Finally, FINALLY, after what seems like forever, I made it to the new Trader Joe’s in Sarasota yesterday, about 60 miles south of us. My mom and I just *happened* to be down that way for work today and I decided to drive the extra 15 miles from where we were to get there. Still much closer than if I go from our house.
I’m no stranger to Trader Joe’s. I’ve been there before on my visits to California. I have umpteen Trader Joe’s bags and I’ve brought back wine and a few other goodies from there. But to have one close-by where I can do actual shopping for food and such is a dream come true.
I was beyond excited walking in there today. Seems silly that a store could bring me so much happiness. For a Tuesday late morning, they were really busy. It’s still new, the snow birds are making their way down here, next week is Thanksgiving, and it’s just plain awesome, so I wasn’t surprised to find it busy. My mom and I grabbed a shopping cart and off we went. I had a few must-buy items in mind, along with a list from my friend Steph who has been there twice now since opening. A girl has to be prepared, I would hate to miss something spectacular.
I couldn’t wait to get home to unpack everything and OOH and AAH over all the yummy goodness I bought. I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I share it all with you. Here goes!
These will be great for lunch or dinner… Garlic Potatoes with Parmesan Sauce, Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos, Mini Chicken Tamalitos, Shrimp Corn Dogs (one of Steph’s suggestions!), Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli, Perline Pasta & Prosciutto, and Arugula & Parmigano Reggiano Ravioli. Seriously! Which do I try first?
Next on the list of goodies is… Thin-sliced Prosciutto, Sweet Italian Sausage, Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta, Three Layer Hummus, Edamame Hummus, Fresh Salsa, Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, and British Muffins.
Snacks are important and I knew I had to get a box of This Fig Walked Into A Bar Cereal Bars. I also bought pumpkin ones (my mom bought apple). Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix was a must-buy. For hubby, I bought a bag of Salted and Roasted Cashews, Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels, and Non-Pareils. I had to buy the English Toffee when I saw it, a Christmas tradition for my dad and I to share English Toffee from somewhere…. And I couldn’t leave the store without a package of the beautiful White Mushrooms, and a 4-pack of Hass Avocados. I will say that their produce prices are AMAZING!!! Watch out Publix… I love you, but if we ever get a Trader Joe’s closer to me, you and I will not see each other as often.
I think I was channeling my dad on a few of these other items as well. No doubt I get my love of foods and so many flavors from my dad. Marinated Artichokes and Artichoke Antipasto – can’t wait to try these. I wanted to buy a jar of Pumpkin Butter since the jar I have is almost empty, but they were OUT! So, I decided to go with Cranberry Apple Butter. I know I will love it. The Vodka Sauce sounds really good and I’ll try it on the Brown Rice Pasta one evening. The Cocoa Almond Spread is sure to taste like Nutella, and the Cookie Butter is something I’ve wanted to try forever. I’ve heard so many people I follow on Twitter rave about it. More in a minute about that… I also couldn’t resist the Ciabatta Demi-Baguette.
Anyone who knows me knows that I wasn’t going to leave there without some wine. The Moscato D’Asti is delicious, my Aunt Darlene brought me a bottle when she visited us back in March. One of Steph’s must-buys was the $2.99 wine so I had to indulge her on that one. I bought two bottles of White Zinfandel and one bottle of Merlot. Since I am also a beer lover, I thought it only right that I also buy a six pack of Trader Jose Light.
One last item I couldn’t leave the store without was another Trader Joe’s bag. This one was too cute, I love the colors, and I use the heck out of them.
So, after I had it all unpacked and ready to put away, what do you think I tried first? The Cookie Butter, of course!! All I have to say is, everyone is right, it is A-MAZING. I tried to imagine what it would taste like and decided after tasting it that the description on the jar is the best way to describe it…. A deliciously unusual spread reminiscent of gingerbread and made with crushed biscuits. That’s exactly what it tastes like.
It ended up being a pretty easy decision on what to make for dinner last night. I made the Sweet Italian Sausage for hubby and Pumpkin Ravioli for myself. The sausage was really good, a nice sweet flavor. The Pumpkin Ravioli were so so good, a rich pumpkin flavor, very smooth. I made a butter and parmesan sauce to go on it and it really added to the flavor. Remember the ciabatta baguette I bought? I sliced it open-face and made toasted garlic bread with mozzarella cheese. Hubby loved that too, as did I. A glass of the Merlot went perfectly with it. It was a great dinner, a wonderful variation from the meals we always seem to eat over and over again.
No doubt about it, I am a Trader Joe’s fan! I just wish I would have remembered to buy a couple chocolate bars while I was there. Darn, i guess I’ll have to go back!
What is your favorite item from Trader Joe’s? What is the farthest you’ve traveled to shop at Trader Joe’s?