When I lived on Vinalhaven, I discovered Trader Joe's. No, there was no store on the island but my house was stocked: condiments, pasta, spices… all with this brand name on them. I later found out my landlord's wife worked for the company. He told me to eat/use whatever I wanted in the house (I was going to be living there full time for a few years) so I did. First the marinated peppers and then the whole grain pasta… by the time I left, there was a little salt and pepper left but that was about it.  

Trader Joe's was good but felt very unattainable to me. Primarily, it's a city thing (and not online because they want to be your neighborhood store). Since it is a larger city thing, there are none in Maine. I didn't think I'd ever get to one. 

Well that all changed today folks. I'm in Boston for the weekend and since I brought my car this time, I helped my buddy Ally go grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. 

First of all, the tropical theme kind of struck me. "Are they all like this?" I asked. It seemed to put the pizazz back in grocery shopping. Then I started looking through the aisles.

I went to pay and the price was very reasonable. For example, the Emergence-C I usually buy at my local natural food store is normally around $15. At Trader Joe's, it was $8. Luna Bars that are normally $1.25 at the natural food store were $.99. Trader Joe's doesn't use coupons of have sales; according to the website, they just try to buy direct, keep corporate costs low, and sell perishables when they are in season. The result is that I looked at the prices and in addition to seeing a low unit price, nutritional information was prominently featured. Cheap and good, just how I like my food. 

In addition to having some staples that I always need (like a Vitamin C beverage), Trader Joe's seems like a good place to go if you need some fun appetizer to bring to a party. Thai lemon spiced cashews definitely went in my cart and perhaps if you throw a party and invite me, I'll bring them!

So I was happy to help out a friend and have my first Trader Joe's experience. I would have liked to get more frozen stuff to bring home but next time, I guess I'll have to bring a cooler. 

Are you similarly in awe and admiration of Trader Joe's?