I’ve been listening to everyone rave about Trader Joe’s over the past few years but never quite understood the hype until one opened in Austin in September. I went on opening day like an idiot and walked out with a reusable TJ’s grocery bag (Austin banned plastic bags earlier this year) full of Syrah-soaked cheese, Chili-Lime Chicken Burgers, and the wildly sought after Speculoos Cookie Butter. That stuff is equal parts delicious and dangerous. If you’re confident in your willpower, purchasing cookie butter should be no problem. But if you’re not? Plan on sneaking a spoonful (or 12) every time you’re within 5 feet of it.
I made another trip last week and here’s what I picked up:
Basil only $1.99 – and it’s a plant! Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup perfect with grilled cheese;
Fresh Ciabatta Bread; Charles Shaw “Two-Buck Chuck” Cabernet; Cranberry Apple Butter
Frozen Fire-Roasted Veggies; Chile-Lime Chicken Burgers buy these – SO GOOD! I like them with pepper jack cheese + avocado (or guac); Chicken Fried Rice; Chicken & Vegetable Dumplings; Prosciutto Perline Pasta toss with arugula + cherry tomatoes, drizzle with good quality EVOO + pesto
Burrata ohmygod BURRATA. Make your caprese salads with this and you’ll never go back to regular mozzarella; Havarti Cheese with Dill pretty underwhelming, in my opinion;
Chocolate Cheddar Cheese WEIRD. Definitely wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. After you get over the fact there’s chocolate in your cheese, it’s pretty damn good.
Build Your Own 6-Pack I mean, it’s hard to go wrong here. You can pick up a variety of regulars or be adventurous with some new brews. I opted for a mix of the two.
A few other unpictured favorites are the pumpkin waffles, fresh garlic & herb pizza dough, red pepper jelly (awesome on biscuits or coconut shrimp), and spinach tortellini. Much to my wallet’s dismay, I haven’t been disappointed with a single Trader Joe’s item yet.
Do you have a Trader Joe’s near you? What are your favorite items?