Well, I can’t say I get as excited to grocery shop as my counterpart does. She’s very excitable, I know. Guys would like you to think that they are off saving the world or something when they might actually be at a racetrack or peacefully enjoying free WIFI somewhere to do their fantasy football research or crying in an alley. But listen – guys do find themselves in grocery stores sometimes too, though it’s not something we talk about openly. More often than not, our grocery store game is a little more like Zero Dark Thirty – get in quickly and quietly, find target(s), and get the f*#k out without being seen. As far as grocery stores go, I will say Trader Joe’s makes this type of mission actually possible. I have now somewhat fine-tuned my visits to where I can get my usual go-to items without wandering aimlessly like I do for mostly the rest of my daily life. Ok, let me get to the point and try and make this post as simple as a nice visit to your local grocer should be. Here are my Trader Jose’s Must Haves….
Wild Mushroom and Black Truffle Flatbread – The reason this is first? Cause it’s f*#king awesome that’s why. I’m shocked that I have been eating this flatbread for years and still haven’t gotten sick of it. As I write this now I literally just came back from checking freezer and am pissed that we currently don’t have one in there as we usually do. It’s quick, easy and very hard to screw up. Even if you overcook it, it won’t matter. With friends over late night – making one or two of these in a pinch can save lives. And unlike most late night pizza-type decisions – it doesn’t feel like broken glass in my stomach the next morning. (insert painful face and toilet emoji here)
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels – If I could make love to this bag of incredibleness, I would. Peanut butter, pretzels…..two amazing foods, one beautiful union.
Lemon Pepper – You know what guys do when they read a recipe and it calls for the “zest of one lemon?” We die a little bit inside. It’s not cause it’s hard – it just doesn’t sound fun at all to our kind, especially if there aren’t any good lemons on hand. You know what sounds fun? Not zesting a lemon and having it taste like we did. Feel free to grind some of this zesty lemon pepper stuff on anything and everything. Not only is it easy as hell it really does taste good. Use especially to season fish.
Marinated Grilled Artichoke Halves / Hearts of Palm – These two items go hand in hand as they are in the same aisle and will dress up any boring-ass salad and make it infinitely better, even if this salad is my sorry excuse to eat healthy one night a week.. The marinade of the artichokes also kind of acts as part of your dressing which is a bonus. Less work = more fun.
Pork Chops – I don’t typically purchase meats here. But if I’m in a pinch I go for the pork chops above all else. They are usually two or three to a package and very affordable and nicely cut. You can do boneless or on the bone. Lauren prefers no bone (though she likes the bone once in while). Stop – you people are perverts. Note: if you have the time to brine them for 3-24 hours beforehand I strongly suggest doing so, as you can then make something pretty f-ing good with something so damn simple.
Super Green Drink Powder – Not all of us attend Kale University. Ya know – those people and their leafy greens coming out of their ass and in the fridge at all times. And then you go to actually use them and oh – they are rotten, having turned to a melted gremlin-type substance after only a few days. Green powder baby….. this shit is for real. Apparently its Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is off the f*@%ing charts. What’s that you ask?? It has something to do with antioxidant potency. Just throw this in your daily smoothie and feel better about your rotten self. $20 sounds like a lot but it’s thirty servings and each serving counts for a lot at only 70 cents per serving. Math + Health = …..Meth?? Ummm scratch that. Just get some dammit.
Kettle Brewed Unsweetened Black Iced Tea. There is nothing too sexy about this pick, or sweet, but that is the point. It’s a big gallon jug of perfectly simple iced tea with no bullshit in it. All I need to quench my thirst. For life.
Danish Kringle – Some mysterious genius angel brought one of these to a party this summer. I tried it and then immediately wanted to know more – someone yelled from across the room that she got it at Trader Joe’s. Well, I went looking for it that week to bring to a party and in turn become a genius angel myself. That didn’t work. The guy at Trader Joe’s told me they were out of stock at the moment and said simply that they are seasonal. So I urge you to be on the lookout for these. The only other way to get one of these bad boys is to drive to Racine, Wisconsin I think or order from a website that might try and sell you a cat.
Pretzel Croissants – This is the one item I have always tried not to get even though it stares right back at me. If you ever tried them you know what I mean. Well, I tried so hard to avoid these that ol’ Trader Giotto must have noticed and went and discontinued them. Dick. Someone petition to bring these back so I can just stare back at them at the store and know they can ruin my life – that’s how good they are. Actually, no – if you’re reading this Giotto…..if you bring them back I will buy them again I swear.
Wine – Well come on. You just don’t go to Trader Joe’s and not at least take a look. They have pretty good beers and liquors as well (Koval, Bulleit Rye) if that’s the poison your soul asks for. But I figure the wine there is sometimes wine you can’t get anywhere else for prices you can’t get anywhere else. The same isn’t necessarily true for beer and liquor. The Tribunal red wine from Northern California is a good staple at $9.99. A wine wizard at TJ’s recently recommended the Soraie Veneto, an Italian red for $8.99 that tastes like it would cost much more. Other go-to’s include the Epicuro Nero D’Avola ($5.99), La Finca Cabernet or Malbec ($4.99), and the Dark Horse Cabernet ($7.99). I also am inclined to try any Trader Joe’s Reserve bottles from Sonoma or Napa Valley as they can be surprisingly good and usually in the $12-$15 range and well worth it. Wine. Get on it.
Trader Joe’s Chocolate Bars – I know some of you have done this at other fancy grocery stores. You just got paid, or got a big bonus, or robbed a bank and then you’re about to check out at this fancy grocery store and you see Vosges Chocolates – oooooh fire and ice bar! Ohhhhh this one has bits of real panther in it!! It’s only $9 a bar??? Ok I’ll blow half my spoils and get a few of them. Orrrrrrrr you just go to Trader Jose’s and just load up on these tasty beauties. $1.99 and I shit you not they are not bad at all – good to have for a quick chocolate fix. There are three flavors and I recently heard from a cashier that the trick to the sea salt caramel and the coconut caramel is to keep them in the fridge as they can be messy to break apart. It seems the people’s favorite is the one I don’t usually get…..toffee with walnuts and pecans.
Alright ladies and germs, that’s all I got. And please – feel free to comment if you have something life-changing that I left off. I am always down for trying new foods. And someone get together that pretzel croissant petition pronto. Our world will be better off. And tell Trader Jose hello from me.