This is What Happens When a Trader Joe’s FINALLY Opens Near a Chef’s Family

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I have a confession to make.

I think I might be obsessed with a grocery store.

I will admit that my chef/husband and I are a little strange in that we have gone on dates to a grocery store before.  (More on that another time.)  But this might be even worse that that.

Can I blame this possible obsession on being married to a chef?

I have a lot of other friends and neighbors who are very excited about this new store near us as well.  It’s what transpired after my 2nd trip there in 4 days that has me concerned and why I would consider blaming this on my husband’s profession.

Last week a Trader Joe’s FINALLY opened near our home.

If you asked my chef/husband what his favorite grocery store is, he would say Trader Joe’s.  He feels very strongly that I should do all our shopping there and he’s been saying that for years.

However, I refuse to drive 35-40 minutes one way to get to the nearest Trader Joe’s.

Now I don’t have to!!

WooHoo!!  (This is me jumping up and down with excitement!!)

I was crazy enough to shop on opening day WITH a 5 year old.  I also went back 3 days later and looked around for a long time, since it was much less crowded.

Trader Joe's (374x500)

What a gorgeous day in Washington!!

I posted on Facebook, asking my friends and family what their favorites were when shopping there.

Trader Joes post on Facebook (404x500)

I made a list based off of this Facebook post.

I spent way too much money buying things on the list and many others not on the list, just to try out everyone’s favorites.  (Grocery Budget?  What’s that?)

Our dinner that night was samples of things my friends said they loved from the store and things that looked good to me from just walking around the store.  (Healthy dinner?  What’s that?)

And yes, I did take pictures.  I made sure to open the packages carefully, just so I could take a picture of our tasting dinner.

Trader Joe's Sampling Dinner (500x221)

(Note to self – remember you are 6’1″ and get lower when taking pictures of things.)

Trader Joe's Dessert (500x272)

Obviously I need to go back and get more dessert. This was not nearly enough to try.

I planned this dinner on a Friday evening, for the girls and I.  However, as I was walking out of Trader Joe’s with all of this fun food, my husband called and said his schedule changed and that he was on his way home.  (It was 10 am.)  So he was able to enjoy this amazing “dinner” with us as well.

(I think the tasting dinner and taking pictures of it I can blame on my chef/husband’s influence, right?.  Who does something like that?  A chef’s wife.)

As soon as my husband gets a day off (oh my . . . It’s a bit crazy at work right now!!!), we’ll be heading to Trader Joe’s on a date, blowing our grocery budget even more, and I’ll be getting some meal ideas from him as we walk around and talk.

Maybe he’ll even buy me some flowers.


I know.

I’m sure I’ll calm down a little once the newness has worn off.

But for now, we’ll just keep trying new things each week.  Thank you to all my friends and family who shared your favorites with us.  🙂

So here are our thoughts on some of the “favorites” we tried.

Things we loved:

  • Pumpkin Granola – my favorite find of the day.  It’s so good on homemade yogurt!!
  • Chocolate Caramel Bar
  • Palak Paneer – Can’t wait to try more of their Indian Food!
  • Sesame Sticks
  • Cookie Butter – This was good, but after all the hype from my friends :-), I think I was expecting it to be fabulous.  It’s good.  But just good, not amazing.

Things we can live without (and won’t buy again):

  • Half Baked Baguette
  • Dried Apples
  • Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas

Other things we already knew we loved:

  • Orange Chicken
  • Cheese Enchiladas
  • Miniature Peanut Butter Cups
  • Potstickers (tried the Gyoza Dipping Sauce and it wasn’t bad for something just out of a bottle)
  • Lavender Lotion and Bar Soap
  • Pub Cheese
  • Frozen French Green Beans
  • Frozen Roasted Corn
  • Cheese – all of it!  So many great choices!!
  • Frozen Edamame
  • Bagged Spinach
  • Broccolini
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • OK, pretty much all the produce.  (Great quality and good sized portions for our family of 5 (well 4 1/2 since my chef/husband doesn’t eat at home much.))
  • Spiced Cider
  • Sparkling Lemonade

Anyone else love this store as much as our family?  Have I missed any favorites?  Please comment below if there is something we NEED to try!!

From one chefwife to another,




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  1. Shelbey

    Congrats on the Trader Joe’s. One is set to open by us just after Christmas and I cannot wait!! The chef was exited about the movie theater, but I can wait for this! Same development. I haven’t been to one yet (I know, I know. I’m a Whole Foods girl right now…there’s one close by), but was recently gifted the peanut butter. You keep it in the fridge, it’s natural stuff, and you don’t have to stir it. This was big for me. I like to overdo it in the PB department.

    • Jennifer

      You are going to love it! Wish we had a Whole Foods near us too! 🙂

  2. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

    Oh man, I want to know all your chef secrets of what to buy when you have your grocery date. We usually end up at Target on dates. I love books and house stuff and hubby loves video games, movies and toys…shopping without our 3 boys is relaxing.

    Trader Joe’s is still safely 25 minutes away. Just far enough to go weekly otherwise I think I would be there everyday. It is a foodie paradise. Thanks for the suggestions, I am putting pumpkin granola on my next shopping list.

    • Jennifer

      Glad to hear we’re not the only ones who go to stores on dates. 🙂 You’ll love the pumpkin granola, but try and get it soon. I think it’s a seasonal item!

  3. Shannon Hall

    Just read this one and I can totally relate! My husband LOVES Trader Joe’s and one just opened down the street from us in February. I probably go there twice a week. Our favorite things are the garlic pizza dough, the “way more chocolate chips” cookies (I don’t think they’re that good, but Colby loves them), bean & cheese taquitos, sourdough bread, and grapefruit soda. And of course all the produce. I also love buying protein bars there because they’re so cheap!


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