Saturday, September 7, 2013

Trying new items at Trader Joe's in Paramus.

Trader Joe's encourages customers to try new items in Fearless Flyer, a publication sent to homes with detailed descriptions of fresh, frozen and prepared food, much of it organic or naturally raised.

By Victor E. Sasson

Sliced yogurt cheese with jalapeños. Check. Antibiotic- and preservative-free hot dogs. Check. Sweet potatoes. Organic or conventional? Check.

My Trader Joe's shopping list hardly varied, and I'd return time and again for a handful of items I couldn't find in other food stores.

Costco Wholesale, for example, has better prices on just about everything, but only carries sweet potatoes at holiday time and doesn't stock the organic kind.

Trader Joe's in Paramus has both year-round.

Then, I got Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer in the mail, read through it and took it with me on Thursday after I met a friend for lunch at a diner near the Route 17 store.

Steaks, juice, pasta

I picked up frozen Grass-Fed Angus Strip Loin Steaks from New Zealand ($10.99 a pound); a 4-pack of canned, not-from-concentrate Pineapple Juice, each one about 8.5 ounces ($2.99); a 16-ounce package of 8 chopped vegetables ($2.99); and a 16-ounce package of frozen Tropical Blend Organic Fruit ($2.99).

I also picked up more 1-pound packages of Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta ($1.39 each); a 3-pound bag of Organic Sweet Potatoes ($3.69); and naturally raised Applegate Sliced Roast Beef ($3.99 for 7 ounces), $2 less than at the ShopRite in Englewood.

I also picked up packages of antibiotic- and hormone-free Trader Joe's Bacon and Beef Hot Dogs ($4.49 each).

Trader Joe's prices don't vary, unlike the fluctuating prices at Costco Wholesale.

Trader Joe's produce section.
Mold problem

At the Hackensack Costco last Tuesday, I bought a 5-pound tray of Sunset Beefsteak Tomatoes, put them on my counter to ripen and was surprised to see mold growing out of the stem end of two or three of them only 2 days later.

My wife took them back for a full refund of $6.39, which is about 40 cents higher than before.

I also saw mold growing on one of the fresh California Black Figs I picked up at Trader Joe's (2 pounds for $4.99), and I'm monitoring them.

Luckily, I can substitute tomatoes and black figs from my garden.

Trader Joe's, 404 Route 17 north; 201-265-9624. Open daily 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A large, deep bowl of split-pea soup at the Suburban Diner in Paramus.

Soup for lunch

At lunch on Thursday, I ordered a bowl of split-pea soup -- a Greek-diner classic -- at the remodeled Suburban Diner in Paramus, and, well, I was bowled over by the portion size ($3.95).

Even without croutons, the serving filled me. I also ordered Earl Grey Tea, and was told all teas are organic ($2.25).

The same whole-leaf bag yielded 3 strong cups of tea.

The lunch menu also lists wine by the glass for $4.95.

The Suburban Diner's new look.

Suburban Diner, 172 Route 17 north; 201-261-2605.

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