Trader Joe’s recently opened a store here in Tampa, and I hauled ass over there like it was hurricane season and they had the last supply of canned meat. Yes, this entire post is about Trader Joe’s because, apparently, I have no life.
I had been to Trader Joe’s before, but it was either when I went to visit my sister or visit friends in California, and those times were just to browse and see what it was all about. After hearing for years about how awesome TJ’s was, I’d been wishing it would expand to my neck of the woods. And when that glorious time finally did dawn, I hit up a couple of friends and my favorite running blog and snagged the following Trader Joe’s must haves:
1. Cookie Butter
I’d heard about TJ’s cookie butter before, and didn’t know what the hell it was. After eating it, I still don’t know what the hell it is (is it a butter? is it a dip?), but I do know that it’s pretty goddamn delicious, like a spreadable snickerdoodle or gingersnap or something. I feel like this is probably what unicorn poop would taste like, if it existed, and told T.O. that if he ever wanted a way to woo me that required minimal effort and little out of pocket expense to just buy me a jar of this stuff. I’m easy like that.
2. Margherita Pizza
Probably one of the most surprising things I’ve heard people say about TJ’s food is that anything in the frozen section is good. You don’t normally hear that unless you’re a college student or a bachelor listening to Sad FM while eating his frozen dinner over the kitchen sink and regretting his life choices. So I picked up this frozen margherita pizza for lunch. I didn’t take a picture, but the back of the box showed people in chef uniforms tossing dough around as if to say, “Yo, this is the real deal! Trader Joe’s doesn’t fuck around when it comes to quality ingredients! These people made this shit with their bare fucking hands!” It wasn’t bad, although I’ve had better. But at four dollars and some change, it’s a good option if you’re looking for a cheap quickie (meal).
3. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
I knew this was going to be good. You can’t really screw up peanut butter and chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the dark chocolate: it was good quality! Although, to be honest, even if the chocolate had tasted like chalky sadness, I still would have eaten it. Chocolate is chocolate.
4. Vanilla “Almond Beverage”
Nobody really suggested this, I just picked it up because I needed something with which to make breakfast smoothies. I just like how TJ’s keeps it real and calls it “almond beverage.” Because to call it milk would just be an outright lie.
5. Boatswain Chocolate Stout
Nobody suggested this either, but I picked this bastard up because it was only two bucks and some change. I have no expectations. It was two dollars. If it’s as awful as T.O. says it is, I will use it to make chili or something. Or I’ll just keep drinking until I get drunk enough the taste won’t matter. It’s really anybody’s call at this point.
So, did Trader Joe’s live up to the hype? I think so. Obviously, it depends on what you buy, but I thought the prices were pretty reasonable, and the food is good. I don’t think I’ll do all of my grocery shopping here, but it’s a destination I’ll hit up for snackies and to grab a few quick things. And the staff is really friendly and helpful. I was hooked up with a TJ’s reusable bag when they found out the one I brought in had a hole. Customer service, what?
Anybody else hit up TJ’s yet? What did you think? Any more suggestions on what to buy next time I’m there?