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March 11, 2013 1:53 PM   Subscribe

What's Good at Trader Joe's A blog of amateur reviews of Trader Joe's products. For example: Cookie Butter.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies (209 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Cookie Butter is good; the CRUNCHY Cookie Butter is even better!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:55 PM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


i am still scandalized and shocked about how for Christmas 2011, Trader Joe's (which is German-owned) stocked lots of fake US-produced stollen which was dry and gross and weird-tasting yet for Christmas 2012 they got proper delicious authentic stollen from Germany or Austria but had tiny amounts (presumably because of the mountains of fake American stollen they had to dump after Xmas 2011) so they totally ran out 2 weeks before Xmas 2012 and never restocked.)


Also, the bread and cheese is often old in TJ's and I think they may have probs with their bread & cheese supply chain

But B+ overall
posted by Bwithh at 1:58 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The TJ cheddar with porter is tremendous. It sounds (and smells kinda) gross, but it totally works. Melts like a champ, too.
posted by troika at 1:59 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


But not the produce. Never the produce.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:00 PM on March 11, 2013 [20 favorites]


I love Trader Joe's. They've lately added private-label scotch, bourbon and vodka, all of which are really good. And they've got a four-dollar bottle of Riesling (the one with the sailboat on the label) that is just one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted.
posted by jbickers at 2:01 PM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Most of the "prepared" foods, I have found, contain sugar, in some variety. I always bring my reading glasses to TJ's.
posted by Danf at 2:01 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Basically TJ's is good for shelf-stable or frozen goods. (mostly snacks).
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:02 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Related: Who Makes Trader Joe's Food?: A Taste Test.
posted by ericb at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Inside The Secret World Of Trader Joe's.
posted by ericb at 2:04 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Finlaggan. It's an Islay, though no one knows which distillery produces it (and those who know don't talk, I guess). It's pretty damn good, and it's $20, SAIT, if your TJ's carries hard liquor.

Also, their chocolate almonds covered in cocoa and sea salt. They were out the last time we went and we were sad, because we really needed a fix.
posted by rtha at 2:05 PM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


But don't get too attached. Whatever you love, they'll stop carrying it, like the lemon bread and the refrigerated mayonnaise.

The TJ's song.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:08 PM on March 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter

Specul.... um, I think they could have worked harder on that brand name.
posted by gurple at 2:09 PM on March 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Speculoos is the Dutch word for the cookie in the cookie butter.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:10 PM on March 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


True story: When the TJ's opened off Monroe Drive in Atlanta and it was everyone in ITP Atlanta's first experience with TJ's--including me, a then-single girl who didn't make much as a barista but could afford their food because it was priced at my income level--and we all loved it. I would take my parents, who now have one in their hometown, and my mom would buy their wines to take home with her. TJ's was even the last stop before my wedding because I needed flowers to take down the aisle with me and I wasn't girlie enough to have even given a thought about having a bouquet.

Before I moved to Quebec, my husband emailed TJ's to ask if they would ever open stores in Canada because he knew his new wife would miss it. TJ's did the email version of laughing politely and saying no. Every time I go home, I stock up things I liked and new things I might like. I ship them to my US mail drop.

We have a couple of trips planned to the US in the coming months and I have looked up whether or not those places have TJ's (thank YOU, Albany!).

And curse that the only TJ's near me is in mothereffing Nashua, NH.
posted by Kitteh at 2:10 PM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I love the Finlaggan...all it lacks is the lovely long finish of a more mature Lagavulin...;-)
posted by salishsea at 2:10 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


But don't get too attached. Whatever you love, they'll stop carrying it, like the lemon bread and the refrigerated mayonnaise.

Gott im Himmel! A few years back, they carried this amazing rum cake and amaretto cake for Christmas ... it was available that one year, and cheap-as-hell for a few months after, and nothing since.

It was so boozy, they had to card you for it.

I still miss it.
posted by Myca at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speculoos is the Dutch word for the cookie in the cookie butter.

I think that's the Belgian word. Speculaas is the Dutch version.
posted by yoink at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tried their salmon jerky this weekend. I don't know what I was expecting, but it tastes exactly like you think it would. It's just a fishy jerky, neither fantastic nor overwhelmingly offensive.
posted by chara at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2013


My latest TJ's discovery, aided by in-store free samples: the Toscano cheese dusted in cinnamon. Really tasty, but no overpowering cinnamon flavor, just a lovely balance of the creamy cheese flavor and the cinnamon. Mmmmm. I can already tell that this thread is going to make me stop by Trader Joe's on my way home tonight.
posted by yasaman at 2:14 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Finlaggan. It's an Islay, though no one knows which distillery produces it (and those who know don't talk, I guess).

I was at Costco in WA yesterday, and was interrupted in my marveling at the comically large handles of various boozes by a crate of Kirkland brand 20 year single malt. Kirkland the generic store brand, the cheaper no-name stuff next to whatever they're knocking off from Kraft or General Foods or whomever.

Just a very weird thing. Maybe it's great scotch. $75 for a nice 20 year is totally reasonable. But that's like the worst possible sales pitch for scotch, just a crate of that on some industrial shelvings and mums the word about who makes the stuff.
posted by cortex at 2:14 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trader Joe's (which is German-owned) ...
"You'd think Trader Joe's would be eager to trumpet its success, but management is obsessively secretive. There are no signs with the company's name or logo at headquarters in Monrovia, about 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Few customers realize the chain is owned by Germany's ultra-private Albrecht family, the people behind the Aldi Nord supermarket empire. (A different branch of the family controls Aldi Süd, parent of the U.S. Aldi grocery chain.)"*
posted by ericb at 2:14 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speculoos is the Dutch word for the cookie in the cookie butter.

Hmm, I wonder why they don't just use the actual Dutch word, speculaas?
posted by Flashman at 2:15 PM on March 11, 2013


Cookie butter is this month's poutine -- the kinda disgusting thing I didn't know about until MetaFilter introduced me to it that now I think is the only thing I want to eat. Poutine did not disappoint and if I remember, I'll update you on cookie butter.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:15 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kitteh, they opened one in Portsmouth NH, praise Joesus. Way closer to you than motherflippn' Nashua. And you can hang out in quaint little Portsmouth while you're at it.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:16 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


jbickers: "I love Trader Joe's. They've lately added private-label scotch, bourbon and vodka, all of which are really good. And they've got a four-dollar bottle of Riesling (the one with the sailboat on the label) that is just one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted."

Sigh. Every time that forget that in the alternative universe that most of you live in, TJ's sells beer and wine and booze, someone manages to remind me. Damn you PA-LCB.
posted by octothorpe at 2:17 PM on March 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


Kirkland brand 20 year single malt

Well. Islay? Highland? Something else? Because especially if it's an Islay we might need to go visit our local Costco....

I love the Finlaggan...all it lacks is the lovely long finish of a more mature Lagavulin...;-)

Heh. That was kind of my thought as well when I tasted it. I still haven't done a (blind) taste test between it and some other Islays we have.
posted by rtha at 2:17 PM on March 11, 2013


Speculoos is [very close to] the Dutch word for the cookie in the cookie butter.

Uh huh. Don't care. Still a terrible brand name.
posted by gurple at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah. A Speyside.
posted by rtha at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I adore TJ's wine selection, but due to a New York state law that dates back to Prohibition, large chain stores are only allowed to have one outpost selling wine in the entire state, and it's in Union Square, a hike from here in a direction I rarely travel. Beer you can get at any location, go figure.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2013


Speculoos is the Dutch word for the cookie in the cookie butter.

So it's like a gingerbread cookie-flavored paste? A semi-fluid essence of pfeffernüsse?

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I know what I'll be injecting directly into my eyeballs with a syringe tonight.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Back when I lived in an city with a Trader Joe's, Cardhouse's Trader Joe reviews helped me out a lot. They're also a lot funnier than these reviews.
posted by mokin at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Truthfully rtha, Finlaggan feels a little thinner and isn't as rounded and it just up and leaves once it has said hello. More like a chance meeting on a subway than a long romantic dinner.

Still, i'm always happy to meet an Islay, even for a brief flirt.

And cortex now has me Kirkland-curious.
posted by salishsea at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone still have some of the Sipping Chocolate at their local TJ's? Or extra one in your cabinet you don't want?

I need it. I really need it. I will scour my own local TJ's if there's something you can't find at your store, and send you anything you want. Or something from my area, or surprise goodies. Or whatever you want because INEEDITTTT!
posted by raztaj at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will look out for it when I next visit Trader Joe's UWS, raztaj.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:23 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


they opened one in Portsmouth NH

Oh man. When I lived in Portsmouth, I was working 70+ hours a week and yet I would still sometimes drive to the Trader Joe's in Nashua, because it was the closest place that sold affordable, healthy-ish, tasty convenience foods and, hey, I was working 70+ hours a week. It was totally worth it.

Three things I love at TJs but I can only buy once in a while because otherwise they will all get consumed the very day I buy them: the dark chocolate-covered caramels, the blood orange Italian soda and the olive oil popcorn.
posted by lunasol at 2:23 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I need it. I really need it.

See, that's your problem, you're asking instead of threatening dire consequences if somebody does not send you some.

Like this: "Somebody send me some of this cookie butter stuff, or there will be EXPLOSIONS. And not fun explosions either."

Actually, come to think, somebody needs to send me cookie butter, or there will be non-fun explosions.
posted by mightygodking at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cooooooooookie butter? If there were a TJ's within 150 miles of me, we could undoubtedly add that to the burgeoning list of weird stuff I have eaten as one-dish single-person meals.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2013


There's a TJ right next to my apartment, and I haven't really had a problem with the produce at all (except for some REALLY ancient shallots). What's wrong with TJ's produce?
posted by empath at 2:24 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone still have some of the Sipping Chocolate at their local TJ's? Or extra one in your cabinet you don't want?

I think I have an unopened box at home. Memail me tonight if you would to remind me to check.
posted by jbickers at 2:25 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I recently started buying produce at Trader Joe's because it's easier to just do one shopping trip and I don't find it to be so awful. It's annoying that it's all so hyper-packaged, but I've found the lettuce, mushrooms and red grapes to be especially good. And it all seems to be pretty fresh because it lasts a while.

It's not farmer's market quality, but it's just as good as the stuff from my local Safeway, and cheaper. Maybe there are regional variations?
posted by lunasol at 2:25 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ha, we have some friends that went to Holland last year for vacation, discovered speculoos, and brought back, like, an entire suitcase full of it only to see it on the shelves at Trader Joe's the next week.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:26 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The cookie butter is so good it makes me want to punch my mother in the neck.

Alas, I'm no longer allowed in a TJ's alone. Not since the time I went there for specific, needed items and came home with cookie butter, wine, those amazing little s'mores candies, and what can only be described as a fuckload of cheese.

Sigh. I MISS YOU THE MOST, LITTLE S'MORES CANDIES.
posted by palomar at 2:27 PM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Man, I miss trips to TJ's. Their non-edibles have really been a favorite of mine, too. I swore by the Tea Tree Tingle shampoo for a flaky scalp, and their Lemon Kitchen Soap is one of the few hand soaps that can actually cut onion odors. I used to give my dog their Lamb & Rice kibble until she needed specialized prescription food. I hear it's made by a reputable company, but I no longer remember the name -- Field & something.

In order to sound less like a spambot, I will note that I can't deal with their solid chocolate. It all has a strange flavor to me, something I have tasted in chocolate from a hippie organic store. This isn't a bad or rancid flavor, but it's strong and odd. Maybe it's terroir.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:27 PM on March 11, 2013


Cookie butter is a thing, now, right? I had never heard of it until the Nutella discussion.
posted by trip and a half at 2:28 PM on March 11, 2013


We get bottles of the Flying Heart wine pretty regularly. It's a very jammy $5 red that actually seems to get better after being open for a day or so.
posted by curious nu at 2:28 PM on March 11, 2013


I was skeptical of the produce, but got lazy and bought some. No problems, other than a single orange out of five pound bag going bad really fast.

When the Portsmouth NH shop opened, we quickly became addicted to the frozen Indian food. Better than any restaurants near us! And then.... then we looked at the fat count. We don't eat it quite so often any more.

But the raisin rosemary crisps? Throw a little chevre on 'em, and they're gone in an afternoon.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:29 PM on March 11, 2013


Truthfully rtha, Finlaggan feels a little thinner and isn't as rounded and it just up and leaves once it has said hello. More like a chance meeting on a subway than a long romantic dinner.

I wanted to say something much the same, but salishsea said it better. Everything is there in Finlaggan, but it is just comes across as insubstantial compared to other Islays.

That said, TJ isn't known for consistency, so maybe there are better bottles out there. But it certainly is cheap!
posted by ssg at 2:30 PM on March 11, 2013


What's wrong with TJ's produce?

It's fine if you're shopping and cooking for one, but it's pretty hideously expensive if you're doing so for a family. Also, the quality really is variable depending on store and season. When I was in college, I bought most of my non-farmer's market produce from TJ's because it was better than Safeway for most things. But compared to the amount and quality of fruit and veg my parents buy from a local ethnic grocery, the prices are just really steep.
posted by yasaman at 2:30 PM on March 11, 2013


I'm always amused that Trader-Joes-for-poor-people, their other US outlet, Aldi, actually has some really nice and weird eurostuff mixed in with the food desert staples, but Aldi tends to keep even the wacky German chocolates and cheap UK cheddar in circulation. Plus, the people-watching is better and I never have my eyeballs soiled with Ugg boot sightings.
posted by sonascope at 2:32 PM on March 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


But don't get too attached. Whatever you love, they'll stop carrying it, like the lemon bread and the refrigerated mayonnaise.

This happens at my local crappy groshery all the time, only with far less delightful items. The one time I went to a Trader Joe's while visiting L.A., they had these SUBLIME CHERRY PRESERVES you could eat straight from the jar as a one-dish meal spoon over ice cream. I think they came in peach and strawberry as well. I weep at the memory, but apparently they discontinued them like 6 years ago.

Why can't we mail order this shit, and why does it go away when we love it so?
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:33 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


People hadn't seen the cookie butter yet? Huh. The "brand name" version is Biscoff spread.
posted by GuyZero at 2:33 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus, this thread. Now I'm starving and I want to go home and make test cocktails with the Finlaggan, since smoky cocktails are excellent but I'm not putting expensive Islay in a glass with a bunch of other stuff.

Is it time to go home yet?
posted by rtha at 2:33 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The chocolate bars they have in the orange and white box, with hazelnuts? Those are THE best hazelnut chocolate bars I have ever had. We used to make pilgrimages to Trader Joe's just for those.

They also used to have really good gyoza, but alas, no more.
posted by Foosnark at 2:35 PM on March 11, 2013


Also, the bread and cheese is often old in TJ's and I think they may have probs with their bread & cheese supply chain

I've noticed this with cheese. The last time I bought some Tintern I forgot to check the date and when I got it home I noticed it was moldy and had been packaged over a month before. Now I always always always check the date before I put it in my basket.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:36 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously, if you haven't tried the Cambozola, preferably with the Kalamata Olive Bread, then shut the fuck up, you have nothing to say to me.
posted by phaedon at 2:36 PM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is it time to go home yet?

It is somewhere.
posted by yoink at 2:37 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


3 ingredient honey mints.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:37 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love the 50% salt pistachios!
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:38 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love speculoos!
posted by snofoam at 2:38 PM on March 11, 2013


I can't believe that this thread has been active for almost an hour and no one has mentioned the Blistered Peanuts yet. Do I have to do everything for you people?
posted by mojohand at 2:39 PM on March 11, 2013


S'mores ice cream sandwiches. They've pulled them a couple of times to reformat - the cookie sandwich part is sticky in a way that tastes good but leaves your hands and face and shirt covered with graham cracker goo - and they're very small, but so good.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:43 PM on March 11, 2013


Also, their chocolate almonds covered in cocoa and sea salt.

A million times yes. I've had to stop buying them -- they're like crack to me. Cannot. stop. easting. them!
posted by AwkwardPause at 2:44 PM on March 11, 2013


I've been making a lot of dinners involving their 10 minute grains (barley, farro and bulger) lately. Quite reliably useful.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:47 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


thepinksuperhero & jbickers - I will totally follow up. I have access to a number of international markets and chain grocers big and small, and will barter for whatever cans of sipping chocolate I can get my hands on. it has come to this. i am so serious.

Whatever you love, they'll stop carrying it

I miss you so much frozen brown rice veggie bowl. and minty UFOs. and tofu pad thai. and masala lentil dip, I think I miss you the most. You are gone but not forgotten :(
posted by raztaj at 2:47 PM on March 11, 2013


I find a lot of their chocolate products have an odd flavour to them. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's both good and a little cheap tasting to me. I don't know exactly what it is.
posted by GuyZero at 2:47 PM on March 11, 2013


i am a huge fan of their chocolate covered potato chips.
posted by rude.boy at 2:48 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Seriously, if you haven't tried the Cambozola, preferably with the Kalamata Olive Bread,

Pssst -- Cambozola is even cheaper at Costco, if that's an option for you.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:50 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also I love TJs because the staff is frankly awesome. They must be treated okay, because they always seem relatively not-depressed. I know they rotate at least every 2 hours, so no one gets stuck standing at the register dealing with people for 6 hours.

One time I was there with my girlfriend and the cookie butter had just come out. We were like, "What IS this!?" And we were standing in the aisle just gawking at it, wondering if we should get it. An employee came up to use and was like, "oh man, that stuff is amazing. One sec, I think we've got some in back." And she came back with an open cookie butter and a couple spoons so we could try it. I mean, how many grocery stores would that happen in? and yes, we bought it.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:52 PM on March 11, 2013


it's pretty hideously expensive if you're doing so for a family.

I haven't found this to be the case with TJ's produce in my local store. And I made salads for dinner every night for a year with TJ's vegetables. I've done well on two diets because TJ's vegetables and meats were so much less expensive than Whole Foods, and more organic stuff than Target or my local grocery store.

(their chicken isn't trimmed up as much as I like, though - which can be kind of gross if you aren't expecting it.)
posted by 41swans at 2:52 PM on March 11, 2013


I totally see an AskMe about what's new and good to buy at TJ's that is also vegan-friendly coming up in my future.
posted by Kitteh at 2:52 PM on March 11, 2013


  1. Buy TJ's Colby Jack cheese.
  2. Buy the yellow corn chips, too. Those circular ones.
  3. Pour the whole bag on a cookie sheet, and shred all the cheese onto it.
  4. Bake, eat the whole fucking thing, hate yourself.
You're welcome.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:54 PM on March 11, 2013 [21 favorites]


I love TJ's. I literally drive hundreds of miles to go to TJ's for my shelf-stable and frozen foodz. I know that minty peas would be really easy for me to make myself, but I don't care. I buy three bags of TJ's minty peas each time I go.
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:55 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like Trader Joe's for buying some items but what I really enjoy it for is imagining it as a hipster dating service where people date each other based on their shelf locations. It's one of my silly augmented reality overlays that adds technicolor to my life.
posted by srboisvert at 2:56 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I totally see an AskMe about what's new and good to buy at TJ's that is also vegan-friendly coming up in my future.

Roasted veggie no-cheese pizza.
Coconut milk strawberry ice cream.
Albero wine (vegan, organic, and delicious for $6 a bottle)
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:56 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess I'll have to try the Soy Chorizo now.
posted by Auden at 2:56 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find a lot of their chocolate products have an odd flavour to them.

Yeah, I find their branded chocolate is often a little waxy. On the other hand, they carry Valrhona, so who cares?
posted by yoink at 2:56 PM on March 11, 2013


I'm not sure if I would ever shop at TJs if I lived in a city with other decent choices. But here in Minneapolis they are a lifesaver. We have none of the major national grocery chains, and the regional chains are bizarrely old-fashioned and limited (think pasta sauce in the "ethnic" aisle and no cheese that isn't orange). If you want pine nuts or fresh herbs or decent Gouda, your choices are TJs or some high-end organicy place that's twelve times the price. If they didn't exist I'd probably have to move.
posted by miyabo at 2:57 PM on March 11, 2013


Some of the candy is seriously good. I like the Chocolate Raspberry Sticks (dark chocolate covered jellies) and the Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels.

The quality control and/or handling is really not there with the dairy and cheese though. Even if the cheese is far from its sell-by, it often gets moldy. I suspect they use knives and cutting boards for a number of different kinds without cleaning them in between. I have also mostly given up on the prepared foods because too many are just off somehow.

Trader Joe-san's sparkling sake is really nice at $6. One of those little bottles is perfect for making two sake-based cocktails.
posted by BibiRose at 2:58 PM on March 11, 2013


Albero wine (vegan, organic, and delicious for $6 a bottle)

If what a previous poster said is correct, then the Albany TJ's may be booze free.

And I love the soyrizo. I'm glad they still carry it!
posted by Kitteh at 3:00 PM on March 11, 2013


ALSO: what the f is with the TJ's brand "soy" cheese that lists MILK PROTEIN as one of its main ingredients???? What is the point of imitation cheese if it's made with milk?
posted by GuyZero at 3:00 PM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also I love TJs because the staff is frankly awesome.

This is totally true at the TJ's by my house. A bunch of them recognize my kids and remember their names, which never happens anywhere else, and they all seem pretty content and not stressed out. But my TJ's is one where the volume of shoppers is pretty consistent across the week. If you've had the misfortune of going to one that gets absolutely jammed on the weekends (Emeryville, I am looking at you) then it doesn't always hold true.

Some of my favorites:
Freeze-dried mango.
Steamed lentils.
Cha siu bao

This thread also reminds me how grateful I am to be back in California, with common-sense legislation allowing one to plan a dinner and purchase the right booze all in one convenient trip.

posted by ambrosia at 3:01 PM on March 11, 2013


I'm about an hour away from the nearest metro area with a Trader Joes, so I do stock-up trips every so often. They have great dog biscuits that actually smell like something I'd eat myself, and my dogs love them. Although the availability varies with season, I actually like their bags of fruit because it's individual serving size vs some of the massive grocery store apples and pears elsewhere. Also: dark chocolate bars with caramel and sea salt.
posted by bizzyb at 3:02 PM on March 11, 2013


I've noticed this with cheese. The last time I bought some Tintern I forgot to check the date and when I got it home I noticed it was moldy and had been packaged over a month before. Now I always always always check the date before I put it in my basket.

I love me some TJ's, but I had that happen once. I was actually checking out when the cashier, who was also a senior associate or vice manager or somesuch noticed and was all like "SHIT BRAH THIS CHEESE HAS TEH MOLDZ." And then he ran to the cheese section and brought me like four different kinds of cheese and stuffed them in my bag for free. So they've got that going for them.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:03 PM on March 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Out of love, not TJ-less Canadian envy, maybe it's time to remind y'all of this.
posted by maudlin at 3:03 PM on March 11, 2013


TJ's is the only place I have seen many "Cocktail grapefruits." This is not a grapefruit at all but a delicious mandarin + pomelo cross.
posted by BibiRose at 3:05 PM on March 11, 2013


I haven't noticed moldy cheeses (or at least, their cheeses only get moldy if they get lost in the bowels of my fridge for over a month), but I've had issues with their bread products getting moldy fast, like within two days of purchase. I know it's in part because they aren't stuffed full of preservatives, but man, surely that pita should have lasted longer than two days in my fridge?
posted by yasaman at 3:05 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Trader Joe's played an important role in my mostly failed radio career over 35 years ago. In the mid-70s, when Joe Hinmself still owned it and it had only a half-dozen locations in the L.A. area, its advertising and promotion began with what is still known today as "The Fearless Flyer", with pages of blurbs explaining the special-ness of many of the stores' products, embellished with vintage Public Domain illustrations and corny jokes. Their next step in advertising was radio, and they bought ads on two "Personality Middle-of-the-Road" AM stations, KMPC and KFI, and with no budget to produce commercials, the same copywriters (including Joe, I heard) who made up the Flyer wrote live copy that should take 60 seconds to read, but usually took longer... containing various puns, alliteration, obscure references and tongue-twisters that some of the Radio Personalities enjoyed while others hated. I was doing college radio while working a part-time off-air gig answering phones for a Saturday Night talk show on KFI. Of course, I made copies of all their Trader Joe's commercial copy and included my performance of one on every audition tape I made, just to prove that I could. They were a good icebreaker with Program Directors who would praise my ability to do the readings with just a touch of sarcasm and without breaking up (the breaking up was on takes I'd never send out), and a few of them, former L.A. residents running stations in the boonies, would talk wistfully about Joe's. Once I drove 150 miles to an interview bearing Joe-bought cheese and baked goods (because I wasn't 21 yet and couldn't bring wine)... I got a job offer... for a crappy job I couldn't accept (the quality of radio jobs in California decrease based on distance from L.A. or S.F.)
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:05 PM on March 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Trader Joes is slowly integrating itself into the DFW metroplex, but I need a much better reason than $2 wine to venture into the suburban shitland that is Plano (or, as Bobcat Goldthwait once called it, 'Plain-ol'-nothin!'). Still, we've got Central Market, which is like if Trader Joes was an actual supermarket with really nice produce and a huge selection and decent prices (if you're a careful shopper) and at least another 10,000x better than TJ's.
posted by item at 3:06 PM on March 11, 2013


So, is this place worth me driving to Raleigh for?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:11 PM on March 11, 2013


I'm always amused that Trader-Joes-for-poor-people, their other US outlet, Aldi, actually has some really nice and weird eurostuff mixed in with the food desert staples, but Aldi tends to keep even the wacky German chocolates and cheap UK cheddar in circulation.

Like ericb said, that's the other Aldi. Exactly why one of them decided to continue Germany's efforts to export their low-end supermarkets to the rest of the world and why the other bought Trader Joe's is beyond me.

I'm not sure if I would ever shop at TJs if I lived in a city with other decent choices. But here in Minneapolis they are a lifesaver.

I can't believe I'm defending Minneapolis, but, uh, you're doing it wrong. The answer is the co-ops. It may just be what I buy, but they're not outrageously expensive compared to most of the other grocery stores. Of course, that's because the grocery stores all seem to be outrageously expensive. (I can't get to a Cub easily. And the one time I did, they sold me mouldy cheese. Forget Lund's and Kowalski's, Rainbow is bizarrely expensive for some stuff.)
posted by hoyland at 3:12 PM on March 11, 2013


Related: Who Makes Trader Joe's Food?: A Taste Test.

You don't even need a taste test for this one: Trader Joe's Pesto Tortellini Bowl vs. Amy's Bowls Pesto Tortellini.* That's literally the same exact bowl of pesto on the box, if not the same exact image.

* They really need to do something about that name. It's one "e" away from being really gross.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 3:13 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess I'll also note that the Wedge is less expensive than the Seward Co-op for some reason. I sometimes find myself in Seward and decide to do my shopping and the prices are always just enough higher that I notice.
posted by hoyland at 3:14 PM on March 11, 2013


I'm finding it interesting that everything has to be an either/or situation. If a TJ's opened in our wee little Quebec town, would I forsake all the other places I buy groceries at? Nope. I'd still get my staples for cheap at my local co-op, fruit and veg at another place, and places like TJ's for things I simply can't find anywhere else.

It's like those Montrealers who get incensed at the mere mention of Whole Foods opening up on the island because Hey, Atwater/Jean-Talon Market! Why Would You?. Well, I'd go to both, knowing there are some things one does better than the other and vice versa. (Yes, yes, I know, I know, chain businesses are the Great Satan, but so far Montreal can rest easy and so can we up here.)
posted by Kitteh at 3:16 PM on March 11, 2013


As GuyZero mentions above, Biscoff makes a cookie butter - possibly the exact same one. If you're nowhere near a TJ's, keep an eye out for the Biscoff spread.

If you can only find Biscoff cookies, use them instead of Oreos in cookie truffles. They are sublime. (Peppermint Joe-Joes work well, too. I'd like to try a version with Trader Joe's maple cookies.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:20 PM on March 11, 2013


The tomatoless corn and chile salsa! Oh, and the peanut butter fiber bars! Way tastier than Fiber One bars, with 9 grams of fiber per bar. They're like dessert! The ease of stopping in Trader Joe's to get those (and other things) is one of the things I miss most about giving up my Thursday night improv in the town with the Trader Joe's.
posted by booksherpa at 3:22 PM on March 11, 2013


Ha - we just discovered Biscoff and I'm pretty sure that, after stuffing French toast with it a couple of weeks ago, Ms. Mintcake finally decided once and for all that I'm worth how annoying I am. It was AMAZING. Try that nonsense. (I'm going to get the TJ's version next time I'm there - thanks for this!)
posted by mintcake! at 3:23 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


As GuyZero mentions above, Biscoff makes a cookie butter - possibly the exact same one. If you're nowhere near a TJ's, keep an eye out for the Biscoff spread.

This is what I usually buy at Shaw's because I have no TJ's, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to stock up on the TJ's version as jars of Biscoff run $5.59 per unit and $8.00 per unit in Quebec.
posted by Kitteh at 3:24 PM on March 11, 2013


Oh also - TJ's 'champagne vinaigrette' is the only bottled dressing I care about. It's wildly good.
posted by mintcake! at 3:28 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I go to Trader Joes for chocolate chips, that cheap balsamic in the square jars, cheap frozen tamales, frozen raspberries, and Joe's Os. Everything else there that I would make a special trip for they've discontinued.

And Cheerios and Joe's Os are COMPLETELY not the same. After eating Joe's Os for awhile, Cheerios taste like they've been slightly burnt.

I do not like most of their branded things, and I especially don't like their scotch, cheeses, or pastas.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:28 PM on March 11, 2013


Oh. I have to say that their frozen pie crusts are one of the best out there, for whatever that's worth.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:30 PM on March 11, 2013


I grew up with Trader Joe's in SoCal. Yes, even long before Aldi bought it, if you fell in love with any given product it would eventually be taken away from you.

When it first started it was much less food and much more wine and booze, booze accessories, booze garnishes and weird shelf stable (and boozy) snacks like pickles, crackers, nuts and tinned or dried meats like sardines or jerky. No produce or dairy or real refrigerator cases.

I'm still trying to figure out how my Mormon teetotaler mom originally found the place and added it to one of her go-to places for groceries because she was shopping there as early as like 1990 or maybe even earlier, but by around that time they were carrying things like Amy's Organic boxed meal kits or Barbara's cereal.

They're still carrying Barbara's cereal and for some reason all of their boxes are not only half the price of the ones in Whole Foods or your local grocery store but they're like twice the size. The last time I was craving one of their cereals I went and looked at them at my local QFC/Kroger and the price about gave me a heart attack.

TJ's is also still the cheapest place to find Panda licorice and all kinds of other treats that are normally twice the price at Whole Foods or your local health food co-op. And since WA state just banished their state liquor store system it's also basically the cheapest place to get a bottle of hard liquor or a decent wine short of a Costco.

Such a weird, funky store.
posted by loquacious at 3:32 PM on March 11, 2013


I live across the street and half a block down from a Trader Joe's. I've had produce go bad on me before I've even made it home. Their produce and bread supply chain is seriously messed up. But their frozen foods and things like eggs, dairy and obviously all the snack foods (omg I was just yesterday crying about how many different cookies I ate over the holidays from there. Almond shortbread snowmen, RIP IN MAH BELLAH) are solid. I've also discovered I like their soaps and they seem reasonably priced, along with things like sugar, coffee. Boxed, non-frozen things sometimes taste like hippie though, idk why?
posted by marylynn at 3:35 PM on March 11, 2013


I got some of the speculoos butter thinking it would be right up my alley, but it's just too...greazy...I guess... It's like gingerbread flavored crisco on the mouth. Never did finish the jar.
posted by stenseng at 3:39 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


And yeah, cookie butter is a thing. It's not the same as the Biscoff brand but it's really close. (And I'm starting to see Biscoff show up at major chain groceries right alongside nutella and the various nutella clones.)

If you're really hard core about your cookies you can get a bag of your favorite cookies (I recommend a soft cookie like an oatmeal-raisin like TJ's Druid Circles, or a cinnamon sugar cookie, or a molasses ginger cookie) and (yo, dawg) you put cookie butter on your cookies.

You can also put cookie butter on one cookie and nutella on another cookie and sandwich them together and go into a diabetic coma in minutes flat.

Cookie butter is also good with pretzels or simple butter crackers for a salty-sweet snack, especially with nutella.
posted by loquacious at 3:41 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Orchids! We have a couple of orchids from TJ's from years ago that have spiked and bloomed I don't know how many times.
posted by ambrosia at 3:42 PM on March 11, 2013


Has no one posted the If I Made A Commercial For Trader Joe's yet? It was so painful when they stopped carrying the little milk boxes I put in my kid's lunch.
posted by 41swans at 3:47 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


In my family, we really like the Chinese BBQ pork buns and the strawberry mochi ice cream.
posted by koucha at 3:56 PM on March 11, 2013


I'm looking forward to getting a local Trader Joe's, but I really miss Aldi -- best working conditions for supermarket cashiers that I've ever seen. They get to sit in swivel chairs if they want, rather than being required to stand all day, often without any sort of anti-fatigue mat. And their pay's remarkably good, with benefits.

Can we work out some kind of Parent Trap-style scheme to get the Aldis back together?
posted by asperity at 3:57 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


stenseng, I had the same experience. I love speculoos cookies (Biscoffs on JetBlue!) and liked the ground up speculoos as filling for chocolate bars, but when I bought the jar I just didn't like the taste and mouth feel. I figured that they had gone with a really cheap fat as the base and had cut one too many corners.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:59 PM on March 11, 2013


Palm oil, benito.strauss . It is cookies mixed with palm oil, amongst other things.
posted by 41swans at 4:05 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nth-ing "don't get too attached". I miss their tinned smoked salmon and their olive tapenade. They have a new different version of the latter now but I won't buy it because it looks like floor sweepings from the olive packing plant.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:09 PM on March 11, 2013


They get to sit in swivel chairs if they want, rather than being required to stand all day, often without any sort of anti-fatigue mat.

This is something I never understood. Why do we make cashiers stand? Is there any reason to do it other than because the people making these decisions get to sit and they want to reinforce their power?
posted by madcaptenor at 4:10 PM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Cookie Butter?!?!

Looks like I picked the wrong week to go back to Weight Watchers. :-(
posted by dorkydancer at 4:14 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Probably, chairs cost money. : (
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:14 PM on March 11, 2013


ThePinkSuperhero: I adore TJ's wine selection, but due to a New York state law that dates back to Prohibition, large chain stores are only allowed to have one outpost selling wine in the entire state, and it's in Union Square, a hike from here in a direction I rarely travel. Beer you can get at any location, go figure.

Stew Leonard's has a popular wine store chain apart from their stores, but they make a big legal show out of proclaiming their independence of one another.
posted by dr_dank at 4:17 PM on March 11, 2013


Mmm, gummy tummies.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 4:29 PM on March 11, 2013


A TJ's just opened in Rochester, so we've got the dueling cults of TJ's and Wegmans fighting it out with a barrage of cookies or whatever.

I have enjoyed TJ's chocolate muffins, although I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to things chocolate.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:32 PM on March 11, 2013


I am posting this from the parking lot of the TJ's where I just bought the cookie butter and the $4 Riesling and a bunch of other stuff.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:43 PM on March 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Between cooking and re-entering the white collar workforce, I did a stint working for TJs. What I originally thought was:
1. I have a college degree.
2. I have a solid food background.
3. I am organized, hardworking, and motivated.
4. TJs has some nice benefit packages over a career with them.
5. The person who interviewed me at Whole Foods had a chip on their shoulder.

Both TJs and Whole Foods offered; but I went to TJs since the pay was minimally better and I didn't care for the atmosphere of the Whole Foods I was at. I went to work as a crew member for TJs making slightly better than minimum wage. Gone was overtime pay from being a chef. Gone were healthcare benefits (pre-mass healthcare law). Now far gone was my car. I went from being a chef on a bike to being a proto hipster, complete with dumpster diving for slightly okay produce, and stick and tig welding bicycles into beautiful artwork. I worked hard and advised urban hippies on food and wine. What more was there to life?

Well, deep down inside, I hated TJ's wine and cheese. The beer wasn't bad. Much better cheese could be had for comparable money, and rather than fill a box with $6 and $7 bottles of wine, I'll prefer one night with a single bottle of something quite out of the range sold at TJs...

I worked with some great people, but after enough time there, I saw how the place worked, and well... I felt like I was cheating people - advising them that yes, a $18 Amarone would be great with their dinner if they just let it sit out for almost a full day before they drank it. I've had hearty wines that needed a good decant, but anything that decants for 24 hours before it is palatable had better be coming out of the basement of a chateau - not masquerading as wine on the verge of being vinegar.

Going down the aisles, I saw prepackaged crap. Boxed crap, bagged crap, frozen crap, canned crap, and so on. Sure, the flavors were decent, but - slather enough sodium and sugar in something and yeah - it tastes pretty good. Sure, no preservatives and no artificial colors - sure the label was readable... but, actually learn how to make some of the stuff, and damn - they were just placating people with sugar and salt - the same thing doritos and chips ahoy provide you... but they were doing it with the disguise of being better for you. Moreover, they were doing it with their own labeled stuff. I didn't totally get it.

I watched a produce section be so mismanaged that it wasn't the quality of what was coming in that was an issue - it was the quality of the stuff that had to be moved to the floor that was an issue. (Sure, its a FIFO queue, but man - continually over-order and you force the staff to only stock the shelves with almost expired product). I busted my ass, trying to rework the produce and dairy cases trying to put some semblance of order to it. It didn't matter, enough of the rest of the staff was too apathetic to maintain proper rotation, the person ordering was too clueless to slow down their purchase rate, and management as a whole was too apathetic to actually correct things. I'm all for letting things work their ways out, but there was just so much waste in the produce - it was a thing of evil. Promotions and success was not based on aptitude, intelligence, or even customer service - arguably the first two things meant you were potentially a rabble rouser and that well... lets just say TJs likes the image of being laid back and different, but in reality - they are less than you'd like them to be.

I switched stores, thinking maybe it was just how that particular location was run - but the same thing repeated. I hung out for a longer, and then realized that my bohemian stint with cooking and grocery was over.

Shirt. Tie. Working Stiff. Honesty.

I do still like a few things at TJs, but it isn't their sweets, it isn't their meats, and it definitely isn't their produce. Their butter, their milk, their eggs, and their beer selection are excellent. They have a decent selection of coffees, teas, and sugars. My wife likes their flowers. Frozen edamame is a gift from god.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:43 PM on March 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


I can't believe I'm defending Minneapolis, but, uh, you're doing it wrong. The answer is the co-ops. It may just be what I buy, but they're not outrageously expensive compared to most of the other grocery stores. Of course, that's because the grocery stores all seem to be outrageously expensive. (I can't get to a Cub easily. And the one time I did, they sold me mouldy cheese. Forget Lund's and Kowalski's, Rainbow is bizarrely expensive for some stuff.)


I was thinking something similar, although I haven't found that the price difference between Seward and The Wedge is enough to offset the fact that the latter's parking lot is a notorious derby of terror and murder. I used to live a couple blocks from The Wedge and was nearly run down pretty much every single time.

The Cub on Lake Street is my favorite middle-of-the-night shopping spot. The selection of international foods is surprisingly good, the prices are right, the staff strike the appropriate balance between surly, chatty, and bemused, and if I go close enough to bar close, the, uh, floor show is amazing.

Another store that needs to be included if you have any desire for food from any part of Asia- United Noodles. It's tucked away in this weird little industrial complex, but it is awe-inspiring.( I will shill for them even though they did not have my favorite wasabi seaweed snacks last time I was there and I was the saddest.) Coastal Seafoods is right around the corner if you want the freshest fish you can possibly get in the TC.

There's also Holy Land, Bill's Imported Foods... man, so much good food here.

Trader Joe's is good for interesting specialty items, but I can't imagine doing any of my regular shopping there.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:48 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Between the speculaas pasta and the stroopwafels,TJ's is robbing me of "exotic" food gifts to bring home to friends and family from The Netherlands one item at a time. If they start selling jenever I'm toast.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:54 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just returned from a trip to TJ's and I refrained from the Cookie Butter. I cannot begin to tell you what an accomplishment it is to exit with flowers, a half gallon of milk and a pint of blueberries.
posted by ambrosia at 4:55 PM on March 11, 2013


Cookie butter is also good with pretzels or simple butter crackers for a salty-sweet snack, especially with nutella.

Cookie butter is good on pretzels, crackers, cookies, cheese, cereal, a knife, a spoon, your finger, your thumb, your double-dipped index finger because you ran out of clean fingers, the counter, the floor, that part of the floor that you can never quite get with the broom (provided you don't touch the stuff on the bottom), a toothbrush, a boot, hot lava, the dog...

Cookie butter is good on nouns.
posted by Turkey Glue at 4:58 PM on March 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


I live three minutes from TJ's, less if I'm running, and this is a problem for many reasons, many of them cheese-based. There really isn't anywhere else nearby that sells decent cheese as cheaply-- DiBruno Brothers can soothe my soul with samples of $100 a pound iberico, but the cost of getting gorgonzola to throw on a galette is outrageous. Is the produce awesome? No. But it is better than not eating produce.

Also, cinnamon Puffins. Puffins!!!!!!! Cinnamon Puffins!!!!!
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:59 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


We lived in the Twin Cites for almost 2 decades and then a few years ago moved to the high ass end of North Dakota. I'll tell you, there is no way that General Mills Cheerios are the same as the regular and honey nut versions at TJs. The GM stuff was like eating sawdust and you could practically taste all the additives.

Now when we go back to the Twin Cities, besides major stocking up at Costco and Blue Max Liquors, we always drop over $200 stocking up at TJs. Cereal, Aussie red licorce, a Fig Walks into a Bar (and its myriad variations), the chocolate syrup, Joe-Joe's, and on and on. We can't take frozen foods back unless it's really fucking cold out. My wife aches for their frozen Indian food but there's only been one trip to the Cities where we knew it would stay frozen in the trunk for a nine hour drive.

And apparently I missed out on this cookie spread BUT I WANT IT NOW!
posted by Ber at 5:05 PM on March 11, 2013


The original "cookie butter", speculoos spread, debuted in Belgium as part of a TV invention contest in 2007. It has since gained enormous popularity while also being the subject of a bitter intellectual property dispute.
posted by Bwithh at 5:08 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seconding what yasaman said about the bread going moldy fast. I haven't seen that happen with the milk or cheese. I love their tomato-roasted red pepper soup, salsa, and both kitties are big fans of their cat scratchers. My cats flip out when I sprinkle the catnip flakes into the cardboard. I mean, Lloyd licks it off, and then mashes his face into it. Lucy likes to sleep on it.

The sushi rolls have gone seriously downhill in quality and quantity.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:09 PM on March 11, 2013


I haven't noticed moldy cheeses (or at least, their cheeses only get moldy if they get lost in the bowels of my fridge for over a month), but I've had issues with their bread products getting moldy fast, like within two days of purchase. I know it's in part because they aren't stuffed full of preservatives, but man, surely that pita should have lasted longer than two days in my fridge?
posted by yasaman at 3:05 PM on March 11 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Weirdly rapidly molding bread from TJs is a a constant problem for me in summer months in LA.
I've had problems with their imported cheese. I bought a chunk of Double Gloucester from England from them which was really sour and sharp. Double Gloucestor isn't meant to be like that at all (more like mellow and creamy) but I guess the average US customer wouldn't realize.
posted by Bwithh at 5:12 PM on March 11, 2013


but I need a much better reason than $2 wine to venture into the suburban shitland ...

Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck Gets a Price Hike.
posted by ericb at 5:13 PM on March 11, 2013


Cracked wheat sourdough(which can't be found east of Rocky Mountain states).
posted by brujita at 5:16 PM on March 11, 2013


We mostly only shop at Trader Joes these days, haven't had much problem with the produce and the prices are a lot cheaper than the local Giant Eagle chain for most stuff.
posted by octothorpe at 5:22 PM on March 11, 2013


Sigh. Every time that forget that in the alternative universe that most of you live in, TJ's sells beer and wine and booze, someone manages to remind me. Damn you PA-LCB.

I am convinced that the reason why the TJ's in the South Hills is so spacious is in anticipation of the change in PA liquor laws.

One can dream...
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:26 PM on March 11, 2013


Why do we make cashiers stand?

I've been a cashier at several different places, some of which had stools provided -- but even when I had one I rarely used it. They're great for if you have a pause between customers, but when you're actually checking people out sitting on a stool is just awkward. At a busy place like a Trader Joe's (they're all busy, right?) a stool would get in the way.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:29 PM on March 11, 2013


Also, if you're in a chair you're probably reaching outside of your "power zone" to check things out, which could lead to more injuries.
posted by graventy at 5:36 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am convinced that the reason why the TJ's in the South Hills is so spacious is in anticipation of the change in PA liquor laws.

Huh, didn't even know there was one down there but I haven't been to the south hills in years.
posted by octothorpe at 5:42 PM on March 11, 2013


TJ's is robbing me of "exotic" food gifts to bring home to friends and family from The Netherlands one item at a time

I found it in Belgium, don't know if it is sold in the Netherlands, but: Sirop de Liège is fantastic on croissants and has not been spotted by Trader Joes or Cost Plus yet.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:50 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heh, Trader Joe's is my SOURCE of exotic gifts to bring home to friends and family. Despite my father emailing and begging every three months, Trader Joe's still has 0 outlets in Vermont and, like Kitteh, the closest location remains Nashua. This is especially odd as Burlington would go NUTS for a TJ's. It's a pretty perfect fit. But in the meantime, I can bring Triple-Ginger Snaps and chocolate covered cherries home and be my father's very favorite daughter.

I recently had surprisingly positive experiences trying experimental dried Korean fruits at Trader Joe's - the Jeju Freeze-Dried Mandarins (I know, dried orange sounds terrible, right? Wrong.) and the Shinko pears (I hate Asian pears, yet I loved these. For a week I had a little bedtime ritual where I got a handful of dried pears and the cat got a couple dried chicken treats. They looked almost identical. Fortunately(?) the chicken smells bad with flair.)

If you want to be practical - Trader Joe's has shelf stable cream. This is brilliant for bakers who do not plan ahead like me. Brilliant.
posted by maryr at 6:08 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone still have some of the Sipping Chocolate at their local TJ's? Or extra one in your cabinet you don't want?


Keep your eyes open for Bellagio Sipping Chocolate. It's delicious & I'm pretty sure it's the same stuff, just rebranded.
posted by belladonna at 6:09 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The frozen chocolate croissants are delightful. We also like their spaghetti sauce, olive oil, and coffee.
posted by belladonna at 6:10 PM on March 11, 2013


Chili spiced mango. I buy at least 10 bags every time I hit TJ's, since they don't have one where I live.

and Yeah, speculoos is da BOMB!
posted by KillaSeal at 6:13 PM on March 11, 2013


Random data point, but the TJ's near me perpetually had the instantly stale bread/expiring cheese/expiring salsa problems.

Then a couple times i stopped by after work and the shelves were just EMPTY in the bread sections, and a few others. Only absolute dregs left.

I asked a cashier, and he said they were switching around their entire supply chain so they used their own trucks and warehouses, and stuff would be much fresher after that.

There's still random kinks of things being totally sold out here and there, but now everything is really fresh, especially compared to how it used to be. I can just buy stuff and throw it in the fridge/on the shelf and not worry about it going bad. Apparently they're doing it almost drop-ship style like apple where they have lots of small random deliveries of just things they need at night and in the morning, and don't keep much stock at the store. I discovered this when i asked about them being out of a type of juice i liked and they said it would be there later in the day.

Seems like a good idea if they can keep it up, especially since i like a lot of their stuff that seemed to go bad way faster than it had any right to.
posted by emptythought at 6:16 PM on March 11, 2013


OK, I'm scratching my head here over the "expiring cheese" theme. I was taught that if you have a block of hard or semi-soft cheese and the edges get dry or grow a little mold, you slice it off and eat the rest of the cheese, which is perfectly healthy and tasty.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:24 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


ah....Central Market is tha shitz!
posted by shockingbluamp at 6:27 PM on March 11, 2013


The crabcakes and wasabi mayo are OK, but I can get better elsewhere, but they don't irk me quite as much as Whole Paych- er..Foods.
posted by jonmc at 6:46 PM on March 11, 2013


A friend of mine just sent me a box of Trader Joe's stuff - all that salt and sugar was a perfect cure for my California nostalgia.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:56 PM on March 11, 2013


Speaking of disappearing TJ's stuff: I want to camp out in front of ours and protest until they bring back the caponata.

My god, that caponata. I WEEP.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:06 PM on March 11, 2013


I forgot about the fresh salsa in the cold case. That stuff keeps me going during the months when I can't make my own salsa because the available tomatoes are too crappy... the Salsa Especial is my favorite, but last year or the year before they added Serrano Salsa to the lineup, and while sometimes it's a little bit heavy on the cilantro, most of the time it's just about as close to my own homemade salsa as I can get.

DAMMIT. I am so hungry right now, you guys. And it's raining and cold and I am already in my indoor pants and TJ's is a half hour walk away from me. The world is cruel. So cruel.
posted by palomar at 7:27 PM on March 11, 2013


OK, I'm scratching my head here over the "expiring cheese" theme. I was taught that if you have a block of hard or semi-soft cheese and the edges get dry or grow a little mold, you slice it off and eat the rest of the cheese, which is perfectly healthy and tasty.

Having just chucked some cheese from Trader Joe's out this morning because it'd gone mouldy, it somehow has the magical property that you don't just get a bit of mould round the edges, you get gobs of blue mould smack in the middle. There's all kinds of cheese of dubious age in my fridge (or there was until this morning), but it generally doesn't turn blue. (This was some gruyere, though, and most of my cheese is cheddar, so maybe that explains the blue.)
posted by hoyland at 7:46 PM on March 11, 2013


We've had the rapidly expiring bread problem. (Well, tortillas.)
posted by madcaptenor at 8:04 PM on March 11, 2013


I miss the red pepper pesto and the diet pomegranate soda. on the plus side pizza parlanno is finally back but much later than they originally told me (september).
posted by oneear at 8:07 PM on March 11, 2013


if anyone sees the diet pomegranate in the bay area pls let me know.
posted by oneear at 8:08 PM on March 11, 2013


Ever have the beef hash? It came in a large foil packet and the whole thing would slide out onto the pan. Looked a little sketchy until you took your first bite and then it would be a requirement for at least one breakfast every weekend. And now...it's gone (sobs).
posted by Ber at 8:15 PM on March 11, 2013


Can't believe we're this far into the thread without anyone mentioning the miniature peanut butter cups. I always start out thinking I'll daintily snack on three or four of them, and end up stuffing fistfuls of them into my mouth between guilty sobs. You should try them!
posted by webmutant at 8:44 PM on March 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Waaaaiiiittt... just re-reading through this: did someone say the s'mores are gone?! GONE?! I had to stop buying them because it my blood was turning to marshmallow but I loved them so much! Shit, they just closed 7 minutes ago or I'd have run over in my jammies to beg the stoners for any stash they might have in the back (they're all stoned, right? I figured, what with the "Heeyyyy, nice cheeeesseee...." they do and the quick availability of snacks).
posted by marylynn at 9:08 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Serious question; they no longer stock my beloved edamame ragoons, and when I asked they said that is a seasonal item. This is code for "fat chance you'll ever see that again" right?
posted by cestmoi15 at 9:14 PM on March 11, 2013


I share the frustration over "disappearing Trader Joe's items", and I have almost 40 years frequenting those stores to love-em-and-lose-em. I probably shouldn't say this openly, but I'm always pleasantly surprised that they still carry the frozen tamales and enchiladas, egg rolls and potstickers... nothing fancy or unique, but my standard "Bachelor Chow" in the late 70s/early 80s. (Although the extremely-artificially-colored Sweet & Sour Sauce I'd dip the egg rolls and potstickers in has apparently recently vanished... one of the most artificial food products in the whole store and one of my favorites)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:16 PM on March 11, 2013


Man, you've all been listing disappeared stuff that TJs had a nice spin on, or a good price on, but I have never seen anything that comes near to my apparently-gone-forever Peanut Butter Chocolate Malted-milk Balls.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:34 PM on March 11, 2013


Can't believe we're this far into the thread without anyone mentioning the miniature peanut butter cups. I always start out thinking I'll daintily snack on three or four of them, and end up stuffing fistfuls of them into my mouth between guilty sobs.

last month I literally ate a pound of them during a single stressful commute
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 10:46 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


miniature peanut butter cups

I love those little bastards.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:21 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did not bring up the miniature peanut butter cups because those things are my kryptonite and I did not want to be responsible for the downfall of the blissfully ignorant.
posted by ambrosia at 11:59 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Chocolate Cat Cookies (for people) are a serious addiction in my household and a tub rarely lasts more than 12 hours.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:15 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went out tonight and bought the cookie butter and the aebleskiver (Danish pancake bites, which remind me of nutmeg/cardamom donut holes). THANKS A LOT YOU GUYS, I REALLY NEEDED SEVERAL MORE DESSERTS IN MY HOME.

...speaking of Danish, I notice that no one has mentioned the Almond Danish from the pastry/bakery rack. It contains a lot of almond paste and is thus deliciously superior to danishes from other grocery stores. Especially when heated up in the oven for about 15 minutes.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 12:43 AM on March 12, 2013


It was the moldy bread that really soured me on TJ's. I got so frustrated buying a loaf of bread, only to have it go moldy after two days on the counter OR in the fridge, I stopped making the trip up there.

Going down the aisles, I saw prepackaged crap. Boxed crap, bagged crap, frozen crap, canned crap, and so on.

*sigh* I hate to say it, but that's what I miss about going. Their little boxes of microwave Pad Thai with a gram of sodium. The bags of peanut butter filled pretzel bites. And yes, the miniature peanut butter cups.

They also have a decent collection of canned seafood. Mmm. sardines and crackers.

I like salt.
posted by formless at 12:51 AM on March 12, 2013


It's fun to see all the Speculoos loving in this thread (or the nutella loving in an earlier one) as while these are perfectly nice, they're also pretty normal products over here and largely reserved for children. (Also, judging from the commercials, Nutella would've been the official breakfast paste of the Third Reich had it won the war, so aryan are their happy families. )
posted by MartinWisse at 2:50 AM on March 12, 2013


Our nearest TJ's is roughly 3400 miles away, which is lucky for us given the extreme addictive nature of their lemon cookies.
posted by dickasso at 5:11 AM on March 12, 2013


I'll have to pick this up on my next trip, but it seems like one of those joke products that shouldn't exist but you might see on a late-night infomercial:

[video flyover of plates of traditional cookies]

Do you LOVE cookies, but HATE the trouble and mess that comes with eating them?

[cut to video of woman attempting to eat cookie, crumbs falling from her chewing mouth; a piece breaks off and attempting to lean down and grab it she bangs her head into the side of the counter and collapses]


Anyway, I'm glad I no longer have to stock up on trips visiting my relatives now that they opened a store in Maine. I was the first paying customer - I was biking by just before they opened and the line was long but I estimated I'd get in with the first wave. Since I had the bike I didn't have to deal with the crazy parking lot. I was perhaps the 40th into the store but since I knew the layout and that my purchase was simply going to be all the Dunkers cookies I could possibly carry on my bike I got to the register quickly.
posted by mikepop at 7:37 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every once in a while, I'll find a sherpa and a passport, and head a few towns west to where things like TJ and Whole Foods tend to get built. (Rich, white, neighborhoods.) I like their packaged stuff, and the fact that they have things like frozen dover sole is amazing; but unless I'm going to be in that neck of the woods, and have a cooler in the car, it's not a practical trip.

I didn't know that TJ and Aldi were the same company. Aldi recently built a store near us, in a really fantastic location, but the parking lot is never full like the TJ lot. Aldi does have yummy European chocolate; made with real ingredients and not GMO corn syrup.
posted by dejah420 at 8:14 AM on March 12, 2013


Aldi does have yummy European chocolate; made with real ingredients and not GMO corn syrup.

An overly literal German post-doc working for my wife once brought us 40 million calories worth of European chocolate when we asked for 'as much as she felt comfortable carrying'. We really only wanted standard UK grocery store chocolate such as cadbury's (it doesn't have the awful waxy taste of north american chocolate) but she also brought some continental chocolate that I have since discovered is pretty widely available and affordable in Chicago.

Look for Milka and Ritter Sport if you need an inexpensive euro chocolate fix.
posted by srboisvert at 8:26 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


While there's a split between the family in terms of TJ's vs Aldi, I'm pretty sure they use the same supply chains at times, largely because items that disappear from TJ's sometimes reappear, with slightly different packaging, at Aldi (at least in Baltimore-area Aldi stores).

I do wish they'd do another Commodore 64 Aldi edition, though.
posted by sonascope at 8:54 AM on March 12, 2013


I remember the old days when Target had Milka at the registers for reasonable prices. Ah, the old days.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:11 AM on March 12, 2013


Way back when I lived in souther California, in the late 80's, TJ had some impossibly affordable, raw, pine nuts. We were used to what was available in NYC, which meant we didn't buy any (expensive imported in tiny glass jars). In California, fresh-roasted pine nuts became a favorite snack.

I'm amused it's German owned. I never knew them until I moved to Long Beach.
posted by Goofyy at 9:42 AM on March 12, 2013


Oh, the Speculoos spread. It's everywhere here in Europe, now. We found it in Belgium, and just a few weeks ago discovered sold in Switzerland. A weird thing to do. But tasty.
posted by Goofyy at 9:42 AM on March 12, 2013


I currently work at TJs and it's the best job I've ever had. My experience differs from nanukthedog's...but it really does depend on your order writers and mgmt.

RE: Bread...this is highly variable regionally. Most stores have fresh daily artisan, you can ask if it comes frozen or fresh.

I'd write more, but a broken keyboard isn't conducive to long posts. Feel free to memail me any questions.
posted by schyler523 at 10:17 AM on March 12, 2013


I totally see an AskMe about what's new and good to buy at TJ's that is also vegan-friendly coming up in my future.

Roasted veggie no-cheese pizza.
Coconut milk strawberry ice cream.
Albero wine (vegan, organic, and delicious for $6 a bottle)


Last time I looked, the roasted veggie no-cheese pizza had honey in it. A lot of their products are like that--almost vegan--why wouldn't they make that minor change and make it appeal to vegans in addition to the lactose-intolerant.
posted by QuakerMel at 10:22 AM on March 12, 2013


A lot of vegans (that I know, anyway) don't consider honey verboten, so there's that. And I can't remember if I've ever looked at those particular products, but they may be targeted more towards lactose-intolerant folks than vegans (at least, vegans who don't eat honey).
posted by rtha at 11:07 AM on March 12, 2013


Look for Milka and Ritter Sport if you need an inexpensive euro chocolate fix.

Ritter Sport can be a dangerous road to start on, if you're a completist who needs to try out all the possibilities.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:18 AM on March 12, 2013


I love Trader Joes, but as everyone has already mentioned if you love anything it will go away.

I used to love the Tangy Citrus Green Tea, the Flat Iron Chuck Steak in Chipotle BBQ Sauce, and the Garlic & Herb Steak with Chimichurri. They are nowhere to be seen now.

Hopefully they keep with the Soy, Chorizo because I love it so much and it's just as good as normal chorizo without dealing with the whole it's the worst parts of the pig scenario.
posted by lizarrd at 11:51 AM on March 12, 2013


I'm a vegan that doesn't eat honey, but mostly because I don't like honey, so that no-cheese pizza is off the table. I'd be upset but I make better no-cheese pizza.
posted by Kitteh at 12:30 PM on March 12, 2013


OK, I'm scratching my head here over the "expiring cheese" theme. I was taught that if you have a block of hard or semi-soft cheese and the edges get dry or grow a little mold, you slice it off and eat the rest of the cheese, which is perfectly healthy and tasty.

Tintern is a Welsh cheese that's full of chives and shallots. Neither of those are delicious when mouldy. :( It's actually sort of horrific because the whole wedge just goes this terrifying grey, starting from under the wax and making its way toward the center.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:47 PM on March 12, 2013


> OK, I'm scratching my head here over the "expiring cheese" theme. I was taught that if you have a block of hard or semi-soft cheese and the edges get dry or grow a little mold, you slice it off and eat the rest of the cheese, which is perfectly healthy and tasty

Sure, but you don't expect to have to do that the day after you brought the cheese home. You paid for X amount of cheese, not X minus 1".
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:13 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The mold with these cheeses is really insane: it infests the whole block really quickly. The pieces do not seem dry like they should be, either. I've always had the feeling at my TJs that the way things are handled contributes to spoilage. I've bought stuff that was partially frozen that was not ever supposed to be frozen (sliced meat), and I know they let stuff sit on the floor for quite a while when stocking.
posted by BibiRose at 1:22 PM on March 12, 2013


The mold with these cheeses is really insane: it infests the whole block really quickly.

I used to have such problems with cheese going moldy; it drove me insane. Then I stopped wrapping cheese in plastic wrap. Voila--no more mold problems. YMMV, but I find that wrapping cheese in wax paper or proper cheese paper stops the mold problem cold.
posted by yoink at 1:34 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Then I stopped wrapping cheese in plastic wrap.

Thanks for the tip.

I just Googled this:
When I worked as a cheesemonger, we always advised our customers never to store their cheeses in direct contact with plastic, and not to wrap them too tightly. There's some science behind this, as kitchen scientist extraordinaire Harold McGee writes in his indispensable kitchen reference, On Food and Cooking. There are, McGee says, three essential reasons to avoid tight plastic wrap. First, any kind of tight wrapping will promote the growth of bacteria, including those not native to the cheese, which can cause food-safety issues or off flavors. Second, tight wrapping prevents the dissipation of natural off odors, like ammonia, which is produced by bacteria native to the cheese. Finally, cheese, being mostly oil and fat, is able to absorb flavors and chemicals from the plastic, which you definitely don't want.

So what's a better alternative? At Cowgirl Creamery, we sold cheese wrapped in waxed paper, which I recommend, as does McGee.
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


We get bottles of the Flying Heart wine pretty regularly. It's a very jammy $5 red that actually seems to get better after being open for a day or so.
posted by curious nu at 14:28 on March 11 [+] [!]


Went to buy some today.

Discontinued.

what have i done
posted by curious nu at 3:32 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


What are the odds that TJ's will discontinue the mini peanut butter cups now? That would actually be a good thing for my waistline. Perhaps I really ought to have mentioned it earlier.
posted by ambrosia at 4:24 PM on March 12, 2013


I was just at the Newton, Mass Trader Joe's (status: crowded) and once again looked in vain for the Multigrain Entertainer Crackers they discontinued about six months ago. I think the owners of TJs are Buddhists trying to teach the ultimate emptiness of all desires, and the ultimate impermanence of all things.

That or they hate me.

PS my wife says she is willing to kill to get some of the Cashew-Macadamia Nut Butter they used to sell.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:39 PM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think this TJs thread is a Borges story, and the naming of an item causes it to disappear.

Some will adapt by inventing a totally new language where things are only referred to indirectly. Their speech becomes so oblique that they end up not being able to tell the difference between their dreams and reality — those of a happy nature lead lives of pure bliss, while the more saturnine are haunted by phantoms.

Others bravely call out their loves by name. These loves then disappear, and these people lead lives of unremitting and unbearable nostalgia.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:31 PM on March 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Went to make an Islay-based cocktail last night using the Finlaggan from TJ's and - there wasn't even enough left for one drink! And then gingerbeer was all, no, I'm positive we bought another bottle and I rooted around in the cabinet and lo, there it was! There was much relief. And the cocktail (a Last Word variation) was quite tasty. Might need to make a run this weekend, just in case.
posted by rtha at 5:54 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I keep track of these things! And yes, it was very tasty.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:15 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


As far as I know...the flying heart is seasonal now. The multigrain entertainers are getting vendor resourced.
posted by schyler523 at 7:18 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Out with SF mefites. All sampling cookie butter now. Tastes like Teddy Grahams!
posted by radioamy at 8:11 PM on March 12, 2013


How do you know about TJs supply chain? Is there a website? Can I get a text message as soon as the multigrain entertainers are back in production? I need to know!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:11 AM on March 13, 2013


dorkydancer - it's 2 points per tablespoon! You *can* eat this on WW, you just have to make sure to count the points!

But honestly I don't think it's worth it. For the same points you can have one of the Soy Dreamy ice cream bars which I think is much more satisfying.
posted by radioamy at 10:38 AM on March 13, 2013


If there is no TJ's near you, you can always buy your cookie butter on eBay...
posted by radioamy at 10:40 AM on March 13, 2013


I saw a bunch of incredible overpriced TJ stuff on Amazon too, if you don't mind spend $10 on your cookie butter.
posted by maryr at 12:02 PM on March 13, 2013


They sell Biscoff in all major grocery chains. Seriously, if I can find it in my teeny little rural store, that doesn't even carry shallots for fuck's sake, then you can find biscoff anywhere. I think it's better than the TJ version.

Interesting story about cookie butter: From a link on Speculoos, which I got found because I was sure the recipe for making cookie butter had been around for years and years, and sure enough; it was.

In the area of Europe centered on Eeklo, Belgium, where the speculoos cookie originated, local workers had long known that a sandwich made in the morning with butter and speculoos cookies would develop a spread-like consistancy by lunchtime.[5]

In 2008, two competitors entered a contest on the Belgian television show, The Inventors (de Bedenkers), with a spread made from speculoos cookies[6][5] — Els Scheppers, who reached the semi finals, and the team of chef Danny De Mayer and Dirk De Smet, who weren't selected as finalists. Spreads made from crushed Speculoos cookies would subsequently go into production by three separate companies, and by the time they arrived in Belgian supermarkets, Speculoos spread caused a sensation,[5] taking the "Benelux market by storm."[6]

The companies manufacturing the spread were Biscuiterie Willems, Vermeiren Princeps and Lotus Bakeries of Belgium — with Lotus Bakeries subsequently claiming exclusive rights, having purchased the recipe from contestant Scheppers of the television competition.[5] The two competitors, Scheppers as well as De Mayer & De Smet, had presented nearly identical speculoos-based spread recipes, with the latter claiming to hold a patent.[6] De Mayer/DeSmet's recipe was marketed beginning in November 2007 as Speculla, and Scheppers recipe by Lotus Bakeries arrived in early spring 2008 as Speculoospasta. Lotus subsequently also purchased the De Mayer/De Smet patent.

A two-year patent battle ensued between Lotus and Biscuiterie Willems[6] and in January of 2011, Lotus Bakeries' patent was nullified[5] [7] by the Commercial Court of Ghent (Belgium),[6] which discovered the recipe had been posted on an internet website, Oma Wapsie (Grandma Wapsie), since 2002.[8] [9]
posted by dejah420 at 1:15 PM on March 13, 2013


I have never seen Biscoff (spread OR cookie) in any grocery store (major chain or otherwise) in my California city.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:29 PM on March 13, 2013


I have never seen Biscoff (spread OR cookie) in any grocery store (major chain or otherwise) in my California city.

In Minneapolis, CVS stocks the cookies. I don't know that the grocery stores do.
posted by hoyland at 2:39 PM on March 13, 2013


Trader Joe's may have angered me forever, by unceremoniously dumping the pimiento cheese I loved so much. My husband and I were making special trips to pick up said pimiento cheese (and a few other items that seem to only exist there), but it's been unfindable for at least 6 months. My husband finally asked them what the deal was, and they said, "Well, it's not on our order sheet, so I don't know." KILL.

But it's just as well, because I don't know if I can handle the lunatic crowds at Trader Joe's, anymore. Once, I was only afraid of being murdered by fellow customers when I was in a Whole Foods. Now, our nearby Trader Joe's is just as bad. People will beat you to death with a shopping basket, before you'll come between them and their pet Doomed Trader Joe's Product.
posted by Coatlicue at 8:44 PM on March 13, 2013


They sell Biscoff in all major grocery chains. Seriously, if I can find it in my teeny little rural store, that doesn't even carry shallots for fuck's sake, then you can find biscoff anywhere. I think it's better than the TJ version.


You are correct. As I stated upthread I can find Biscoff in Shaw's in Vermont; it costs $5.59 a jar. And sometimes I can find it here in Sherbrooke, where the same size jar costs $7.99 and up.

And while it may not be the brand name but tastes pretty darn close, the price of a TJ's jar is a much more delicious savings to me.
posted by Kitteh at 6:43 AM on March 14, 2013


I think the owners of TJs are Buddhists trying to teach the ultimate emptiness of all desires, and the ultimate impermanence of all things.

Maybe I'll subscribe to the Fearless Flyer in Google Reader.
posted by brainwane at 12:48 PM on March 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have never seen Biscoff (spread OR cookie) in any grocery store (major chain or otherwise) in my California city.

Just out of curiosity, I looked at my local Whole Foods last night, and there it was in the nut butter section, down on the shelf with the various Nutella-type spreads. I'm in San Francisco.
posted by rtha at 12:56 PM on March 15, 2013


To hold onto the market segment that frequents both TJ's and Whole Foods, I'm sure WF regularly surveys the Fearless Flyer for products to steal include.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:08 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "brand name" version is Biscoff spread.

Way late to the thread, but I would just like to say that no, they are not the same thing. I (a person who, for purposes of pointing out my neutrality, is not a big fan of the cookie butter thing) have had the occasion to try both of them side by side from freshly-opened jars. They are a slightly different color, slightly different texture, and the taste IS different. Biscoff is a little...spicier? My personal preference is for the TJ's variety, but maybe that's just because Biscoff gives me terror flashbacks to being crammed in an airplane.
posted by phunniemee at 11:09 AM on April 3, 2013


a person who, for purposes of pointing out my neutrality, is not a big fan of the cookie butter thing

As evidence of this, I would like to present to you the 5 jars of cookie butter I've just had sitting in my house untouched for several weeks, waiting to be mailed off to my brother.
posted by phunniemee at 11:10 AM on April 3, 2013


In the meantime, your poor brother has probably died from cookie butter deprivation!
posted by rtha at 11:15 AM on April 3, 2013


Well, at first it was because TJ's was always out of the cookie butter, so I had to go back multiple times to get enough to be worth sending, and then it was because I'm lazy, and now it's because he went and got himself some fancy new job and is moving in 2 weeks to who-knows-where.

I AM TRYING TO COOKIEBUTTER THE MASSES. It's just so hard.
posted by phunniemee at 11:22 AM on April 3, 2013


A little late to this thread, but if anyone is still reading/interested, Walgreens (Chicago) has carried Biscoff for the past several months. (That stuff went from hard-to-find treat to as common as peanut butter in no time.)
posted by she's not there at 6:23 AM on April 9, 2013


Yeah, I've seen the Biscoff in drug stores in both Boston and Austin. It's totally jumped the shark.
posted by maryr at 11:02 AM on April 9, 2013


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