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Author Topic: In which I finally go to Trader Joe's and the end result is...  (Read 855 times)
bluestarlizzard
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« on: November 16, 2018, 07:25:19 PM »

Dad Meth.

Charlottesville got a Trader Joe's a few years back and after I heard it was trendy and very crowded, I declined to go there. However, being recently informed one could find Pumpkin Cheesecake in Trader Joe's, I decided to brave the trendy and see what could be found.

Since I was going into a grocery store, I figured I would go ahead and get the stuff to make Dad Crack (cabbage, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and sausage, usually kielbasa, cooked in vinegar with garlic in the crockpot) as well as cheesecake, along with browsing for interesting things.

Except they didn't have cabbage. What kind of grocery store doesn't have freeking cabbage? In fact the whole produce section was completely underwhelming, which surprised me considering it's a trendy store and hippies like rabbit food.  undecided I am not impressed with Trader Joe's. I'm not sure people who shop there regularly actually cook. It was all packaged food, pre prepped food, snacks and treats and a big wine section. Almost all the "meat" was some variation of turkey. There was some interesting stuff and one thing I did buy even though I'm really uncertain about it*, but, overall, I was underwhelmed by the selections and I'm not sure the few things they had that looked good are really worth the hassle of trendy crowds and a really obnoxious shopping center.

They also did NOT have the thing I wanted, which was the pumpkin cheesecake.  angry

The good news was that they did have fresh spinach. Dad loves spinach. So I decided to experiment a bit with what I could find in Trader Joe's. I nabbed three bags of baby spinach, two red onions, two green bell peppers and two cartons of baby bella mushrooms in the produce section. I almost lost hope when I found the bacon section because right up front is the sin known as turkey bacon, but they did actually have real bacon. I got two packages of their uncured, apple wood smoked bacon pieces. I also bought a bottle of balsamic vinegar. I was disappointed that there was no sausage that did not have the words "turkey" or "soy" on the packages, but I did have two packs of bacon, so I figured the sausage was no great loss.

When I got home, I shoved all three bags of spinach into the crockpot along with a cup of the vinegar and turned it on high heat. Then I fried up the bacon, which was torturous. Trader Joe's slightly redeemed themselves with the bacon. Good, thick bacon that smells divine when it's cooking. Most of both packs did end up in the crockpot, but it was a struggle.
After the bacon I caramelized the onions in the bacon grease and poured that on top of the spinach, which smashed the spinach down enough to get the sliced green peppers into the pot.
About a half hour later, the spinach had wilted down enough to get the mushrooms in. Overall I let it cook for about three hours.

Anyway, it turned out rather tasty and Dad went completely bonkers over it. I really liked the bacon in it, especially as the chunks range from whole thick cut slices to little bits. I did put some salt and pepper into the onions when I cooked them, but not that much. Between the bacon and the vinegar, it really doesn't need anything else in the way of seasoning. I had meant to add garlic, but I forgot to get some at the store and then I forgot to add garlic powder. It ended up not needing it.

So, now I have created Dad Meth.



*As I was strolling along the condiment aisle, I saw something that made me go "What the *expletive deleted*ck?" and want to gag. But then I stopped and stared. I tried processing what I was seeing and came to the conclusion that this could possibly be a really great thing. I don't know. I can't figure it out. I must try it, even though it wigs me out a little.
Blue Cheese Mustard. It's blue cheese in fancy mustard. I really just don't know about this. I will report back once I figure out what to put it on.

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MillCreek
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2018, 09:28:38 PM »

I have to drive 45 miles round trip to my nearest Trader Joe's, but one thing it is good for is a variety of good frozen appetizers for parties.
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2018, 04:33:35 AM »

TJ's isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, a grocery store. It's really a boutique store with really decent prices on cheese and some other products. 
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2018, 04:59:41 AM »

TJ's isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, a grocery store. It's really a boutique store with really decent prices on cheese and some other products. 

Beat me to it, I'm not a big fan. Aldi's is a lot more satisfying.
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2018, 05:04:45 AM »

For single folks they have some good frozen foods. Their frozen Manderin orange chicken pieces combined with their vegetable fried rice makes a great meal.

Good prices on wine/beer.

Their meat is actually pretty good. Iĺm surprised you didnĺt find regular Italian sausage at least.

I agree, produce is real weak at Trader Joeĺs.

As mentioned, they have good cheeses. Their house brand ôunexpected cheddarö is really good paired with red wine.

They are a supplemental store not the main go to.

They just opened an Aldis in the same shopping plaza as my TJĺs so Iĺm pretty happy about that.
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2018, 07:00:09 AM »

I have heard a lot about Aldi's, but I don't think they are on the West Coast. Certainly not in the PNW.
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2018, 07:13:38 AM »

Yup - if you categorize TJs as a grocery store, it pretty much sucks. "Boutique" is probably as good a description as anything. When I go there, I'll get stuff like the excellent TJ jams and marmalade, cheese, and some of the hippie produce you can't always get at the grocery store. Then there are finds like their awesome sweet onion and bacon vinaigrette salad dressing, and this time of the year, a decent brand of lebkuchen (German ginger Christmas "cookie-cakes") at a reasonable price.

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bluestarlizzard
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2018, 07:24:48 AM »

TJ's isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, a grocery store. It's really a boutique store with really decent prices on cheese and some other products. 

I was under the impression they were more of a grocery store. Especially given how crowded I hear it is all the time. I did note that the cheese section seemed fairly well filled out, but I didn't need any cheese and doing a cheese binge wasn't worth fighting the crowd in that area.

I did grab some oddball stuff. I was impressed that they carried Walker Shortbread (although that may be seasonal) and some of their frozen food looked good. I did get these microwavable pork dumplings to try. I probably would be inclined to go in there every once in a while if it weren't that, according to most people I've talked to, it's *always* crowded in there and the shopping center is one of those ridiculous new fangled types that is really stupid to navigate.

However, Wegman's has more selection, regular grocery items and ready to eat food. It also tends to be crowded but there is more space to move around and the shopping center is laid out much more logically, so I'll probably stick to that if I want to get fancy food.
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2018, 07:32:11 AM »

I have heard a lot about Aldi's, but I don't think they are on the West Coast. Certainly not in the PNW.

We don't have an Aldi's, either.

We did get a Wegman's about the same time we got the Trader Joe's. Wegmans is the bomb. The only reason I don't go in there regularly is because I can't afford it. Their regular grocery items are very reasonable, but when you start getting into the good stuff and add in impulse buying you can break the bank real fast.  laugh Eric took me on a shopping spree in there for my birthday and I went a little crazy, but so worth it.
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2018, 07:44:44 AM »

Aldi's is my main grocery store, but they are lacking a few items that I have to goto Walmart or HyVee for.  I'll go to TJ's every once in a while, mostly to buy beer and a few goodies like their candied ginger.  I wish we had Fiesta supermarkets up here, like in Houston.  I think we have enough Mexicans to support one.
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2018, 04:43:31 PM »

Aldi's in Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, so I am sure that it is soon for liberalville. Difference between Wegmans and Whole foods for me is that I will shop in WF. Cheaper for the specialty stuff, also the hot bar is cheaper. Trader Joe's is the best grocery store ever, just as long as you don't need anything. I figured out how to shop trader Joe's, I let my mom but all the ginger snaps and the seasonal chocolate star cookies and then I steal them.
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2018, 07:36:35 PM »

TJ Snacks review - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL2kuiI097U

TJ Veggie snacks - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txq8ukUHnuU
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2018, 08:15:47 PM »

Aldi's in Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, so I am sure that it is soon for liberalville. Difference between Wegmans and Whole foods for me is that I will shop in WF. Cheaper for the specialty stuff, also the hot bar is cheaper. Trader Joe's is the best grocery store ever, just as long as you don't need anything. I figured out how to shop trader Joe's, I let my mom but all the ginger snaps and the seasonal chocolate star cookies and then I steal them.

Yuck. Whole Foods stuff is tasteless. I don't know why they even bother with a bakery. The salad bar was decent, I guess. *shrug* I haven't even been in the new location and Wegman's is closer to me anyway. Between Food Lion and Wegman's, my grocery needs are met without having to even go into town.  Tongue
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2018, 07:11:45 PM »

Trader Joe's also has (sometimes) real Ginger Beer. Not Ginger Ale -- Ginger Beer. Aside from that, I can't think of a single reason to go there.

My late wife and I went to an Aldi's once. That was enough. Never again. I couldn't get home and take a shower fast enough after leaving Aldi's.
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2018, 04:21:52 AM »

I really like TJs for some things...

As I said, cheese is the main one. I've gotten real English Stilton cheese for as little as $6 a pound there; most other places it's double to triple that.

Their TJ's brand dijon mustard is also fantastic.

They also used to carry a TJ Hoisin sauce that was monumentally good, but I've not see it the last few times I've been in.

I also like a bunch of their frozen stuff, mainly their Indian foods.
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2018, 04:22:52 AM »

"My late wife and I went to an Aldi's once. That was enough. Never again. I couldn't get home and take a shower fast enough after leaving Aldi's."

You need to explain that a little more.

Just why did you feel the need for a shower?

Dirty store?

The other clientel?

Pee your pants?

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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2018, 04:19:46 PM »

Well, I put the Blue Cheese Mustard on a ham sandwich (real sliced ham, not the sandwich stuff, heated, cheddar cheese and dill pickle on toasted sourdough)

It was basically dijon mustard with less of a bite and maybe a tang of blue cheese.  undecided Tasty enough, but nothing exciting.
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2018, 04:24:05 PM »

I really like TJs for some things...

As I said, cheese is the main one. I've gotten real English Stilton cheese for as little as $6 a pound there; most other places it's double to triple that.

Their TJ's brand dijon mustard is also fantastic.

They also used to carry a TJ Hoisin sauce that was monumentally good, but I've not see it the last few times I've been in.

I also like a bunch of their frozen stuff, mainly their Indian foods.

The pork dumplings were good. I'd recommend those.

If not for the crowds and the stupid shopping center, I could consider stopping in every so often for that kind of stuff, but it's just not worth the hassle.
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2018, 06:55:19 PM »

I've gotten real English Stilton cheese for as little as $6 a pound there;

Do they have Gloucester cheese or even better, Huntsman Cheese, which is a layered cheese of Gloucester and Stilton?

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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2018, 07:05:02 PM »

Do they have Gloucester cheese or even better, Huntsman Cheese, which is a layered cheese of Gloucester and Stilton?

I love huntsman! I actually saw it at Trader Blows a couple of times and got it, but it doesn't seem to be a regular item. I order it a couple of times a year from iGourmet, whenever I put in the big German cheese orders for my dad. I like the red dragon too. The Brits have surprisingly good cheeses.
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« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2018, 07:07:19 PM »

I love huntsman!

Me too, just so expensive.
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« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2018, 10:03:00 PM »

Trader Joe's also has (sometimes) real Ginger Beer. Not Ginger Ale -- Ginger Beer. Aside from that, I can't think of a single reason to go there.

My late wife and I went to an Aldi's once. That was enough. Never again. I couldn't get home and take a shower fast enough after leaving Aldi's.

My wife, the foodie, loves Aldis. She finds good stuff there all the time.

Ginger ale > ginger beer.  Tongue
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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2018, 04:05:50 AM »

Never taken noticed to Gloucester or Huntsman at TJs, but they have had a variety of English and Irish cheeses, so possibly.
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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2018, 05:55:36 AM »

I have only been in a Trader Joes a couple of times. They make a small round sourdough loaf that is good for one meal for the two of us and that is about it. We got our first one about 3-4 years ago and now have two. Both are too far away and in the most congested areas of town so we don't even go anymore. Honestly, I was not too impressed with the place to begin with.

https://www.mashed.com/82631/things-you-should-shouldnt-buy-at-trader-joes/


bob
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« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2018, 08:32:15 AM »

My wife, the foodie, loves Aldis. She finds good stuff there all the time.

Ginger ale > ginger beer.  Tongue

As I rarely drink soda, I'll take the one that makes you slow down and enjoy it. Ginger Beer is far superior to Ginger Ale.
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