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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Trader Joe's Hall of Fame

What's the most anticipated store opening in New York City? Based on the blogs I'm reading (Gawker, Gothamist, etc.) I'd have to say Trader Joe's.

What makes Trader Joe's so special? It's a store with personality, quirky and slightly goofy, but endearing to most just the same. It's not best as a one-stop shop grocery store, but there are lots of great products lurking. For the quality of the products they carry (not to mention the money-back satisfaction guarantee) their prices aren't just competitive, they are often cheaper than you can find anywhere else (check out the prices on Valrhona chocolate for example).

I've been a Trader Joe's shopper for years but it wasn't until the third San Francisco store opened just a stone's throw from my house, that I started shopping there almost weekly.

Everyone's got their favorite picks at Trader Joe's. Here are my Top 10:

1. Plugra Butter
2. Chicken Sicilian Sausage with Tomatoes and Romano Cheese
3. Wasabi Mayonnaise
4. Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes (canned)
5. Chocovic Ocumare chocolate bars
6. Canned Whole Kernel Corn
7. Toasted Sesame and Ginger Potato Chips
8. Limeade (seasonal I think)
9. Trader Giotto's Pasta (imported from Italy, handcrafted)
10. Fresh Pizza Dough

Honorable mentions to Canned Organic Beans and Canned Artichoke Hearts

I'm skipping wine, because the prices and selection change frequently but this is really where Trader Joe's built it's reputation. I'm also skipping fresh seasonal produce, but I've already sung the praises of Fiesole artichokes and white asparagus. They also have wonderful deals on flowers like daffodils and irises.

So for those unfamiliar with the "Trader Joe's phenomenon" just how fanatical are Trader Joe's shoppers?

There is a blog that is devoted to Trader Joe's
a fan site
a discussion group
a song about Trader Joe's
and... a group for singles who shop at Trader Joe's and are "sick of accidentally checking out attached people while shopping for groceries." (I swear I'm not making this up)

So what are YOUR favorites at Trader Joe's?

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