But today, after much poking and prodding by others, I decided was the day. I was a little nervous getting ready, a bit anxious thinking about how it would go, and as I pulled up in the parking lot I took a breath to relax.
I walked up to the automatic doors, dodging red shopping carts as I went. Immediately I was faced with the deceptively small, yet overwhelming, mecca that is Trader Joe's.
That's right, today Trader Joe's and I had our first date. Are you shocked? Are you tsk tsking me right now? I know, I know, it's great! Everyone loves it! People come from miles away with coolers in their car just to stock up on organic nut butters and exotic frozen delicacies! How could I have waited so long??
I just...did. When one opened up a couple of years ago in Virginia Beach, I braved the crowds with my mom and sister to see what all the fuss was about. We bought a few frozen items (most recommended by my aunt, a TJ's junkie), and tried not to rip those annoying bells off the register while checking out. When I moved to Richmond, I was aware there was a Trader Joe's located conveniently next to Whole Foods (my other favorite place) but since both of them are located in the hell that is Short Pump, I hardly ever make the trek.
But recently, with my growing frustration with the grocery store choices in this city (Harris Teeter, where are you?!), and seeing so many other peoples' pulls posted on their blogs, I thought, It's time.
Now, I didn't go crazy. After all it was just the first date (there was kosher brisket that desperately needed a new home in my crock pot, but at $16-20, it just wasn't happening today). But, I did get some items that I've seen around enough to know are popular, plus some things that are staples for us, to test out how they measure up to our usual brands.
Clockwise from the top (with notes about the stuff I've tried so far)-
Sunflower Seed Butter- Not as sweet as I wanted it to be, but still good with some added honey
Milk Chocolate covered Raisins- Obviously delicious
Boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts (individually packaged)
Apple Smoked Bacon
Handmade Flour tortillas
Roasted Garlic Salsa- Seriously delicious, but a little too mild for me (even though it was categorized as "Medium")
Brussel Sprouts (not pictured because I forgot to get them out of the vegetable drawer)
How do you feel about Trader Joe's? Is there something I just desperately need to get the next time I go (Yes, I've tried the $3 wine. The jury's still out)? Anything to avoid despite the hype? I'll take all the tips I can get!