Sunday, January 07, 2007

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe'sBilled as "your neighborhood grocery store," Trader Joe's is a large national chain with a store in Madison and another in Glendale on N. Port Washington.
This one is a few blocks from Camp Randall, and serves as a crowd-drawing addition to the Monroe St. neighborhood.
Warning: Do not go with someone who can turn a 20 minute browse into a two hour buying frenzy worthy of a survivalist at the millenium.
It's a fun place to go on a slow weekend. There were shelves of healthy snacks being restocked by clerks sprawled in the aisle, and wandering young hippies happy to talk about health food. It's basically a health food store with some interesting food trinkets tossed in. You can find a shrink wrapped leg of lamb around the corner from a chunk of halvah next to a ten pound block of chocolate three aisles away from a pack of "organic" tampons.
It is not, however, a place to buy candy.
Hats off to Monroe St., but you're better off to have a nosh at New Orleans Take-Out, take a stroll around the shops, then travel west until you run into James J.

9 comments:

madtown man said...

I'm not crazy about Trader Joes except for novelty visits. I live around there and was hoping we'd finally get a place in the neighborhood for everyday stuff. I also don't like the traffic and like what you said about getting out of the car and walking around.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Trader Joe's isn't the place to go for candy. I wouldn't buy groceries there either.

Nitronea said...

I found a lot of fun candy gifts before Christmas. I know I shouldn't like this coporate store, but I do. The prices are reasonable for what I have bought; some hand soap that claims to relax your hands, heavily scented lotion, dog treats,baskets, Candy Joes, nuts. I'd not do a typical grocery shopping here, tho. And the 2 buck Chuck, you really should try it.

The days I went in December were Saturdays, and quite busy. Lots of folks out on Monroe Street, too, which created a festive atmosphere. Like a city street should be.

The biggest problem I found was parking. The store lot had a line, the streets were full, but it seemed like spaces would open up steadily. Patience is the key. Don't go there if you are watching the clock!

brian said...

I don't think TJs is a grocery store replacement, but we shop there regularly for certain staples; the prices on sodas and beers (off-beat brands but not unknown) is really good. Their pound plus chocolate bars are also actually very nice--I used them my first two years I made candies. They have a great selection of nuts and dried fruits. I bought 10 pounds of almonds there last month for making English Toffee.

Jeanna Olson said...

I found a lot of fun candy before Christmas too, although I couldn't get my nephew to eat the Fear Factor stuff.
Got a nice smelling shampoo from TJ's, but can't think of anything save the halvah to go back for. I was told it was slow for a Saturday, and it was too crowded for me. Especially if you're stuck there for a very. long. time.
That parking lot has always been a hazard. (People were even parking their dogs there.)
I'm glad Monroe St. isn't alive just on football Saturdays.

Jeanna Olson said...

Brian,
I'll have to check on the soda and beer prices if I go back. I noticed a six pack of a local beer was about the same, but didn't check on the more interesting ones. Clerks sprawled out on the floor and all. You probably have a pretty good beer selection in the Bay Area.
You used their chocolate bars and all those almonds, huh? Was it priced better than anywhere else, or you like their products?
You have a great blog, btw. Making me feel quilty for not making candy for the holidays this year.

brian said...

Hi Jeanna,

I've been using their almonds for almost 10 years. I don't know if the prices on their almonds are competitive, but the quality is there. The pound plus chocolate was very competitively priced. I'd recommend it to anyone just getting started with making chocolate candies.

My favorite beer, Boont Amber from Anderson Valley Brewing is always more than $1 cheaper per 6 pack there, and prices for Hansen's sodas(which I stopped drinking recently to ration my sugar intake) are great. Good price on Niman Ranch bacon, too, although my wife needs little excuse to add a store to her weekly shopping run.

I've been reading your blog for over a month now and enjoy it very much.

Jeanna Olson said...

Hey, Brian. Thanks for the kind words, I'm all verklempt.
It's always of interest to know where people get their chocolate. You can bet I'm going to track down some Boont Amber. Funny about the soda, because that's something I try to ration myself. I have a soda jones you see.
You're turning me around a bit on last weekend's buzz kill trip to TJ's. Now you've got me hungry for bacon. Curses.

Anonymous said...

Can the Trader Joe's in Hyannis MA carry the Manhatten chocolate layer halvah. It is DELICIOUS