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Spunkygal

Trader Joe's

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^^You answered all of my questions, DeLurker!  I especially like the idea of buying small quantities of spices.  I still have a jar of juniper berries I bought at Whole Paycheck during the bronze age for brining turkey.

That plus seafood.  I can see the Bay from my patio, yet my burb has no access to fresh product. Yet.

Wonder if they stock our guilty pleasure - quail?

2 minutes ago, Bastet said:

I don't shop there often, as I have a great independent market nearby for my regular shopping, but I occasionally go to the Sprouts in my area.  I get the turkey breast there every year for Thanksgiving, since they stock natural, organic meats at a good price.  Nice produce section, too.

Thanks Bastet.  Think I'll head on over on the 29th.

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there is absolutely no smell from the seafood (a major peeve of mine)

No smell is actually a good thing.  If you can smell it, it's going bad.

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5 hours ago, Qoass said:

No smell is actually a good thing.  If you can smell it, it's going bad.

I worded that poorly.  There is no smell and that is a good thing, not a "but".

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I love Sprouts! I live near a Farmer's Market. a very nice Ralph's (Kroger), Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Sprouts has become my goto for nearly everything and I'm far from being a health nut or organic snob. Their produce is a steal, their meat and seafood counters are amazing and they'll cut anything behind the counter to any size. 

I buy most of my spices in bulk for a tenth of the price of  Target. I don't find their canned goods to be any more expensive than Ralph's or TJs but their quality is much higher.

I still buy milk, eggs, yogurt and paper products at Target or Ralph's but Sprouts is everything else.

Their policy is double ad Wednesday, they are generous with rainchecks and give 5 cents off if you bring your own bag. Their emails (and maybe their website) have printable coupons and they accept manufacturer coupons if its for something they carry (i usually bring in BOGO avocado coupons).

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^^I'm really excited, Red.  Mr. pig loves food shopping too, so it will be fun to have a new playground.

About Mr. pig - he's very meticulous and good at things I'm not.  Like selecting produce.  If I pick up a head of lettuce that's not perfect, he'll wrinkle his nose, so I let him do it.  I just point and say "lettuce".  Same with anything chilled or at the meat/seafood counter.  It's so cute - even after 27 years.

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The last time I looked at the Sprouts seafood, the tilapia came from Vietnam.  At that time the guide I read about sustainable seafood was very against this type of fish.  I do get some fresh produce from Sprouts but I haven't bought any seafood.

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Their meat counter has thick sliced bacon for $4.99 or $5.99 a pound on a regular basis. Bulk coffee goes on sale for $6.99 /lb pretty frequently. It seems the big sale prices rotate 3-6 weeks.

I get myself in trouble in their bulk candy section. They sell bulk candy, nuts, flour and sugar (multiple types), salt, legumes, oats, rice, so many things. I save so much money buying bulk oats and rice over the pre-packaged things.

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On 12/14/2016 at 1:18 PM, DeLurker said:

We've got one near me.  The store is an odd mix - part TJs and part Whole Foods.  A lot of the stuff is pretty pricey, but the sale prices are pretty good.  Here, the sales run Wednesday to Wednesday so if you shop on Wednesday's you get 2 weeks of sales items.

They've got a small meat and seafood showcase at mine, but there is absolutely no smell from the seafood (a major peeve of mine) and the seafood and meat I have bought have been very good.  A lot of the meat in the showcase is pre-seasoned though.

I like the variety of fruits and veggies they have, and usually end up with a fair amount of good produce at fair prices when you get them on sale.

They have a selection of big spice jars that you can pour just the amount you need into a baggie.  That's handy for me because a lot of time I will want to try a recipe but it requires seasonings I don't normally use and I don't like buying a whole bottle of something so I can try a recipe.

I think you've described Sprouts pretty well. I used to like shopping there. However, I have a major grudge with them because they bought up Sun Harvest and closed the one in my neighborhood because it was too small and less than 2 miles from a bigger newer Sprouts. The Sun Harvest store in my neighborhood was right on two bus lines and it served an apartment and condo complex that had a lot of elderly, blind, and other people with disabilities who liked having a grocery that was across the street from the complex. I wrote Sprouts an email asking them to reconsider. They wrote back to me, but I haven't stepped foot into a Sprouts in years because of that.

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Has anyone tried TJ's frozen risotto in a bag? I was tempted to buy the mushroom risotto yesterday but thought I'd ask here first. Also, thanks to whomever up thread recommended the Camembert and cranberry appetizer. Yum! I also almost got the Mac and cheese bites.....since I didn't, it's just another reason to go back and do more shopping.

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6 hours ago, Spunkygal said:

Has anyone tried TJ's frozen risotto in a bag? I was tempted to buy the mushroom risotto yesterday but thought I'd ask here first. Also, thanks to whomever up thread recommended the Camembert and cranberry appetizer. Yum! I also almost got the Mac and cheese bites.....since I didn't, it's just another reason to go back and do more shopping.

Yes.  They also have frozen asparagus risotto.  Purists ("Hi Gordon Ramsay!") may be offended, but I keep a bag of one or the other onhand all the time and they're fine - and incredibly easy.  Open bag.  Pour in skillet.  Heat.  Stir.  Plate.  Eat.

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I keep some quick go to items in the freezer, too.

The Trader Joe's in Santa Fe NM is the best I have ever visited. HUGE!  It has a large selection of liquor, too. The 3 I have used previously only had beer and wine.  

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I've had the butternut risotto which was fine - I think I added Parmesan.

I looked for the bacon wrapped scallops but couldn't find them. Instead I got bacon-wrapped Gorgonzola stuffed dates. Also, the little chocolate mousse Christmas tree cakes from the bakery area are so good! Chocolatey but not too sweet. 

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2 hours ago, MargeGunderson said:

I've had the butternut risotto which was fine - I think I added Parmesan.

I looked for the bacon wrapped scallops but couldn't find them. Instead I got bacon-wrapped Gorgonzola stuffed dates. Also, the little chocolate mousse Christmas tree cakes from the bakery area are so good! Chocolatey but not too sweet. 

Ooh Ooh Ooh!  Mr. pig and I became addicted to bacon wrapped dates stuff with bleu cheese at our local winery.  Seems like it would be easy to make, but I'm a lazy cow.  I'll keep an eye out.  I loves me some Gorgonzola.  (I'm in CA - where is your TJs?)

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Whoa! Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with gorgonzola. Yum.

You can buy real bacon bits.  Just put them inside the date under the cheese.  No cooking but same taste combo. I might do that short cut myself if I don't see them there tomorrow. 

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9 hours ago, spiderpig said:

Ooh Ooh Ooh!  Mr. pig and I became addicted to bacon wrapped dates stuff with bleu cheese at our local winery.  Seems like it would be easy to make, but I'm a lazy cow.  I'll keep an eye out.  I loves me some Gorgonzola.  (I'm in CA - where is your TJs?)

Mine is in MA! I suspect they are seasonal as I hadn't seen them before (and you know I always check out the appetizers in case there's something new).

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16 minutes ago, MargeGunderson said:

Mine is in MA! I suspect they are seasonal as I hadn't seen them before (and you know I always check out the appetizers in case there's something new).

I really want to spank Jose for this "seasonal" stuff that I want all the time.  I will keep an eye out.

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1 hour ago, MargeGunderson said:

Mine is in MA! I suspect they are seasonal as I hadn't seen them before (and you know I always check out the appetizers in case there's something new).

Where in MA? Hadley by chance?

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On 12/21/2016 at 8:50 PM, wings707 said:

Just watched trailer for Bad Santa, I will watch that, too. Plenty of time for that and Going Clear.

Hee...totally bad taste and totally hysterical.  I love Billy Bob.  And the kid they cast is perfect.

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8 minutes ago, spiderpig said:

Hee...totally bad taste and totally hysterical.  I love Billy Bob.  And the kid they cast is perfect.

I love him, too. I had heard of the title and dismissed it as just another xmas movie. I didn't know he was in it. That would have been a clue!  I saw the preview on youtube. 

Edited by wings707
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Bought a couple of new (for me) TJ items today and both get a thumbs up. The fleur de sel caramel sauce is delish. I have wanted to try it for a while to drizzle on some baked apple cookie bars and yum! The actual cookie bar recipe tells how to make your own sauce but I decided to go the lazy route. This sauce will be a staple in my fridge. Also, the raisin Rosemary crisps are very good. I asked the guy who checked me out about them but he had never tried them. They were good on their own as I waited for my soup to heat up, and can imagine them paired with cheese. 

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Update on the opening of the local Sprouts:

The parking lot was jammed and the gridlock spilled out into the road, which accesses a major freeway.  We gave it the old college try, but never found a spot and finally found an escape route out the back of the lot and went up the road to TJs.

This was around noon on a Wednesday.

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My latest new try which I give two thumbs up: TJ's champagne pear vinaigrette with Gorgonzola dressing. There are 50 calories in 2 T but it is so flavorful I didn't use 2 T. 

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On 12/5/2016 at 8:37 PM, annzeepark914 said:

I like their Indian simmering sauces.  The masala is great with sauted chicken breasts cut up.  And they sell frozen naan that is quite good.  So if you like Indian food you can do it yourself easily.

TJ's was the first place I saw Indian simmer sauces.  I like the masala with chicken over rice, and I add slivered almonds and raisins.  They had a green coconut curry one that I liked a lot, but I think they discontinued it.  (It wasn't hot, but red pepper flakes helped that situation.)  I've since discovered simmer sauces by Patak and some English company I can't remember the name of--they're all over the place.  And a god-send.

Here's a real TJ's find:  shelf-stable whipped cream.  I had some that was well past its expiration date and it came out of the carton kind of clumpy and weird, and I actually cut open the carton to scrape it off the sides, but it whipped up even better than when it's not clumpy and it tasted fine.  Maybe age turned it from whipping cream to heavy whipping cream--I don't know.  But now I'm not scared to keep it past its prime.

I always add sugar when I whip cream, so the taste from being ultra pasteurized isn't a factor.  And it's 8 ounces, so there's less for me to eat on the spoon after I use the 1/2 cup of whipped cream my recipe calls for.  I'll eat whatever I whip, and a pint really is a lot. 

And it's cheap.

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On 12/3/2016 at 11:45 PM, spiderpig said:

Their toothpaste does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which aggravates canker sores. (Try finding it elsewhere. Even Tom's of Maine includes sls.)

FYI, Walgreens makes a toothpaste that does not have SLS in it.  You have to be careful because they have two versions, and one of them has SLS and the other doesn't.  Grrr.  The one I have is Sensitive Dura-namel Fluoride Toothpaste.  I think the version with SLS says "whitening" on it, but check the ingredients.

Also, some Sensodyne ones don't have SLS.  But some do.  Grrrrr.

I travel all the time and have visited TJ's locations all over the place and marvel at the differences in the lines.  In downtown Philadelphia, they have one line that feeds into all the registers, and it snaked around two sides of the perimeter of the store, even during work hours.  In Austin, I could walk right up to register.

On the day before Christmas this year, I was in Santa Fe and spotted a TJ's and decided to pop in to replenish my supply of whipping cream.  Now that was a mistake; once I got a look at the checkout lines, I ran for my life.

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I'm most familiar with the locations in NYC, and resign myself to people watching while I wait in the seemingly endless lines (I call myself an anthropologist, and people watching is my trip to the human zoo).  Imagine my shock when I went to a Manhattan location on December 24 and there were 3 people in line! 

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1 hour ago, Quof said:

I'm most familiar with the locations in NYC, and resign myself to people watching while I wait in the seemingly endless lines (I call myself an anthropologist, and people watching is my trip to the human zoo).  Imagine my shock when I went to a Manhattan location on December 24 and there were 3 people in line! 

I'm trying to figure out if this was just an amazing bit of timing or if it makes sense.

Not a creature was stirring, not even the million Manhattan residents.  The city does get kind of dead on holidays. I was there a couple times on July 4th weekend and it was like a ghost town. Lots of residents pack up and go elsewhere. Maybe that's what happened that day.

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Nah, Christmas Eve in Manhattan is a (human) zoo.  I like to go to Macys just before closing to watch the chaos.  

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On 1/16/2017 at 2:41 PM, Quof said:

Nah, Christmas Eve in Manhattan is a (human) zoo.  I like to go to Macys just before closing to watch the chaos.  

Back when people had to mail in their income tax returns, I had a friend whose husband used to wait until the evening of April 15 to go to the downtown post office to mail his.  I said he was crazy, and she said, "He enjoys the pageantry."

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People magazine just Tweeted this list of their customers' most popular products at Trader Joe's.

I told you the dark chocolate peanut butter cups were the bomb.   No one should ever doubt my knowledge of sweet treats. 

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So Starbucks has a cookie butter bar. It's made with Speculoos cookies. Has anyone tried it? Is the cookie butter flavor the same as you get in the jar?

I still haven't made the long trek to the nearest TJs, so a single-serving chance to taste cookie butter is much more tempting than buying a jar of Biscoff spread, which was my backup plan.

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So you're the person who eats the food sold at Starbucks.   I find them really quite pushy in trying to sell their factory made, flash frozen baked goods.   I respond "If you can tell me when and where that cookie was baked, I'll buy it."  Never happens. 

You should just buy the jar of Biscoff. I promise it will taste better than whatever the Starbucks factory has done with it.  You won't regret it.

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That cookie butter has become so popular that my regular grocery store (Food Lion) has their own generic brand that's just as good as the Biscoff spread, so I'm guessing whatever Starbucks makes is the same, and yes at least Food Lion/Biscoff's spreads just taste like the Speculoos cookies. Actually while I do love it that stuff is kinda gross... it's literally just the crushed up cookies mixed with some sugar, soy flour and oil. Yet it's yummy so I try not to think about it. 

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I must be the only warped soul that really did not like Speculoos Cookie Butter. And I was so excited to try it! I got it as a birthday present from a friend about three or so years ago - and was deeply disappointed.

Oh well, more for the rest of you.  :-)

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I am with you not a fan, I find it way too sweet. My mom put some in oue stocking this year so we have two jars sitting in the pantry.

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This morning my Trader Joe's was giving away their leftover holiday stock for free. I got a box of chocolate shortbread cookies, a box of milk chocolate bars in different interesting flavors, and a box of toffee brittle with several kinds of nuts and seeds. I had a couple of the cookies this afternoon and they were very good, cocoa-y but not too sweet. Getting there early pays off!

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11 hours ago, MargeGunderson said:

This morning my Trader Joe's was giving away their leftover holiday stock for free. I got a box of chocolate shortbread cookies, a box of milk chocolate bars in different interesting flavors, and a box of toffee brittle with several kinds of nuts and seeds. I had a couple of the cookies this afternoon and they were very good, cocoa-y but not too sweet. Getting there early pays off!

So jealous!

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20 hours ago, MargeGunderson said:

This morning my Trader Joe's was giving away their leftover holiday stock for free. I got a box of chocolate shortbread cookies, a box of milk chocolate bars in different interesting flavors, and a box of toffee brittle with several kinds of nuts and seeds. I had a couple of the cookies this afternoon and they were very good, cocoa-y but not too sweet. Getting there early pays off!

Wow! I've never heard of a store giving away food. I've seen clearance with the pricing half price but free, no way. I wish we had a Trader Joe's around here, not just because of the post but reading everything here it sounds like a very nice shopping experience.

Edited by rcc

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My next trip to TJs will be just before Easter. They don't have as many Easter treats as they do for Christmas, but I'm still eagerly anticipating. 

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I would think people who depend on food banks might find it a little offensive to be given what are clearly Christmas cast-offs in February. 

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I've rarely seen marked down for clearance at Trader Joe's - they've got a long history of donating to food banks in the communities they are located in.

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