When there was a Trader Joe's near my old apartment (back when I was sort of cool and didn't have two little monkeys pulling at my legs), I often wondered what the big deal was. There was never any parking. The store was always packed. And they didn't carry any of my normal brands (you know, necessities, like diet Coke, Nutrigrain bars, Honey Bunches of Oats, etc.).
Occasionally, I bought a few of those cheap bottles of wine and felt thrifty for about five minutes, but every time, the parking alone made me question if it was really worth it.
Fast forward a couple years: I live in the suburbs. I have two kids. I stay at home with them pretty much All. The. Time.
A Trader Joe's opened nearby. People have been acting like it is The Second Coming. The frozen meals, I'm told, are what people love about it. They are supposedly inexpensive but actually taste good; which is ideal when you need to make an easy dinner [every night].
So, I went. Yesterday. On Opening Day. With very little expectations.
But, alas! You can mix different beers in a six pack! Yes, really! No one ever lets you do that anymore. I Highly Recommend: Trader Joe's Pumpkin Ale. (Yes, yes, all things pumpkin these days; I've joined the bandwagon).
My other favorite purchase: Almonds "drenched in dark chocolate sprinkled with seat salt and turbinado sugar." Dangerous.
The produce was also really good too.
I didn't get anything that needed refrigerating because I was going to be out for a while. So, readers, what should I buy next time I go? (Because I'm beginning to grasp the Trader Joe's mystique. And I'll be back. Oh yes, I'll be back).*
*Update: The four packs of little pepperoni Bambino pizzas (frozen) are the perfect size for little kids! They would even make cute appetizers at a grown-up party.
Can't get enough Frantic Mama? Check out my piece on Mamalode: Sometimes I Wonder