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Old 10-25-2005, 03:53 PM   #1
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Default Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc. What do you LOVE there?

I love Trader Joe's. I also love a northeast chain called Wegman's. I haven't been to Whole Foods yet (tho my roomie is anxious to get there - she loves it!).

These specialty grocery stores have wholesome, natural, gourmet and AWESOME foodstuffs. Do you go to any of these? Or someplace similar?

If you do go, what do you ALWAYS buy there? Are there some items you can't do without that you can only get at your specialty store?

I'll go first....

Trader Joe's. I love:
  • Their pumpkin seed rolls (wonderful dense rolls covered in pumpkin seeds and when you toast it, the seeds get that great toasty flavor)
  • Cranberry walnut tart. They also have a great apricot almond tart
  • Chocolate Orange cookies with an intense orange flavor in a crispy yet chewy chocolate cookie
  • Snap Pea Crisps (a snack made from real snap peas coated in rice flour and baked)
  • Quesadillas (great pan fried for a few minutes on each side)
  • Asparagus Soup - so good, with croutons and cheese. It comes frozen, and you just plunk it in a bowl and bake it. (you can nuke it, but it's better baked)
  • Greek Total Yogurt - with honey. MmmMMm. So thick and rich
  • Triple Ginger Snaps (Jamie - these are to die for!) with bits of crystalized ginger
  • Apple Pie - it's sooo good - I am not usually big on apple pie, but this is so good, so fresh tasting, so cinnamon-y, it's more like a deep dish apple dessert than just a pie.

OK, I'll stop there. My actual list I have for TJ's is way long. But I just chose some of my faves. Let's hear yours!
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:21 PM   #2
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I wish we had a Trader Joe's. I have heard sooooooo many good things about them! Maybe some day
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:27 PM   #3
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When I lived in Northern VA we had all three of these places. I miss them now that I'm back in Pittsburgh.

At TJ's:
Pumpkin Scones
Four Cheese Pizza (frozen)
Blueberry juice
Strawberry soymilk
Ghiardelli's chocolate
Quiches

At Whole Foods:
Fresh produce!!! It's almost blood-orange time!

Wegman's is nothing special - it just has a lot of selection of ordinary things.
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:54 PM   #4
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My Whole Foods list …
  • Jasmine iced tea (made by Teas’ Tea)
  • Emerald Sesame Kale
  • Veggie-Stuffed Portabella Caps
  • Vegan Mock Chicken Salad
  • Garlicky Greens (spinach, escarole, and Swiss chard)
  • Carrot and Fennel Soup
  • Herb Crusted Tofu (best with Lillie’s of Charleston’s “Hab Mussy” Hot Mustard BBQ Sauce)

SVS, I see you're a fan of that asparagus soup, too.... I love it.

Last edited by Cynthia; 10-25-2005 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 10-25-2005, 06:28 PM   #5
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oh, the greek yogurt with the honey! man oh man. That stuff ROCKS so hard. but i'm so cheap! and it's like almost 2 bucks a pop.
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Old 10-25-2005, 07:04 PM   #6
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Here in Colorado, we have Wild Oats and Vitamin Cottage. Wild Oats has a butcher counter with the most delicious meat. We had some sausage containing fennel that was out of this world. And their bakery has fresh muffins made with spelt flour. And they have an incredible salad bar.

But they are a bit pricy.......
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Old 10-25-2005, 07:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthia
SVS, I see you're a fan of that asparagus soup, too.... I love it.
I just bought the mushroom soup but haven't tried it yet. Have you?

Cynthia, by the way - I never thought I would be drooling over vegetarian dishes!! Whenever you talk about restaurants or your favorite dishes, they sound exotic and delicious!

I would love a tasting menu of some of your faves. Let me know when you open a veggie-restaurant
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Old 10-25-2005, 07:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ataraxia
When I lived in Northern VA we had all three of these places. I miss them now that I'm back in Pittsburgh.

At TJ's:
Pumpkin Scones
Four Cheese Pizza (frozen)
Blueberry juice
Strawberry soymilk
Ghiardelli's chocolate
Quiches

At Whole Foods:
Fresh produce!!! It's almost blood-orange time!

Wegman's is nothing special - it just has a lot of selection of ordinary things.
Pumpkin scones??? I'll have to look for them!! I love the blueberry juice too. The organic veggie pizzas in the frozen section are awesome - I think the 4 cheese pizza is one of that line. The quiches - are they fresh or frozen? I've never seen them.

I do find some great things at Wegmans, but maybe I've just had really humdrum supermarkets around here. I especially like their vacuum packed steaks - they keep for weeks! And they make a custard danish that is to die for. I am sure I can come up with lots more, but those 2 things came to me first.
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"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best --" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. - A.A. Milne
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Old 10-25-2005, 09:05 PM   #9
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I don't get to whole foods all that often because there aren't any that are less than an hour away from me.I'm almost grateful that none are within close walking or driving distance because I find it way too easy to drop a small fortune in there. Still,I love the place.

I haven't shopped in one in well over a year so I can't recall everything that I've ever purchased from them.However, I can tell you that I don't believe I have *ever* purchased anything from them that I have found to be dissapointing.Of course,I've enjoyed some of their items more than others but overall I find the quality of their stock to be excellent.

When I do Find myself wandering around one,it is inevitable that I will end up in the cheese section.My love of cheese almost qualifies as a borderline fetish! They tend to carry a fairly decent selection of imported and non-run-of-the-mill cheeses.Whole foods is where I discovered my beloved Red Dragon



Red Dragon is imported from wales and it's a cheddar that has brown ale and mustard seeds in it.It is just so,so yummy and the way the mustard seeds sort of "pop" in your mouth is sublime.This thread is making me hungry.
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Old 10-25-2005, 09:28 PM   #10
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I have the fortune to have been an early customer at the first Trader Joes. It was located in South Pasadena, California.

What I really liked most, was that in their monthly "Fearless Flyer" they would samples of a number of brands of a product, say mayonaise and sample all brands and write up reviews comparing the products and showing the votes each one got and from then only carry the winning brand. The practice of wild names for their foods began then. My father's favorite was "Vodka of the Gods".

Then their string cheese was in the deli counter and the old style string cheese wrapped in cellophane. Wonderful.

They were also one of the first stores to carry any kind of stock of different juices and natural foods.

I still love their mayo.
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Old 10-26-2005, 05:09 AM   #11
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I don't have the need to go to Whole foods as often now that I have Stew Leonard's, Fairway and Trader Joe's near me. Yeah, I'm showing off Anyway, I still love their buffet but 6.99 a pound adds up very quickly. But there was a high turnover rate and hence it wasn't the typical insipid hot-lamp food. They also have excellent soups and the ginger carrot has a smooth-velvety texture. I also had this dessert once. It was a type of parfait: fresh whipped cream flavored with almond, with pieces of almond flavored yellow cake and slivered almonds on type. They also have Ronnybrook chocolate milk, which truly the best! It's not too sweet and because of the richness, it's almost like drinking heavy cream. Their olive bar contains bleu cheese filled olives. Yum.

Trader Joe's is reasonably priced in comparsion. The one closest to me is superette sized. I'm not sure if it has everything I wanted to try out. I cannot remember exact product names. Anyway some of my faves:

sushi- not restaurant quality but tasty and expensive. Very filling too!

dark chocolate bar topped with cacao nibs: it's not sweet and the nibs on top are like a second treat.

tomato cream sauce with pieces of pancetta: I ate it straight out of the jar with a spooon.
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Old 10-26-2005, 08:07 AM   #12
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The closest Trader Joe's is in on the upper side of Cincy..so it would be aways for a grocery run. Incidentally the nearest TJ's is down the road from nearest Cheesecake Factory. We went there once just to go to lunch, but it was a kind of eh.. experience.

We might go this winter though..food preservation would be much more likely that way. We don't have any resource for Greek yogurt here, it is kind of disappointing. We got a Wild Oats last year..and then our favorite store, Fresh Market opened a store in Louisville. It is worth the hour drive..we fell in love with them in Memphis.

I am making a list of your faves to take with us to Cincy! (Especially the ginger snaps, the craving will last all winter long.)
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Old 10-26-2005, 09:52 AM   #13
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We have friends who live in the Boston sprawl, and when down visiting them stumbled upon Trader Joe's. Now no trip to Boston is complete without a side trip or three to pillage Trader Joe's. Unfortunately there are no indications that they will expand to Canada anytime soon, and they are not even in norther NY state, so no quick cross border trips.

We've had lots of things there that are great, but the one think I always seriously stock up on is their canned coffee. Not the grinds, liquid coffee, complete with milk and everything. I was first introduced to cold canned coffee in Taiwan, and I found out there how bad it could be and how good it could be. Trader Joe's is near the high end, I find. I love having the stuff available for long summer drives, when I want the caffeine but don't want hot coffee, and also to have along as back up caffeine on long trips where I try not to have too much coffee, but sometimes end up needing one more caffeine hit (yah, I know, most people would use cola for that, but I don't like cola).

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Old 10-26-2005, 12:01 PM   #14
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Now that I'm no longer a Connecticut Resident, Trader Joe's unfortunately is only a rare occassion.

But I love Tradewind's Chai tea mix, and Terra Blue Chips.
(Which once were difficult to find elsewhere).

Everything else, is tunnel vision. Up and down the aisles, getting a mix of things.

And of course, the giant Trader Joe's chocolate bar with almonds.

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Old 10-26-2005, 12:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordo Mejor
I have the fortune to have been an early customer at the first Trader Joes. It was located in South Pasadena, California.
I remember this place! I miss SoCal for it's great munchie destinations... In-n-out and all the taco joints... mmmmm... Trader Joe's was always an experience... the stuff they had probably could not be found elsewhere. You could really load up there!

...another great place in the area is "love's Ribs", I dunno if it's still in business, but they had it! The best texas 'brown food' I've ever had! http://www.lovesbbq.com/menu.html I've purchased a few bottles of the BBQ sauce for home in the past, great stuff!

salut!

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Old 10-26-2005, 04:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoVerySoft
Pumpkin scones??? I'll have to look for them!! I love the blueberry juice too. The organic veggie pizzas in the frozen section are awesome - I think the 4 cheese pizza is one of that line. The quiches - are they fresh or frozen? I've never seen them.
They have lots of different kinds of scones. The pumpkin ones have (yellow) raisins too, and there are plain ones, blueberry ones, cranberry-orange ones, and probably a few other kinds. Yes, the pizza is one of the frozen ones - I didn't like the one with the pears on it, but the rest were good. And the quiches are frozen.
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Old 10-26-2005, 06:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoVerySoft
I just bought the mushroom soup but haven't tried it yet. Have you?
Nope, I'm too fixated on the asparagus soup to try the mushroom just yet. And, while at the freezer section, I invariably pick up Ethnic Foods' Manchurian Dumplings, too -- savory, spicy, fabulous stuff.
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Old 10-26-2005, 08:09 PM   #18
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Whole Foods in Seattle is building a 10 story structure and I can't wait for it to open. I've heard wonderful stories!
As for Trader Joe's, My favorites are their sushi selections. So fresh and tasty and best yet, so inexpensive. Excellent cheese department. Blue cheese/pecan dip, sesame rice crackers are a favorite accompaniment. And they've got a great frozen seafood department. Love those mussels in garlic butter!!!!
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Old 10-26-2005, 08:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthia
Nope, I'm too fixated on the asparagus soup to try the mushroom just yet. And, while at the freezer section, I invariably pick up Ethnic Foods' Manchurian Dumplings, too -- savory, spicy, fabulous stuff.
The mushroom is good but the asparagus is much better! How could it not be?
Don't go for the French Onion.
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Old 10-26-2005, 10:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wistful


Red Dragon is imported from wales and it's a cheddar that has brown ale and mustard seeds in it.It is just so,so yummy and the way the mustard seeds sort of "pop" in your mouth is sublime.This thread is making me hungry.
Must... find... Red... Dragon....

Looks and sounds divine, Wistful. I'll be on the lookout. Had a great Cadematori Taleggio tonight. I like to take a fine cheese and trash it up by stacking it on a Wheat Thin.
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Old 10-26-2005, 11:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissToodles
I don't have the need to go to Whole foods as often now that I have Stew Leonard's, Fairway and Trader Joe's near me.
There's a Trader Joe's in the city now, Miss T? Dag. I missed that. Where? My hometown is getting one, which'll make Christmas downright tolerable this year. (No offense to Baby Jesus.)

Does yours have Three-Buck Chuck, Toodles?

But yeah, I'm a big Fairway fan. I especially love their coffee and Cotswold and Portuguese bread. They've got Murray's oatmeal cookie dough, too. And I love Stew Leonard's striped ravioli. And free samples around every curve.
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Old 10-27-2005, 04:30 AM   #22
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Nope, we drive up to Scarsdale for TJ's (haha, I'm abbreviating a store name). It's just a quick jaunt by car because I live far far uptown past Manhattan! No wine unfortunately.

I'm the kind of person if I like a sample, I'll go back for seconds, I don't have any shame.
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Old 10-27-2005, 05:02 AM   #23
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A long time ago, before there were any Trader Joe's in the Bay Area, I had the vilest roommate ever. Besides many, many other bad things about him he would complain endlessly about the Bay Area, how it sucks here and how life was WAY better near L.A., where his Dad lived. Why was it better? They had Trader Joe's there. Trader Joe's, he informed me, were really good stores and they had many good products.
So one night my band was playing and I told the audience about this, being sure to mention the part about how they have many good products there. Then we launched into an improv, sort of a dirge-ish blues, where the refrain consisted of me shouting in kind of a growl, "COME ON DOWN!!!!!" The last line was "down to Trader Jooooe's!"
After the show 3 different happy people came up to me, each saying brightly, "I really like your new song, "Down at Trader Joe's!" It was weird 'cos those weren't the words and it was an improv and had no title, yet they all gave it that one.
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Old 10-27-2005, 05:11 AM   #24
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I like their pitted kalamata olives in a jar. The frozen pizza's pretty good too and they have the best price on Ben & Jerry's. I stock up on organic soy milk there and stuff like toothpaste (Tom's Peppermint), dish soap (without perfume), Dr. Bronner's & Kiss My Face soaps and coffee filters. Not very foodee, I know.
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Old 10-27-2005, 06:58 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santaclear
I like their pitted kalamata olives in a jar. The frozen pizza's pretty good too and they have the best price on Ben & Jerry's. I stock up on organic soy milk there and stuff like toothpaste (Tom's Peppermint), dish soap (without perfume), Dr. Bronner's & Kiss My Face soaps and coffee filters. Not very foodee, I know.

Ok, I have a story that only some of you are gonna get, I'll bet...the rest of you, if interested, can google. But not at the office.

So some years ago, I was visiting friends in the Philly 'burbs, and when they took me back to the station to go home, there was this nice little shop there and I thought: Oh! I'll bet they have Tom's of Maine toothpaste that I can't get in the city, so I'll run in there before I go home.

So I get in there, and I ask this kid/youngish guy stocker if he has any Tom's of Maine products. He's not sure, but he tells me he'll ask the Manager. I hear him go off behind some rows of stuff and then I very clearly hear him say: There's a woman here asking if we sell TOM OF FINLAND products.

I was SO mortified at the mistake I'd made, that I half walked, half ran out of the store before the Manager or the kid could see me.

To this day, I'm not sure which one of us (me or the stocker) made the mistake, but I'm pretty sure it was ME. I hadn't realized what I said 'til I heard him repeat it to a third party.

This is why everyone thinks I'm dirty, I guess.
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