When I wrote about my dear wife Karen and I’s first trip to Syracuse’s new Trader Joe’s in November, it moved many people to pitch in with helpful suggestions.
I so surely agree that three-buck wine that people I trust swear is drinkable is an idea whose time has come. And then we discovered that in our New York state, the laws don’t allow Trader Joe’s to sell that wine of which you boasted. Plenty of different beer and brews that I’ve never seen before, some of which I wondered about alcoholic content. But I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses on this trip, and squinting for alcoholic percentages didn’t help, so …
We came home with $53 worth of food, interesting fare all.
For a dinner, we’ve already scarfed the pre-cooked slab of barbecued pork ribs. Karen didn’t think the instructions that had her placing it on a cookie sheet at X degrees for Y minutes would have it cook up hot enough, but she changed her mind when she heard those babies sizzling. And they tasted pretty meaty good to me. But let’s get back to inside the store, and the search for a side. Our Trader Joe’s did not have a box of brown rice in the Uncle Ben’s/Rice a Roni variety. So we scooped up a bag of frozen Chinese vegetable fried rice from the cooler. Tasted great with the barbecue.
The pound of 85 percent lean ground beef for the Manwich sandwiches worked fine, despite the fact that at Wegmans we usually opt for the 90 percent lean. Here, the 90 percent looked gray. Yuck. The hamburger rolls came in a seeded choice. Delightful! And the bagged salad, iceberg variety, had plenty of other veggies sprinkled within. I’d have gone for romaine, but that choice was lettuce-only. Boo.
Let’s see. We came away with a humungous bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa. The chips were flat, thin, listless and salty compared to the major brands, I thought. Karen shrugged her shoulders and called them “OK.” The salsa had a kick, but was runny, with hardly any chunks. I shrugged myy shoulders and called it “OK.”
I threw a quart of half-and-half for my morning coffee into the cart, and Karen picked out three Greek-style yogurts. My home-brewed Dunkin’ Donuts has been fine for breakfast, along with the four bananas I selected, green at Trader Joe’s, and good this week at home. I haven’t heard a bad word about Karen’s yogurt.
Which leaves me with what I declared our find of the trip.
I was wandering off on my own when I came across the two-pack of frozen French Onion soup in the open freezer. There was a skip to my step when I got back to Karen and the cart and held it out for her inspection. “Yeah,” my dear wife said, “I saw that and thought it would catch your attention.”
It sits yet in our back porch freezer, looking pretty every time I open it to fetch something else and calling my name oh-so-gently. It will make a great weekend lunch for Karen and I, I hope so much. Will today be the day?
What are the non-ordinary foods at Trader Joe’s that Karen and I are still missing? Do you have a favorite beer or ale from your Trader Joe’s I might think about checking out? Tortilla chips and salsa … thick or thin?