So back like, two years ago? I lived in Manhattan and close to a train line that ran basically from Trader Joe’s TO MY HOUSE.
*pause for a moment of silence as we remember*
This was the best because I could easily lug home whatever I wanted, and thus, anything I wanted, I would just chuck into the basket. I reviewed many of these products for this here blog! Ah, those were heady days of fun and experimentation…
Well, now things are a bit more difficult. There’s really no convenient way for me to do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, so I have to plan what I buy there based on items that I literally can’t get anywhere else. Or, things that are MUCH MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE anywhere else.
And yeah, occasionally I’ll splurge on a loaf of gluten-free bread (or, more often, gluten-free cupcakes) but my upper-body strength is usually only *just* enough to carry home all THIS:
Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Chili
at $2.29, this is a little more expensive than I’d normally spend at TJ’s, but still cheaper than a comparable meal anywhere else! I always need to add a lot of salt to this, but I’m telling you, this is the BEST canned veggie chili I’ve EVER had. I try to keep it in the cupboard as a treat for a *special* morning but I usually end up eating it the morning after I buy it because I’m so excited!
Trader Joe’s Dolmas
I would eat these every day if I could. Or, more accurately, every day except for the day during my luteal phase when everything oily turns my stomach. It happens, and it sucks. The rest of the month, I will drink the oil these come packaged in, usually right from the can. Clutch move is eating all of the stuffed grape leaves out of the can before drinking their delicious, savory oil, so you don’t get bonked in the schnoz. #winning.
Trader Joe’s Hashbrowns
At $1.99 for ten, these make an AMAZING, cheap snack or breakfast. If I’m starving and short on time, I’ll just heat one up in a pan with some salt & pepper. If I’m aiming to impress, I’ll fry an egg in butter and slide it on top. If you love tater tots, like WHO DOESN’T, these are like big-ass flat tater tots and they’re DELICIOUS!
Trader Joe’s String Cheese
I love that this 12-pack is like half the price of 8-packs of string cheese anywhere else. I can afford to splurge and buy two of them, sometimes. That way, I know I’ll have a shot at getting one, maybe even TWO before my boyfriend eats the rest of them. JUST KIDDING! But I’m really not kidding. He loves string cheeses. Like, we have so much in common.
Trader Joe’s Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler
The first time I had these was before Burning Man, 2015. My bf and I bought them to eat in our hotel room as a special treat. We “kept them cool” on the air conditioning unit and you may be surprised to learn that that isn’t a serving suggestion, but I still LOVED these cheeses at first taste. And ever since, they remind me of that time when I was so nervous but on the precipice of having the best time of my life. If you’re wondering “oh geez does everything remind Meghan fondly of Burning Man?” then you can just leave this blog, because the answer is YES, YES, YES.
Trader Joe’s Brussels Sprouts
Yes, I’m aware that you can buy Brussels sprouts at other stores. HOW-EVER, these come in a bag, the quality control is AWESOME, they’re always big & consistent in size and whenever I buy Brussels at other places, I’m always disappointed. I love Brussels sprouts. And these are my favorite brand. Deal with it.
Trader Joe’s Indian Fare Jaipur Vegetables
Someone told me that these were discontinued. I actually LIVE OFF THESE at Burning Man (I warned you, didn’t I?) because you can eat them without heating them up and they taste FINE. Of all the flavors offered, this is my FAVORITE. Wanna know why? Well, it’s not too heavy on the potatoes but you get plenty of paneer cubes, carrots, and CASHEWS in this! I love heating this up on the stovetop and putting it over leftover rice or adding TVP crumbles to it for more protein!
Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Frozen Pizza Crust
I love that this comes in a 2-pack! It’s your standard super-crunchy thin crust, but I prefer it to the crust of their regular frozen pizzas (which, BTW, are smaller and come 1 per box and cost the same as these 2-packs? Weird). I also really like being able to “make my own pizza” — it makes me feel slightly better about eating a pizza for dinner if I get to make it myself. Even If I’m using store-bought marinara sauce. And store-shredded cheese. I do add garlic powder and truffle salt and fresh basil that I grow myself, though! Maybe someday I’ll get culinary with it and add like asparagus and spinach and a fried egg. Maybe! But I like that I get to experiment like that with these crusts. Also, they taste really hearty and they have like a grainy tang to them, they’re not “bland” at all. Nice!
Trader José’s Salsa Verde
I love this salsa. I could drink this. We can’t have Taco Night without this. I’ve tried all of the Trader Joe’s salsas, and this one is the only one I haven’t gotten salsa ennui with. It’s not overly spicy, and it’s got kind of a cool heat to it, which means that it’s a perfect complement for….
Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo
Gluten-free meat replacements are rare and hard to come by, but this one is so delicious, it kind of makes up for it. Heat it up and put it on a tortilla, and you have a taco. Everyone I’ve ever recommended this to, has loved it. This totally changes the Taco Night game, like, forever. It’s $1.99 for a tube which give you plenty enough for Taco Night for two, plus some leftovers that I like to put into quesadillas during the week (with Salsa Verde, of course!).
Trader Joe’s Mahi Mahi Burgers
A woman at the 21st street Chelsea store saw me piling these into my basket and asked me if they were any good. I told her that we live off these, basically. Throw them in a pan with some coconut oil and crank some lemon pepper on it and you’ve got a fuckin entree. I prefer these to the Tuna and Salmon burgers, just throwing it out there.
Honorable Mentions: TJ Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup, TJ Gluten Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar, TJ Gluten-Free Bread, TJ Brown Rice Pasta