Monday, December 07, 2009

Once upon a time, the German & I traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to spend Christmas with my brother. Whilst there by the grace of God & fate, we were led, by my wise mommita, to Trader Joe's . Now my mom thought we would like the place, she didn't know we'd ravage it. Boy did we have some amazing snacks and sips that Christmas in our cabin at Punderson State Park . Wow!, had she created a pair of Trader Joe's-loving monsters. We were sad to learn there wasn't a single Trader Joe's ANYWHERE NEAR the lower, eastern part of the U.S. We stopped back for delicious things we could fly home with, obviously not nearly as much as we would have liked to bring home.

Fast forward a few years, making plans to go to the Georgia mountains with our fave friends, I did a search for the hell of it and found that the ATL had acquired a couple Trader Joe's. I announced this to the German with great excitement. And so the tradition began. Driving up that September, Scarlett called Trader Joe's all kinds of other names, Trader Bill's, Trader John's. She and her husband, Mark aren't what you'd call foodies, but they got it. We filled a cart with tons and tons of pastas, sauces, cheeses, chips, veggies, dips, organic hot chocolate, and wine GALORE. (+ quite a bit of prosecco of course!) Oh the meals we had.

Listen, and listen well. This darling little store is packed to the rafters with the delicious, the AFFORDABLE, the unique,  the exotic, the ethnic, the gourmet, the fanciful, the down home tasty. If you live in a state with Trader Joe's stores , get there. Shop there. Make me utterly sick with jealousy. Go on do it. Otherwise, you're squandering an incredible food mecca. And I'll hate you. ;-)

Walk in and you'll feel the difference, it's quirky, it's homey. Soak in the atmosphere. The convivial attitude of the employees. How welcome and cozy you feel. Make your way to the back corner of any Trader Joe's and taste how good it is. You'll always find samples of their latest goodies. Make yourself a little cup of tea or coffee at their hospitality bar. Note the organic sugar, the all natural creamer. Trader Joe's just feeeeels like it cares. And you can't beat the savings on top of all this awesomeness.
For instance, a nice chunk of aged gouda cheese at Whole Foods? Could be as much as $16. At Trader Joe's? A mere $6. I know. It's insane. Unbelievable even. But try it. Test it. Their cheese isle alone is reason enough to go there. Another example? Are you familiar with Amarone? It is a red wine from the Veneto region of Italy. Buy a bottle of it at your regular wine store? You'll pay $30 at the very least. At Trader Joe's? You can get a lovely Amarone for just $16.
While you're stocking up on delectable cheeses and mind blowing wines, do detour into their other offerings. J'adore their spicy black bean dip, their prepared bruschetta, hummus, tzatziki... their incredible selection of Indian sauces and spices, same holds true for Italian (olives, pesto, etc.).  Trader Joe's is a killer place to stock up for a holiday party . Trust me, we did.   Have dietary restrictions? Trader Joe's caters to you. Check out their vegetarian list, their gluten-free lists, the kosher list, their heart-healthy list, etc.

Rumour has it, Trader Joe's WILL make its way down to Florida. There are plans for it. The economy has simply put this growth on hold. If you live in Florida and visit one, ask. Beg.
If you live in a locale with your own Trader Joe's go there. Experience it. I insist. And let me know once you have so I can die of envy.


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