In May of 2010, when I was still living in New York City, I was running a couple of last minute errands before leaving for a 9 day trip touring Italy with my mom and sister. On the way to the drugstore, I passed a large sign that read, “Trader Joe’s – Opening Soon.” I stopped in my tracks. A TRADER JOE’S was opening a mere FOUR blocks from my apartment!? I would no longer have to schlep 50+ blocks to the one in the Union Square to go to my favorite grocery store in the world?! Suddenly, I had something that I was even more excited about than my Italian vacation.
Unless you haven’t been on Facebook for a month or you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that Trader Joe’s is opening a store in Metairie (on Veterans between Causeway and Bonnabel). That means that you are either: A) counting down the months/days/minutes/seconds until it opens or B) wondering what the heck is so great about this Trader Joe’s place. Well, I will tell you what the heck is so great about it by breaking it down into seven categories.
1. The Affordable Organic Selection
Before becoming a mom, I didn’t give not buying organic a second thought. Now that I am feeding the most precious person in my world, I have a harder time not buying organic. Maybe it’s a bunch of marketing hooey, maybe not. I’d rather be safe than sorry and buy organic as much as I can. Trader Joe’s is going to make it much easier to buy organic products because they offer a wide variety of organics at an affordable rate. At Trader Joe’s, you can buy organic peanut butter, organic jelly, and organic bread to make your picky, little eaters PB&J sandwiches at the same price you’d buy non-organic products at another grocery store. Plus, the majority of the Trader Joe’s branded products are GMO free.
Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck is famous (even though it is actually three bucks). The Charles Shaw (Chuck) brand of wine is actually pretty tasty. The reds are as good as many of the $10 bottles available on the market. (I’m not as big of a fan of the white varieties, but they are great for sangria.) In addition to the Two Buck Chuck, Trader Joe’s offers a large selection of popular wine brands at reasonable prices along with several organic wine options. And if you don’t like wine, they have an extensive craft beer section – even selling the bottles of beer individually so you can build your own six pack sampler.
3. The Sweets
The healthy food options are one of the reasons customers check out Trader Joe’s for the first time, but our contributors agree that the sweets are one of the main reasons shoppers keep coming back. You’ve all heard of peanut butter, but what about cookie butter? The various flavors of cookie butter are favorites amongst our team.
Other favorites? Candy Cane Joe Joe’s (sort of like mint Oreos), milk chocolate salted caramel butter cookies, sea salt brownies, chocolate lava cake, croissants and pancake balls (frozen), s’more clusters, and on and on and on.
The prices are very competitive for bulk nuts at Trader Joe’s and the variety is even better. Thai Lime Chili Mixed Nuts, Coconut Cashews, Spicy Pistachios, and Wasabi Almonds are just a few of the unique spice nuts Trader Joe’s offers. And the cheese – oh the cheese. Your guests will think you spent a fortune on your future cheese platters. Get ready to pay low prices for boutique cheeses like their blueberry goat cheese and raclette cheese. And as our French contributor Marie H. says, “It’s the real stuff from LA FRANCE!”
5. The Frozen Foods
Anyone who has shopped at Trader Joe’s can ramble off a dozen of their favorite frozen foods before you can even say Trader Joe’s (Mushroom Risotto, Mini Pecan Pies, green mix with edamame and asparagus, Butternut Squash Ravioli, Pot Stickers, Turkey Bolognese, Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Chili Lime Chicken Burgers, Chicken Tiki Masala, Vegetable Masala Burgers, Coconut Curry Chicken Sticks, Swedish Meatballs). They’ve got something for everyone. Cookie Butter Cheesecake, Gluten Free Breaded Chicken Nuggets, Vegan Tiki Masala, Shitaake Mushroom Chicken, and Organic Pesto Tortellini are just a few of the newest additions to Trader Joe’s frozen food offerings. What new frozen item am I most excited to try? The Organic Riced Cauliflower for only $1.99! If you’ve ever made your own cauliflower rice, you know that it is a messy project, and I gladly welcome a shortcut to eating healthier, low-carb meals.
6. The Flowers
My fingers are crossed that the Metairie Trader Joe’s offers the same bouquets of flowers that the ones in NYC had. Delivered daily, Trader Joe’s offers beautiful flowers and a price point low enough to justify even those on a budget adding some blooms to their weekly shopping list.
7. The Superb Shopping Experience
The line will definitely be long (especially in the beginning), but it’s usually a single line for all of the registers and it moves quickly. The staff members are friendly and helpful. The signs throughout the store are festive and colorful. The deals can’t be beat. So even with the long line, the overall shopping experience is definitely worth the wait.