexican and Indian foods in the freezer section and usually are around $3 or so. It is not a ton of food, but is usually enough for a lunch. They are all very tasty too.

Check out the olive oil section. The one I love is Santini (I am pretty sure that is what it is called). It is one of the smaller bottles they have, but is priced at $3 and change. I love the stuff.

The cheeses are great and also their dried fruit I really like.

The 2 buck Chuck (Charles Shaw) is decent although at my TJ's I think they charge $3 or maybe even a little more. Still worth it though. I usually have a few of those on hand. They also carry their own brand of beer that is surprisingly good as well. I think I paid $4 for a 6 pack.

I am sure you will find some great bargains there in now time
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Old 11-14-2005, 01:56 PM   #14
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I am in the minority of folks that is totally unimpressed with TJ's.

I do buy Cowboy lump charcoal and pure grade b maple syrup there, but not much else. I do like their frozen ethnic foods.

I can get better wine for not much more at my Stop and Shop or at Best Cellars.
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Old 11-14-2005, 02:01 PM   #15
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I rarely shop at TJ's though there's one within 10 minutes.

I have found some things that are a good deal there but they are not things I buy alot. I seldom buy prepared foods so that aspect of the store is of little interest. Their dried fruits and vanilla beans are a good deal.
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:17 PM   #16
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We buy the unsalted nuts and frozen artichoke hearts. I tried one of their frozen Chinese bowls with chicken. It was so hot I couldn't eat it.
They are the largest wine retailers in the country. we love the red Vina Borgia it is not expensive. They also have great smoked salmon.
The flower bouquets are beautiful and last a long time.
My husband likes the dark chocolate sold in large pieces. They also have a great Trader Joe White Balsamic vinegar- great with salads containing fruit.
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:42 PM   #17
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Their Dried Bing Cherries are really good. I rehydrate them in hot water and use them for my Arugula and Fuji Apple salad.
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