I grew up in Maine, where we only had two supermarket chains. My family shopped at Hannaford because it was close to our house and Shaw’s was for yuppies. You can imagine my DELIGHT when I moved to Boston and experienced Whole Foods, Roche Brothers, and (drumroll) Trader Joe’s for the first time.
I’m not sure how, but Trader Joe’s manages to have lower prices than the average grocery store and dramatically lower prices than Whole Foods for comparable goods. I like saying “goods” because it makes me feel like a tea trader or sailor from the colonial days. Anyways, they have awesome food and it’s really cheap. TJ’s always has a plethora of delicious-looking organic and conventional produce (as opposed to Shop ‘n’ Shop’s, which all look clinically depressed) and the price between regular and OG stuff is usually only 10-25 cents. Their prepared meals are better than average and they also have some bomb-ass drinks. The best part about shopping at Trader Joe’s is the SAMPLE TABLE!!!!! The grocery store of my childhood often had samples, but your parents had to be present before you could nibble the treat off a toothpick. The fuck? I’ve never seen TJ’s turn away a hungry child! Respect.
Anyway, here are my favorite products from Trader Joe’s; they’re staples on my shopping list. These pictures aren’t mine and I don’t know the exact prices of everything, but most are under $5 and they’re all way below $10.
Sweet and Spicy Pecans
These pecans are roasted and coated with some sort of heavenly spice mix that tastes like BBQ chips. I can down a whole bag of these in one sitting, which sucks because nuts = lots of fat, and I need to maintain my ladylike figure. HAHAH JK *pours bag of Doritos down throat*
Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus
I like this hummus on baby carrots or cucumber spears. It’s cold and creamy but the jalapeno gives it a nice kick. Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs. I know that some people don’t like cilantro, but some people also don’t like The Beatles, ice cream, or fun. So those people don’t count.
Dried Dragon Fruit
TJ’s has a great selection of dried fruit- pretty much a whole aisle, which is a lot of real estate in a grocery store- and it is the cheapest I’ve found anywhere. This dragonfruit tastes kind of like strawberries and when I eat it I pretend I’m having some sort of alien snack.
Chili Spiced Mango
Here’s another awesome fruit snack. These dried mango bits are coated with salt and chili powder and they’re friggin’ amazing. If you like spicy food, you gotta try this. It’s another product I can kill in one sitting.
Spinach, Fontina, and Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage
TJ’s has a bunch of flavors of chicken sausage but this is my favorite. I tried it at the sample table and immediately bought a package. Indeed, I am the ideal consumer.
Vegetable Masala Burger
If you like Indian food you should absolutely give these a try. These are basically a vegetable samosa/pakora in patty form. Dirt cheap ($2.29 I think) and the perfect amount of spice. I eat them on English muffins, which Trader Joe’s also carries. DUH.
Candy Cane Green Tea
While I love green tea, I’m not a fan of the mint-flavored variety because it reminds me too much of toothpaste. This tea has vanilla in it, which tempers out the bite of the mint. Sadly, this tea is only offered during the holiday season, and I can go through a box of this in less than a week… so I plan on buying a case this year (seriously).