Help me compile my Trader Joe's shopping list!
April 29, 2010 1:12 PM   Subscribe

I'll be making a one-time pilgrimage to a Trader Joe's this weekend. What good, cheap stuff should I buy?

The primary purpose for the visit is to stock up on BPA-free tomato products, but I'd love it if I could make some additional scores at the same time, and since I won't have much time to browse, I'm trying to do some strategizing beforehand. The store is on the East Coast, if that matters.

Some great suggestions previously, but I'm looking less for snacks and pre-prepared meals, and more for raw materials, sauces, produce, meats, or other family food staples. No food restrictions at all, and we tend to eat a pretty standard American diet with some Indian and Asian thrown in. Any and all suggestions are welcome, particularly for stuff that's cheap at Trader Joe's but not elsewhere. What should I not leave TJs without?
posted by Bardolph to Shopping (89 answers total) 102 users marked this as a favorite
Sesame honey cashews praise the lord.
posted by avianism at 1:13 PM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]

Genova Tonno (excellent tuna fish in olive oil)
Balsamic vinegar (really sweet, very nice for the price)
posted by Dragonness at 1:14 PM on April 29, 2010

posted by oinopaponton at 1:16 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

These three Trader Joe's ingredients make a great meal:

Brown rice
Frozen pre-grilled chicken
Curry sauce

Their frozen steel-cut oatmeal is great.
posted by grouse at 1:16 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

tomato basil hummus
trader joes maple syrup
olive oil & balsamic vinegar
any of their pastas
sundried tomatoes
posted by raw sugar at 1:17 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Punjab Choley
posted by hworth at 1:17 PM on April 29, 2010

They have the cheapest almonds in my area, and a very good selection of nut butters without sugar or oils added. I also pick up as much of their greek yogurt as possible, since it's $1.99 for 16 ounces (cheaper than chobani). Their frozen fish selection and organic frozen fruit section is also priced very well, but this could probably be a regional thing too. And I tend to pick up their fair trade chocolate, which is around $2 per bar and cheaper than the green & black's at my supermarket.
posted by smalls at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

If you bake, they have a great price on real vanilla extract.
posted by Knowyournuts at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

The tiny peanut butter cups.
And just get two containers, because as soon as you open the first it will be gone in minutes.
posted by 8dot3 at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]

They've had an amazing pesto sauce lately. Really freaking delicious. I want to have 10 jars of that on hand at all times.
posted by zizzle at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2010

If you love peaches, their peach juice is awesome.
posted by puritycontrol at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2010

Their Valencia peanut butter (all natural). I like the chunky/salted.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 1:20 PM on April 29, 2010

Dried montmorency cherries
Chocolate-covered pretzels
Belgian waffle cookies
Organic peanut butter
Grapeseed oil
Tinned smoked trout, sardines, and smoked herring
Next to Godliness all-purpose cleanser
posted by HotToddy at 1:21 PM on April 29, 2010

masala burgers
garlic naan
posted by something something at 1:22 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Double Ginger Snaps. Dunk them in your morning coffee - heaven!
posted by amanda at 1:23 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Toasted sesame oil
olive oil
posted by cestmoi15 at 1:23 PM on April 29, 2010

I second the curry sauce - the green curry simmer sauce is divine, and so easy to use!
posted by sarahsynonymous at 1:23 PM on April 29, 2010

Their dried is very good and inexpensive, too. We go through a lot of it, mostly the dried cherries, blueberries, peaches and raisins. They're all really tasty on salads with a bit of goat cheese and some balsamic vinaigrette.
posted by skwm at 1:25 PM on April 29, 2010

Seconding greek yogurt.
posted by Zophi at 1:25 PM on April 29, 2010

I don't know what it's actually called, but *I* call it Banana Roadkill and it's delicious...a flat package of smooshed, dried, caramelized-like bananas. Yum.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:25 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Pretty good, very inexpensive wine, if the one you're going to has a liquor store.
posted by inmediasres at 1:25 PM on April 29, 2010

Their frozen fruit selection is amazing and cheap. Great for smoothies.
posted by kmavap at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2010

also hummus, the store brand
posted by mjcon at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Pine nuts (Pignolias at TJ's) are a very good price there. We always get basil there ($1.99 a pound) and make our own pesto.

The 2-year-old Canadian cheddar is also very tasty.
posted by vickyverky at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2010

I suspect by the end of this thread, we will have listed the entire contents of a typical Trader Joes store.
posted by schmod at 1:28 PM on April 29, 2010 [25 favorites]

If you're looking for BPA-free tomato products at Trader Joe's (or elsewhere), make sure you get the stuff in aseptic packaging. Their canned tomato products are made by Muir Glen, and are not actually BPA-free (read down to the bottom).
posted by alms at 1:31 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, the hand-made flour tortillas. And some cheap wine, if the store has it (I love the $4 La Granga Tempranillo).
posted by oinopaponton at 1:31 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Tempting Trail Mix
Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks
Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Covered Pretzels
posted by peep at 1:32 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

All fruit spreads, such as raspberry, strawberry and blueberry.

Cheap avocados.

Wine. . if you are into that. . .skip the Charles Shaw and Bronco Wines in general, but some NZ Savignon Blanc would be reasonable.

Olive Oil

Fresh basil, very cheap.

Frozen tamales. (OK outside of your parameter but really good to stick in the freezer.)
posted by Danf at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2010

OK ignore me and my snack obession.
posted by peep at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2010

- Pumpkin pancake mix.
- Their almond butter is the cheapest anywhere and so good.
- Tomato chutney.
- Anything dipped in chocolate (there is a vast variety).
- The simmer sauces.
- The chocolate-dipped hazelnut butter cookies (these are a new item)
- They should still have pumpkin butter out; mine does. At least ask.
- They have a new shower gel which I believe is effervescent.
- Cold cuts and all cheeses are fabulous.
- Spiced Rooibos Ruby Red Chai
- Almond windmill cookies
- Pistachio white chocolate cookies. I have not had these but do gaze longingly. (They come in a tub, and I just can't handle it.)
- Whey protein powder. (I live on this, their salad stock, and the almond butter.)
- Great values on kefir, Greek yogurt, and organic milk.
Unfortunately this is not a good time for seasonal stuff like peppermint Joe-Joes or their divine Irish soda bread. However, I am very confident that those above-referenced cookies will make up for that.
posted by jgirl at 1:35 PM on April 29, 2010

The hummus is good, and people have remarked on their awesome dried fruit selection (I do like the smashed, dried bananas. The chili-covered dried mango is also tasty, and I'm currently in love with the "Ends and Pieces" bag of leftovers from their fruit leathers -- same stuff, just cheaper).

They have some good tapenades/sauces/etc. in the sauce isle and a good selection of other condiments. I don't have specific recommendations, but I've been happy with all I've tried (but their standard Dijon mustard is hot -- tasty, but hot. Don't make the mistake I did and slather it unknowingly onto a sandwich before tasting it).

They also have great prices on coffee and all the ones I've tried have been great (also good deals on fair trade/organic/shade grown coffee, if that's your thing).
posted by darksong at 1:36 PM on April 29, 2010

Seconding greek yoghurt.

I loved their canned trout but it has doubled in price around here.

Wine, obviously.

Their Tom's of Maine toothpaste is relatively cheap.

I find the produce overpriced and overpackaged so avoid it completely. Ditto most of the meat except the frozen fish. Their frozen pizza is also good.

Completely disagreeing with stoneweaver, I suppose some of their sauces could be good but the ones I've tried have ranged from not-anything-special to horrible.

If you can find any of the soy sauce flavoured rice crackers, pick up several bags. They have to be the most addictive thing at TJs (sorry, they are a snack food but they're so so good).
posted by hydrobatidae at 1:36 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

chili-spiced mango. nom nom nom.
posted by 256 at 1:37 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I always dug their cheapish fair-trade coffee.
posted by lauranesson at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2010

peanut butter filled chocolate covered pretzels. yes.
mini peanut butter cups.
maple cookies.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2010

The frozen garlic naan is great and makes the best pizzas.
I used to buy the peppermint soap, but I can't find it anymore.
The frozen lava cake is awesome
Meatless meatballs are tasty
I can't get the sweet potato chips anymore, cause I can eat the entire bag in a sitting.
posted by wrnealis at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2010

Candied Ginger
Chile Spiced Mango
nthing the Greek Yogurt
posted by exhilaration at 1:39 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Their Tom's of Maine toothpaste is relatively cheap.

Their own toothpaste is even cheaper. They discontinued the peppermint, and just returned it recently after an outcry.

Also, the cilantro hummus at the bottom of the three-layer hummus is great. I also love the white bean and basil hummus.

Have you considered renting a small trailer? Really.
posted by jgirl at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2010

And a few of my own recommendations:

The Cheese, Hummus, Olive Oil, and Balsamic Vinegar are all very good, and the cheapest you'll find outside of Costco.

The $1 Pizza dough is nice (and a great place to put aforementioned cheese).

The frozen fish selection is a hidden gem. It's dirt-cheap, and usually very high-quality, considering that most of what you buy at the supermarket is already 'previously-frozen.' Unless you can afford to buy your fish at Whole Foods, or off of the back of a boat, this is by far the best place to buy fish.

Chocolate cat cookies.

They have a variety of spring rolls and other hors d'oeuvres that are tasty to snack on. Also, the Shrimp Fried Rice makes a tasty and super-easy dinner.

The $3 Charles Shaw wine is pretty good for a $3 bottle of wine, and the Bohemian Lager is excellent.
posted by schmod at 1:41 PM on April 29, 2010

I was going to put off going today, but I do not know if I can now!
posted by jgirl at 1:41 PM on April 29, 2010

Oh! The dark Belgian chocolate pudding is incredible!!!
posted by jgirl at 1:43 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Plantain Chips, oh good god, plantain chips. And maybe a couple extra bags of plantain chips. I really don't remember how cheap they are because we have my parents ship them from CA to TX but they are the most delicious things in the world.
posted by magnetsphere at 1:43 PM on April 29, 2010

"I don't know what it's actually called, but *I* call it Banana Roadkill and it's delicious...a flat package of smooshed, dried, caramelized-like bananas. Yum."

YES. I think they call it Just Bananas. It really is delicious, and it's so gross-looking that it sort of freaks people out when I bring it to snack on at work.

Other good stuff:
- mango/passionfruit juice blend (called "Heart of Darkness")
- tom yum cashews
- tiramisu torte (in the frozen foods aisle)
- fresh basil
- sesame crepes (they're with the crackers, but they're basically like gluten-free pancakes made of peanut butter and sesame seeds)
posted by arianell at 1:45 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Their butter is perfectly good and very very cheap, and if you have room to buy a lot and freeze some for later I'd suggest doing so.

Nthing the Green Curry Simmer Sauce.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:54 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

The mediterranean hummus..."just bananas"/banana roadkill...cheapest rice milk (if you're into that)...the multi-colored (veggie?) flax corn chips...the black bean salsa...plain fozen naan (I like garlic, but for whatever reason, I like the plain naan better than the garlic flavor) (in a plactic tub near cookies)...
posted by jilliank at 1:59 PM on April 29, 2010

Out here in the west we have jarred Gigantes, which are awesome. Gigantes are giant white navy beans in a rich tomato sauce. The Smoked Trout Fillets (canned) are also worth hoarding. Baked Jalepeno Cheese Crunchies are another food that haunts my dreams.

My dreams are rather boring, I admit.
posted by chairface at 2:21 PM on April 29, 2010

Freeze-dried mangoes, strawberries, blueberries - not the leathery kind, these are actually freeze-dried, very crunchy and airy

Garlic naan & roasted garlic hummus

Whole wheat pasta & organic basil marinara

Frozen diner-style mac & cheese

Fresh pizza dough & the fresh or jarred sauce

Mango-chicken sausage

Any of the house-brand cookies and candies that strike your fancy; Nth-ing the mini peanut butter cups - I keep the container in the freezer and YUM.

Fruit floes - frozen juice bars; my kids love love love these


Organic corn-chip dippers - like the most amazing Fritos you've ever had

Jarred lemon curd

Greek yogurt and the fruit-and-cream style yogurts that come in a four or six pack

Inside-out Carrot Cake Cookies - if they have them, in the fresh pie/cake/cookie section.

That's just off the top of my head, because I can't find my last shopping list ... I shop there at least once a week. Have fun!
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 2:23 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cherry granola cookies
Both the fresh and frozen Naan
Chili Spiced Mango (Dried)
Soy chorizo (If you're into veg meat substitutes...)
Olympia pizza
Tikka Sauce

Non Food:
Popup sponges
Lavender Dryer "Sheets"
posted by pghjezebel at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2010

This is definitely a snack, but I can't resist - the "everything" bite size crackers are like tiny crunchy everything bagels. They are well worth the less than $2.

I don't tend to buy a lot of ingredients there - the selection near me is not so great. The broccoli slaw is excellent, as is their enchilada sauce. I have also done well with their pasta sauces.

Their vitamins are priced well, but I can't vouch for their quality.
posted by mrs. taters at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2010

I think the $2 (or $3 depending on where you are) wine is virtually undrinkable...the Shiraz is the best of the lot. You can however find some decent bottles in the $5-$10 range.

The Maple Syrup can be a good deal.

You are unfortunately going in the wrong season for Mrs. mmascolino's favorite: Pumpkin Butter.
posted by mmascolino at 2:45 PM on April 29, 2010

If you're looking for raw materials, I like their rice mixes, esp the "harvest grains" one that has israeli couscous & red millet and some other stuff. Cooks in 10 minutes, very tasty, good side/base for indian or funky asian.
The tomato sauces are nothing special, but they're pretty cheap for decent quality.
Pop up sponges are great.
posted by mdn at 2:47 PM on April 29, 2010

Charles Shaw Shiraz. Nothing that cheap should be so good.
posted by amicamentis at 2:54 PM on April 29, 2010

DON'T BUY PINE NUTS AT TRADER JOE'S! My wife and I ate some of theirs over a week ago and our sense of taste hasn't returned to normal yet (most foods have a bitter aftertaste). This is an unexplained phenomenon that happens with some pine nuts imported from asia, and the Trader Joe's ones are notorious for this.
posted by Emanuel at 3:06 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


(When I lived in Milwaukee I made a 2 hour pilgrimage to the closest TJs. I spent like $300, no joke.)
posted by grapesaresour at 3:14 PM on April 29, 2010

The vegetable gyoza are so delicious, though apparently they don't carry them in every store; I had to beseech my store for weeks and weeks and now we occasionally have some.

They do always have the TJ's gyoza dipping sauce, though, and oh my god I'm pretty much already drooling. Good for sushi, dumplings, noodles, probably meat (I don't eat it). So yummy.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 3:18 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

I can't believe that nobody's suggested the Latin Black Bean soup! It's my favorite food there and makes an excellent easy-supper base!
posted by Aleen at 3:34 PM on April 29, 2010

Unpasteurized fresh squeezed orange juice. It's like it came right out of your backyard - nothing like the pasteurized junk they sell in the normal market.
posted by cecic at 3:42 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nuts and dried fruit for cheap.
The cafe type yogurt cups -- there's mocha, chocolate and if you are lucky, green tea.
Whole wheat pasta.
Low fat brie (!)
Olive and canola oils
Triple ginger snaps, which are the only packaged cookies worth eating, anywhere.
Seconding the handmade tortillas
posted by SandiBeech at 3:47 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Pita Crackers
posted by tristeza at 3:56 PM on April 29, 2010

-Ditto pita crackers—best with the edamame hummus. Second favorite is the three-layer hummus.
-If you can bring frozen stuff home quickly: the orange chicken in a bag, white or brown rice in a box, big shrimp, garlic naan, mini pizzas, spanakopita, those cheese-and-caramelized-onion pastry puffs, steak-and-bean burritos, the tilapia, the tamales...
-The dark-chocolate-pistachio toffee
-The dark-chocolate or milk-chocolate mini peanut butter cups
-The pasta
-The freeze-dried banana slices
-A gigantic slab of cheap chocolate
-Olive oil—so cheap, so good
-A tub of grated Argentinean parmesan
-The ginger snaps, definitely
-I like the taste of the homemade tortillas, but they stick together terribly from the get-go.
-Sweet red bell peppers
-Sweet chicken sausage (the blue package)
-Chicken meatballs! So good!
-The gyoza dipping sauce is definitely good
-The Charles Shaw Shiraz is good; better is the Marqués de Cáceres Rioja
-Bell's beer
-The fresh wraps—they're just about all good
-The sweet potato chips!
-The tubs of tofu
-the spiral-sliced half hams (when available)
-The aged Mimolette cheese
-The milk-chocolate-covered mini peanut-butter crackers
-dark-chocolate-covered peppermint Joe-Joe's (in season)
-the sea-salt dark-chocolate caramels (in season)
-the berry juice blends

-the toothbrushes
-the Desert Essence tea-tree oil face wash
posted by limeonaire at 4:43 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Grade B maple syrup!
posted by Daily Alice at 5:06 PM on April 29, 2010

The freeze-dried banana slices

Correction: I meant the vacuum-fried ones.
posted by limeonaire at 5:46 PM on April 29, 2010

Frozen naan - all flavors. Spicy black bean dip. Two variants of the same (I think) base they use for the greek yogurt: tatziki and raita. And, yes, the hummus; all others disappoint.
posted by MattD at 6:17 PM on April 29, 2010

Jaipur Vegetables
Pita Puffs
2% Greek-style yogurt
Pecan Crusted Rainbow Trout (I only ever saw this in the Santa Fe TJ's)
posted by aloiv2 at 6:25 PM on April 29, 2010

They have really cheap saffron in a cute little corked jar for like $3, vs $14 in my grocery store.

That's what I ask people to bring me when they go; my own little pan-pacific spice trade.
posted by krippledkonscious at 6:26 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Try the Next to Godliness cleaner. It smells so good I am tempted to drive 100 miles to restock.
There's also a grass fed cheddar from New Zealand and an English cheese with carmelized onions that are both awesome. Definitely pick up the chicken sausage with little bits of apple in it. The hummus is cheap but not exceptional. Be careful if you buy it to get the one with tahini if you like tahini as I do. The soups in septic packs are good. I especially like the vegetable beef with barely. They have good deals on chocolate and the beer is pretty good too. I know it is a snack but the chocolate covered dunkin sticks are really good.
posted by Tashtego at 6:35 PM on April 29, 2010


I honestly wouldn't get them if you don't have regular access to Trader Joe's though - they're that addictive.
posted by Space Kitty at 6:53 PM on April 29, 2010

Most of their stuff is really excellent, it's probably easier to list things to be avoided:

Triple ginger cookies, if you are sensitive to ginger - nearly inedible.
Olive oil - cheap but not good. I haven't tried all of them but out of 3-4 I tried only sicilian is not bad, their only non-virgin olive oil is nasty-tasting. I use olive oil on salads without dressing - if it's a bit off, it's very noticeable.
Pistachios - sometimes really great, in fact one of my favorite foods in TJs, but at other times really terrible. I get the unsalted kind, both shelled and with shells.
Spiced pecans - couldn't eat them, but then again I just don't like overly strong spices.
Brazil nuts - generally ok but about one nut in 20 is really terrible, and it's impossible to tell which one will be bad.
Freeze dried fruit - I guess people seem to like them but to me they all have weird off-taste.

These are on the other hand really great:
Anise toothpaste (best toothpaste ever although odd at first), lemon verdana soap, citrus body wash, whole wheat tandoori naan bread (just put butter on it), pretty much all breads are good, butter croissants, kerrygold unsalted butter (great taste and keeps forever), organic sour cream, greek yogurt, jasmine tea in triangular teabags (very good for a supermarket although for great teas see places like or houde tea website), pumpkin butter is really great for one thing: on white bread with plain yogurt; three types of cookies are the absolute best: almond windmills, walnut cookies and german soft large cookies with firm glazed skin; if you like dark chocolate, pomegranate seeds seem to have a really good chocolate covering, blueberries are also nice. Plain milk chocolate is decent, and ritter sport with hazelnuts is nice. Sunflower seed and almond butters are great, lemon curd is very nice, belgian chocolate covered cookies are not bad at all.

In produce, artisan lettuce and heirloom tomatoes, organic romaine, avocadoes, etc are very good; although we don't have a farmers market nearby so I don't really have a choice but to get everything at TJ. Sure beats other crappy supermarkets we have.
posted by rainy at 7:14 PM on April 29, 2010

Doh forgot: flattened bananas are awesome (and ridiculously cheap and store forever), the more expensive kind of figs are great, and dry-fried banana chips are excellent.
posted by rainy at 7:17 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Coconut milk is a great deal at $.99/can!

nthing Greek yogurt. Add some honey, berries, and enjoy.
posted by casualinference at 7:40 PM on April 29, 2010

frozen garlic cubes (dorot brand stuff) it's like flavor bombs.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 8:00 PM on April 29, 2010

Also, the cilantro hummus at the bottom of the three-layer hummus is great.

jgirl, that is the only layer that I *don't* like! Heh.

I don't buy many ingredients from Trader Joe's - I did find a few baking spices for almost nothing that I bought for a project but didn't actually bake with.

I do buy the Pacific vanilla almond milk (more than a dollar cheaper than anywhere else!) by the pallet because my kid really likes it. And TJ's brand cereal. And the chicken tamales. And the jugs full of tea with lemonade. And the packages of sliced Jarlsberg (how do they sell it so much cheaper than anywhere else?!) etc.
posted by pinky at 8:12 PM on April 29, 2010

I've yet to find any food that isn't improved by their Peach Salsa. I like the ginger granola, too, and keep my office desk stocked with dried Montmorency cherries, chili spiced mango, and dried white peaches.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 8:20 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Their Peach Sauce is awesome, too.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:15 PM on April 29, 2010

Oh, I need to second the cheap chocolate. It is the Pound Plus milk chocolate, and is one of the best. Really. LA Times did a kitchen test a few years afo and it beat out everyone else.
Excellent for melting and dipping, or for eating straight
posted by SLC Mom at 9:17 PM on April 29, 2010

When I make the two hour drive to the nearest Trader Joe's I always come back with a cooler full of their frozen orange chicken. The breading is just right and the orange sauce is perfect. I love it more than any I've ever had at any Chinese take-out.

And whoever mentioned those tiny peanut butter cups is spot on. Totally addictive.
posted by MsMolly at 10:06 PM on April 29, 2010

Mirepoix, mirepoix, mirepoix. This is finely chopped celery, onions, and carrots, the base of so many soups and stews. Mirepoix saves a ton of time. You can find it near the fresh herbs. It's in a clear, almost quart-sized container in green (celery), white (onions), and orange (carrot) layers. I live in fear that TJ is going to capriciously remove this and I'll have to go back to buying celery and carrots and not use them up.

nthing frozen garlic cubes when you're out of real garlic or the cloves are dried out.

Great black bean soup to make for lunch:

2 cans rinsed TJ black beans
1 container of fresh TJ Roasted Corn Salsa.
Add a little veggie or chicken broth powder/cube and a cup or less of water.
Heat up.

OMG--so yummy. (If you want it less chunky, use an immersion blender and pulse it a couple of times. I usually don't bother.) No need to use mirepoix for this since the salsa is chock full of onions already.
posted by Elsie at 4:52 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

The double ginger snaps are good, but the organic ginger snaps are better. (The Pittsburgh store's not carrying them anymore.)
posted by booth at 5:52 AM on April 30, 2010

The dark chocolate covered almonds dusted with turbinado sugar and sea salt are one of life's great pleasures.
posted by devnall at 7:24 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Lacey's cookies. Lacey's cookies. Lacey's cookies. If you buy nothing else, get one container of the almond-dark chocolate cookies and one of the macadamia-milk chocolate. I know you said "no snacks" but for me, these are the only irresistible things at TJ's.

When we get near a TJ, we go wild. We've tried a lot of stuff once but can usually find things cheaper or better elsewhere. (I'm a from-scratch cook so the sauces or frozen prepared foods don't appeal to me.) The produce is definitely over-priced (maybe not for a city, but we live in a rural area). I'm over the Pound Plus chocolate--it tastes off to me. I'm always cautious buying nuts because they are so often rancid (not just at TJ's).

For us, Trader Jose's coffee beans are a must-have and so is the frozen wild-caught salmon.

Take time to taste the samples they're usually handing out at the back of the store.
posted by sevenstars at 7:47 AM on April 30, 2010

frozen croissants. yes.
posted by onell at 9:43 AM on April 30, 2010

You're all cheating and mentioning all sorts of snacks. In that case, here's a huge vote for their Rio coffee candy, and an even huger vote for the chocolate covered Bing cherries. Mmmmmmm!
posted by Dragonness at 10:39 AM on April 30, 2010

I don't live hear one, but whenever someone who does comes and visits me, I demand they bring me back packages of the Harvest Grains dried um grains. It's quinoa and couscous and tiny chickpeas and all sorts of yummy stuff. SO GOOD.
posted by pyjammy at 10:46 AM on April 30, 2010

2 buck chuck, as mentioned above. And if you are coming back through Salt Lake City grab a few cases for me as well.
posted by Kale Slayer at 9:12 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

2 buck chuck, as mentioned above. And if you are coming back through Salt Lake City grab a few cases for me as well.
posted by Kale Slayer at 9:14 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Triple ginger cookies, if you are sensitive to ginger - nearly inedible.

If you are not sensitive to ginger, except in an om nom gingersnaps way, these are one of the most delicious pre-prepared snackfoods on the planet.

TJ's frozen garlic (it comes pre-crushed in cubes) is one of the few kitchen staples I consider must-have from their stores. Convenience without any loss of quality.

The TJ brand chocolate chips are actually Callebaut, making it my cheapest source for high-quality chocolate. I stock up for cookie making.

Frozen foods of note: Tarte d'Alsace, mini empanadas (can't find these here in Atlanta anymore), frozen naan, puff pastry.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:14 AM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by granted at 10:06 PM on May 1, 2010

frozen vegetarian french onion soup. i live off of it.
posted by 630 at 4:15 PM on November 9, 2010

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