Recently, a friend posted on Facebook that she was going to Trader Joe’s for the first time in a long time, and did anyone have items they LOVED she should add to the list?
After commenting using a quick cut and paste of my Trader Joe’s shopping list I keep in Evernote, it hit me:
This may be a fun little post to share with my readers! I love food and cooking but don’t incorporate enough of it on this blog as I would like besides linking to recipes and products I love in the weekly Friday Finds.
So, here we are!
What’s So Special About Trader Joe’s?
This niche grocery store is especially known for its low prices on unique food items, quirky culture, cozy size, and special experience. There’s something about shopping there that just feels good.
For me, the unique food items are the biggest reason I shop there; that feature is best displayed in their freezer section. Never have I been one for buying pre-made meals of any kind in a regular grocery store because they’re never that good (or that healthy, for that matter).
Trader Joe’s does it differently, though.
When I go there, I take my time and slowly peruse the freezer section, taking in each item. Being that all of their product brandings is completely different than the mainstream brands you are used to seeing in a regular grocery, it can feel a little strange (and perhaps overwhelming) at first looking at a whole new line of products.
My Trader Joe’s Shopping List
The list I’m sharing with you today is items that I love. They may not make it into my cart every time I go, but I consider them winning products – many of which I like to keep in stock at home.
Besides my repeat list, I also try to buy half-a-dozen new items each time. “The Kitchn” website frequently posts fun articles on Trader Joe’s (I link to several of their articles at the end of the post). My shopping list is always inspired by what I read there, and information gleaned from the fun Trader Joe’s Podcast.
Keep in mind I’ve only been lucky to have a Trader Joe’s nearby (well, 35 minutes away) for the past year. Before that, I only got to go a couple of times a year when I was in Indianapolis (90 minutes away) – usually for a state MTA board meeting! Ha!
My list would likely be longer if I could be a more regular customer, but this is what I have thus far.
DIPS & REFRIGERATED PRE-MADE FOODS SECTION
- Classic Creamy Hummus (light blue lid)
- I find the large container of Trader Joe’s hummus to be too garlicky
- Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls
- Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains
- Authentic Greek Feta Cheese in Brine
- Ovoline Whole Milk Fresh Mozzarella
- Unexpected Cheddar
- Goats cheese
- Light String Cheese
DRIED FRUIT and SNACKS
- Dark Chocolate-Covered Cherries
- Dried Apricots
- Black Mission figs
- Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
- Plantain Chips and Crispy Plantain Slices
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Milk/Dark Chocolate Almonds
- Triple Ginger Snaps
- Fig Bites (like Fig Newtons but even better!)
- Soup & Oyster Crackers
- Frozen Mango
- Frozen Organic Blueberries
- Cauliflower Gnocchi & Gorgonzola Gnocchi
- Roasted Corn
- Petite Peas
- Gyoza Pork Potstickers
- Mandarin Orange Chicken
- Vegetable & Chicken Fried Rice
- Vegetable Spring Rolls
- Mini Cheesecake Cones
- Brownie Coffee Crisp Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Croissant (Plain – I actually don’t care for the chocolate ones and have yet to try the almond ones.)
It’s Not All Good/Perfect
In reality, while there are a million reasons (and items) to love at Trader Joe’s, it’s not all perfect.
Besides keeping a list of items I love, I also track items I tried but wouldn’t necessarily buy again. Rarely is it because the product is bad – it’s more that I didn’t especially love it.
I don’t know if sharing my ” don’t-buy-again ” products would be of any use to share my “don’t-buy-again” products, but I would encourage you to keep your own list.
It can be easy to forget from trip to trip which items you liked and didn’t like!
Now, tell ME: What are some of YOUR must-buy items from Trader Joe’s?
Share in the comments!