Thursday, March 24, 2011

A rare visit to Trader Joe's

Niman RanchImage via Wikipedia

When I stopped eating meat nearly 11 months ago, I pretty much ran out of reasons to shop at Trader Joe's, the California-based specialty food store with staffers in Hawaiian shirts selling lots of organic and naturally raised stuff at good prices.

I once visited the Paramus store every two or three weeks for uncured, preservative-free cold cuts, hot dogs and bacon; and scrumptious, fully cooked St. Louis-style ribs from the Niman Ranch. 

I'd also pick up great juices, soy milk, yogurt and other products.

I drove to the Route 17 north store on Wednesday to shop for my meat-eating wife and son, only to find the Niman Ranch ribs have been discontinued. All I really needed besides that was antibiotic- and hormone-free bacon ($3.99).

pic of Trader Joe's bagImage via Wikipedia

But I decided to try the organic whole wheat spaghetti from Italy that a friend recommended ($1.39) and pick up organic blue agave sweetener ($2.99) and sour cherries ($2.29) for topping plain yogurt.

I also bought sliced yogurt cheese with jalapenos ($4.49); two pounds of frozen edamame or soy beans in the pod ($1.69 each); a 64-ounce bottle of organic lemonade ($2.99) and white cheddar corn puffs ($1.99).

I brought a reusable Whole Foods Market bag with me, but unlike many other stores, Trader Joe's doesn't give you a nickle or dime for doing so.

Trader Joe's, 404 Route 17 north, Paramus; 201-265-9624.

Not worth the detour

Newspaper fliers have been heralding the "grand re-opening" of the International Food Wine & Liquor Warehouse in Lodi, but a visit on Wednesday showed this store is very much a work in progress.

A large section for meat and fresh produce remains empty, and workers are stocking shelves elsewhere, in what one called a "re-arranging."

The flier boasts of "30,000 feet of foods from around the world," but probably means 30,000 square feet. Even that seems to be an exaggeration, judging from what I saw.

Sign confusion is evident in a few places, such as spices offered for 69 cents without specifying which of three sizes is on sale.

There are some low prices, including pasta for 69 cents a pound, three liters of Lebanese extra-virgin olive oil for $12.99 and Moroccan sardines for 99 cents a can, but most can be matched by other stores.

I bought only one item from among hundreds, a small jar of strawberry preserves from France for $2.77.

International Food Warehouse, 370 Essex St., Lodi; 201-368-9511
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  1. Victor, I was at International Food Warehouse on Tuesday night, they are actually moving the food market (can't remember the name) that is on the other side of the International Wholesale Liquidators store to that space in the Food Warehouse. The food market is still open but has a sign saying they will be moving to the open space in the Food Warehouse shortly.


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