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Dear Trader Joes: I love you!

I was walking through Trader Joes the other day when it suddenly hit me, I was in love, so in love that I wandered aimlessly through its aisles looking for new products and dreaming of the products I already new and loved. I gazed lovingly at the large blocks of cvholov yisroel feta and imagined simple arugala and shaved green apple salads. I looked at the fire roasted pineapple sasa for less than$2 and wondered what people who shopped at ordinary grocery stores did when they realized the good salsas were all treife and the bad ones all sucked and cost more than the Trader Joes one.

I retrieved my free cup of freshly brewed Trader Joes coffee and filled my basket with energy bars that cost no less than double the price everywhere else besides Wal Mart (which is hard to find in the Bay Area anyway) I grabbed some honey wheat pretzels and organic almond butter, again half the price of everywhere else.

I made my way to the ice cream and meatless hippie food aisle, just to see what over processed delicacies lay in the freezer. It seems that Trader Joes has their own brand of chickenless nuggets, cheaper and probably better than the morningstar version, I move on to the ice cream – my favorite window shopping area of grocery stores. I think about getting the mini ice cream bonbons with cookie crunch or the mint cookie ice cream sandwiches, my drool is beginning to build up as my excitement grows. Tantra style I move on down the aisle, leaving those calories and making my way to the nut aisle, where I buy raw almonds and dried mango to satiate me when I am fleishigs.

I have no idea what I would do with Trader Joes in my life, he really helps out big time, sure they could use a bulk nuts and grain section, but did you know they have a bottle of Moscato (not in a blue bottle) that is kosher and only 6 bucks,m what about the $4 kosher red wine, or you can splurge on Herzog chennin blanc for $7 – I have seen these bottles at $20 in other stores around the country. Don’t even get me started on the beer and liquor prices or the beautiful baby heirloom tomatoes they have. As bananas are quite cheap as well and welcome you in a very non-sexual way to the store. They did it in Brooklyn and they do it here in the Bay – except here they are on every corner.

{ 96 comments… add one }
  • A. Nuran June 21, 2011, 10:04 PM

    And they aren’t low-life rat’s-ass scum-sucking employee-screwing nudniks like Whole Foods

  • SiBaW June 21, 2011, 10:36 PM

    I agree Trader Joes is awesome. I think their chocolate chips are unbelievable. I am also impressed with their prices on organic produce especially eggs. Surprisingly, for a non-jewish establishment they stock a really large quantity of kosher items.

    • Ginger June 22, 2011, 10:32 PM

      they’ve got a monopoly on empire kosher organic chicken

  • ipitythefoo June 21, 2011, 10:54 PM

    Mnage trois?

    • Anonymous June 22, 2011, 1:19 AM

      funny

  • danielGA June 22, 2011, 12:55 AM

    the only thing i don’t like about trader joe’s is their “kosher” meat. they have empire kosher chicken and turkey, which is great, but all their non-poultry meat is their brand and triangle k only, non glatt. i love the fact that they have OU approved pasta sauces and salsa, tortilla chips, etc. from people that know how to make them (NY jews can’t make salsa).

    • Anonymous June 22, 2011, 3:16 AM

      Glatt is not what you think…

    • Heshy Fried June 22, 2011, 7:34 AM

      Chock it up for California because all their meat is glatt and they frequently have steaks and other stuff.

    • Yirmiyahu David June 27, 2011, 4:25 PM

      danielGA,
      Don’t they sell “Teva” brand Glatt Kosher beef? If not I’m going to be real disappointed. Here in Ore-galus they don’t sell TJ brand Kosher anything.

  • Janet June 22, 2011, 3:56 AM

    Wow, East Coast TJs don’t have these wines — $4-7 kosher wines, seriously? The Ace pear cider is also amazing, and also only on the West Coast.

    • Batsheva June 26, 2011, 5:02 PM

      Janet, I hope you see this! I also live in the east, and the last time I checked ( a couple of years ago, apparently) TJ didn’t carry any kosher wines either, but after reading this column, I went in and asked the manager, and guess what? 4 different varieties of strictly kosher wine. You have to ask though, because they don’t say they’re kosher on the front of the label, and they’re not recognizable brands–you’d have to turn around every bottle to figure out which they were.

  • Jacob June 22, 2011, 4:16 AM

    TJ’s is definitely amazing- but in many east coast states alcoholic beverages are more strictly regulated then in California. So we must add another point to the long list of reasons to live in California.

  • Abandoning Eden June 22, 2011, 4:19 AM

    The city I moved to here in the south doesn’t have a trader joes and it makes me a sad panda. We’re thinking of driving to the one an hour and a half away sometime (with a cooler).

    I loooove their dried pears, frozen foods (spinach stuffed salmon roulette’s mmmmmm), their sauces, and it’s the only place I know where you can buy yerba mate in tea bags.

  • Abandoning Eden June 22, 2011, 4:20 AM

    The city I moved to here in the south doesn’t have a trader joes and it makes me a sad panda. We’re thinking of driving to the one an hour and a half away sometime (with a cooler).

    I loooove their dried pears, frozen foods (spinach stuffed salmon roulette’s mmmmmm), their sauces, all those chocolatey things they have in the frozen aisle (like pistachio and chocolate covered toffee) and it’s the only place I know where you can buy yerba mate in tea bags.

    • anon June 24, 2011, 11:01 AM

      When I was a teenager & came to visit my mother in San Francisco, the only TJs was in Los Angeles. We would drive down there — JUST TO GO TO TJs — & then drive back the next day. An hour & a half? definitely worth it!!!!

  • Sad in Baltimore June 22, 2011, 6:31 AM

    Because of complicated liquor licensing laws in Maryland, TJ’s here don’t sell beer or wine.

    • DC June 23, 2011, 6:31 PM

      Not complicated at all. State monopoly ever since prohibition was repealed.

  • zibble June 22, 2011, 6:38 AM

    +1. My favorite store and there are a bunch of ’em here in the midwest. They recently had some Terrenal red & white wine stocked high – a kosher brand from Spain – at $5 a pop. It’s my primary source of coffee beans, dark chocolate and other sweet treats, cage free eggs (now that Kroger raised their prices), pasta sauce, etc etc. And my doggie loves those chicken treats!

  • AstroTheSpaceDog June 22, 2011, 7:54 AM

    Best ‘tater chips on this side of Whole Foods, at half the price. And try the Trader Jose beer.

  • ????? June 22, 2011, 10:21 AM

    Typo alert. Please fix them.

    • Batsheva June 22, 2011, 9:46 PM

      Heshy doesn’t care about typos. Obviously, you’re not a regular reader of his. You either get used to it or you go away.

  • Bubba Metzia June 22, 2011, 10:45 AM

    We don’t have Trader Joe’s here in Florida. Are they that much better than Whole Foods?

    • Batsheva June 22, 2011, 9:49 PM

      NO comparison. I used to live in Philly, which had both. Whole Foods was grossly overpriced, had minimal kosher stuff, and treats employees the same way most supermarkets do. At TJ’s the employees get great benefits, and make a nice living wage, so that they are always happy, smiling and eager to help. Also, if you ask at the customer service desk, they will actually give you a list of almost all of their kosher products, and a list of the hechshers and whose authority they are under. They can sell their stuff cheaper because they rebrand AND they don’t advertise. WF does some rebranding, but pretty minimal, and they do advertise.

  • Shoshana June 22, 2011, 11:13 AM

    We have a TJ in my town and it is great! Very helpful staff. Great mint tea, lots of stuff is under hechsharim from all over.

    And the baby vine tomatoes! Pop them like candy.

    I have found though that the spirit is different in the TJ’s in the next town over – it’s not entirely consistent.

  • The jewish teen June 22, 2011, 12:02 PM

    Yup my mom shops there all the time.

  • red June 22, 2011, 7:08 PM

    TJ shopping list

    candied walnuts
    honey roasted peanuts
    fresh squeezed oj
    virgils glass bottled root beer
    fiber dried fruit bars
    bananas
    kiwis
    horseradish hummus (MUST TRY)
    the honey nut toasted os
    the dried berries toasted os
    big carton of vanilla rice milk
    chocolate chips

    i could go on and on…
    and sad in baltimore, alas, i am also sad in baltimore. no liquor in TJs for us

  • Batsheva June 22, 2011, 9:58 PM

    Hesh, I always get the raw almonds too. But one thing I don’t understand. Our TJ’s sells tons of beer and wine, but they have absolutely NO kosher wines. I’ve asked repeatedly. Also, their dried mangoes aren’t hechshered here. I’ve wanted to get them before, so I know. I will now share my TJ’s story that will BLOW YOUR MIND. I bring my own bags when I go shopping, and one day, I went to TJ’s, got out of my car, locked the doors, and got my bags out of my trunk. As I was slamming down the trunk lid, I screamed, “NOOOOOO!!!!!” I had put my purse down in the trunk, which included keys, wallet, and cell phone. I’m standing in the parking lot with nothing but my empty shopping bags. So, I go into TJ’s, talk to the manager, and long story short, he pays an employee to take an hour out of her work day (I live a half hour from TJ’s) to drive me home to get a spare key, and then drive me back to TJ’s. When we got back to the store, I offered to give her gas money, and the manager wouldn’t let me. He promised me he’d take care of it. So, yeah, I’m madly in love with TJ’s too. If anyone can top that story in the realm of customer service, I’d love to hear it.

    • Heshy Fried June 22, 2011, 11:31 PM

      You better leave a good Yelp review after that help

      • A. Nuran June 22, 2011, 11:47 PM

        Yelp review? Batsheva, call the regional office. Tell them just what you told us. And maybe contribute a case of beer to their office Xmas party.

  • anon June 23, 2011, 6:18 AM

    I can’t BELIEVE that no one mentioned TJ’s Cherry Chocolate Chip PAREVE ice cream which is the best pareve ice cream in the world.

    • anon June 24, 2011, 11:10 AM

      AGREED!!!

  • Anonymous June 23, 2011, 3:38 PM

    I can’t believe that no one mentioned Double Rainbow chocolate sorbet.

  • M. June 24, 2011, 10:21 AM

    Who is Trader Joe? Can someone give me his phone number or contact information?

    • Batsheva June 26, 2011, 5:12 PM

      Trader Joe is not a person. It’s the name of a national grocery chain (not in every state, but many). You can find out if there is a Trader Joe near you or not by going to their web site. I would post a link but Frum Satire gets mad when you post links in the comment section. It’s traderjoes dot com. Only put a period in place of the word, dot. Then click on the stores link at the top, and you can find out where the closest one is to you. Also, you can find their list of kosher products on their site too. Just click where it says products and guides and then choose the kosher button.

  • Batsheva June 26, 2011, 5:24 PM

    Heshy, the entire Jewish community of southwestern Ohio owes you big time. Nobody knew that TJ’s was carrying kosher wine now (they hadn’t for years). And that Sarah Bee wine? It’s the same as Bartenura’s Moscato, only a little better! FOR HALF THE PRICE!!!!!!! I’m telling everyone. Of course, the only reason I’m telling everyone is because A) I bought two cases of it. They give you an additional 10% off if you buy by the case. And B) My appreciation of and love for TJ’s outweighs my selfishness.

  • TJ's Chosid Joe June 28, 2011, 9:36 AM

    If you want to taste a different jam (You’ll love it) try TJ’s boysenberry Jam (or Jelly). Yum. Yum. Yum.

  • stepha July 20, 2011, 2:32 AM

    I love Trader Joe’s. I appreciate so much that they give quality wholesome food to their customers. I have nothing to do with their corporation. I only have shopped as a customer for many years. From their cat and dog food, without “by-products,” to their organic non-sulfite wine that would cost 30% more at Whole Foods, or their affordable wine if budget dictates, to their grab and go salads (as gourmet that you can get), to organic produce, free range meat, to excellent friendly service that make you feel like home, and so forth and so forth, thank you Trader Joe, whoever you are, for seeming so real and not just a store for profit irregardless of the health and well being of your customers. I love you too.

  • stepha July 20, 2011, 2:34 AM

    I too love Trader Joe’s. I appreciate so much that they give quality wholesome food to their customers. I have nothing to do with their corporation. I only have shopped as a customer for many years. From their cat and dog food, without “by-products,” to their organic non-sulfite wine that would cost 30% more at Whole Foods, or their affordable wine if budget dictates, to their grab and go salads (as gourmet that you can get), to organic produce, free range meat, to excellent friendly service that make you feel like home, and so forth and so forth, thank you Trader Joe, whoever you are, for seeming so real and not just a store for profit irregardless of the health and well being of your customers. I love you too.

  • Benny Freilick May 24, 2013, 4:01 PM

    Trader Joe’s has the best deals in kosher wine in the USA. Moscato for $5.99 (mevushal). Spanish red wine (careful – not mevushal for $3.99) Malbec and Chardonnay for $4.99 (mevushal.) Jeeze, I don’t know why everybody is not buying kosher wine there. I mean for a big gathering it’s the only way to go.

  • Scott Widitor July 12, 2017, 2:12 PM

    Very bad news for frummies. Trader Joe’s has discontinued its Terrenal wines. Gone. Zip, nada, erased. I suspect that if you want them back you are going to have to write to Trader Joe’s. https://www.traderjoes.com/contact-us/product-feedback. There is also a Facebook group to support it’s return. Terrenal Wine Fans. I mean this clearly was the best value in kosher wine available. Quite a loss.

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