Monday, February 20, 2006

FEARLESS FLYER February 2006!

Yeah! It's Fearless Flyer time! How can you not love a grocery store that gets this excited over new products?

For those of you who aren't aware of the magic of the Fearless Flyer, every couple of months (I would guess quarterly but Trader Joe's doesn't seem to fly by anyone's rules but their own) Trader Joe's releases a Peterman-esque catalog of the new products that it is introducing into its store. Besides of course all the wonderful new products to look forward to, the best thing about the Fearless Flyer is the time that the Fearless Flyer authors put into selling these foods.

In case you haven't signed up to get a Fearless Flyer in the mail, you can download them here.

Yes I do admit that when it comes in the mail, I happily sit down with a pen and blank piece of paper to create my Fearless Flyer Shopping List™. The Fearless Flyer Shopping List™ consists of products that the Fearless Flyer convinces you to try because:

  1. the product actually sounds delicious, regardless of the magical spell the Fearless Flyer writers have woven
  2. the prose that the Fearless Flyer writers have created is so good that you just want to reward them by giving their product a try
  3. wow that price is too good to be true, I need to get me some of [insert TJ's product here]
  4. oh yeah I forgot that TJ’s sold that, thanks Fearless Flyer for reminding me of that

Here's my Fearless Flyer Shopping List™ for the February 2006 Fearless Flyer, with some snippets of the best of the best of the Fearless Flyer writing. I actually already went shopping with my list, so I'm going to have some editorializing on the products as well. Viva La Fearless Flyer!

Note: All products are Trader Joe's Brand unless otherwise noted.

Gala Apple Juice (64oz $1.99)
I'm a huge Gala apple fan so of course I got excited about this one. Also I'm a huge apple juice fan; it's a fantastic juice option, especially when you aren't in the mood for the acidic taste of orange juice. So what could be better than Gala Apple juice?

Well, it’s this murky brown color which reminds me of the yucky apple cider that my dad used to buy, but also makes me feel like I'm drinking something a little bit more natural and healthy than the clear apple juice that still makes me kind of feel like a kid when I drink it. So yeah the color turned me off, but luckily the tasting station at my local Trader Joe's had some for me to try and it tastes delicious! Just like regular apple juice only with a little more apple taste and a little less sugar water taste.

Paul complained a little bit about the juice and said that it gave him heartburn, and unfortunately I've gotten heartburn from it too, but don't let that stop you from trying it! Maybe your heart is made of sturdier stuff than ours.

Also how can you beat this, seriously I have to give a shout out to the Native American Gala Apple juice makers:

FF: Our supplier is a juice company owned by a Pacific Northwest tribe who also grow their own apples on 2,000 acres of Native American tribal lands in the state of Washington. The apples are turned into juice in the tribe's juice plant and bottled in the tribe's bottling facility.

Organic High Fiber O's (16oz $2.49)
I'm sure these are going to taste awful since anything with 10 grams of dietary fiber is very good for you and yet awful tasting. Although my Fearless Flyer reassures me that the O's are "super crunchy with a little nutty flavor and just a touch of sweetness." Of course I'm willing to try anything that's better for me than Cocoa Rice Krispies (which I've recently rediscovered thanks to Paul's recommendation against Cocoa Puffs since they "hurt your teeth" true dat). Plus I can always add as much sugar to it as I want and negate the good for me-ness.

Just A Handful Of Roasted Unsalted Almonds (15.6 oz $5.99)
FF: Each bag contains 1.2 ounces of almonds, just the amount the FDA has determined should be eaten daily to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

How much do I heart Trader Joes??? They totally know what it means to want to eat almonds, but also go over board on the almond eating. So they pre-package the almonds to save me from myself. Which allows me to live longer and consume more almonds, of course. Smart business move and I love them for it!

Boneless Skinless Salmon Fillets in a Cooking bag (1 lb $7.59)
FF: Each tray contains an oven-able bag with two fillets of farm-raised Norwegian salmon. It's ready to be cooked, without any further work on your part... In less than ten minutes, the bag comes out of the oven, the fish comes out of the bag and you come out looking like a master chef!

It's like they looked into my brain and created a totally fool proof way to cook salmon. I know that salmon is really good for you, and I've been trying to cook salmon for a couple of years now, but it always ends up stinking up my entire kitchen and messing up one of my pans. I ran right out and bought this, and I might even try it tonight, although all this blogging has made me a little tired and a little too lazy to even put this bag in a microwave. How lazy is that?

New England Clam Chowder (12 oz $3.49)
What we like about it most is that it tastes like homemade chowder. It's creamy but not too thick. It's loaded with clams, but not at all fishy. And it has big chunks of potato, just like New England Clam Chowder should.

Bring Trader Joe's! I love New England Clam Chowder, especially when it is heavy on the cream and light on the fishy. I'll let you all know how it tastes ASAP.

Uncured Applewood Smoked Bacon (12oz $3.99)
We have a confession to make. While we love sophisticated exotic and unique foods, if there's one thing we love more than just about anything, it’s bacon.

Oh lord, again, the Fearless Flyer writers looked deep within my heart! I actually got this bacon based on the funny writing, and I have to admit, it's pretty good bacon. A little pricey for bacon, because as any true bacon connoisseur knows, bacon is bacon. Except for Canadian bacon, which seems like a really good idea but just isn't the same.

Banana Bread Mix (15 oz $1.99)
FF: Any way you choose to prepare it, Trader Joe's Banana Bread Mix makes bread that tastes like you spent hours mixing and blending and baking - and if people think you did, well, we won't tell if you won't!

Ha! I'm detecting a theme here. Trader Joe's is my co-conspirator in the kitchen, allowing me to lie my way through domesticity! Actually Paul knows that I don't cook, I just Heat Up™.

I have to admit that I bought the banana bread mix because the Fearless Flyer writers told me it was easy to cook. And it actually was, it only took me approximately 6 minutes to mix all the ingredients together, clean the bowl and pour the mixture into a bread pan. The oven did the majority of the work, cooking the bread for 45 minutes. And it was truly delicious, although I ended up using Canola oil instead of vegetable oil, so it tasted a little strange. And yes I will Mix It Up™ again (because something this easy can't be called cooking), only this time with vegetable oil.

Sliced Sourdough Bread (24oz $1.69)
FF: And the price of $1.69 for a 24 ounce loaf really is the best thing since sliced bread.

Har!Har! Any grocery store flyer that can make me chuckle deserves my business.

Figs & Feta Salad With Raspberry Vinaigrette (8.4oz $3.79) (not listed as Trader Joe's Brand I'll have to check on that)
FF: Figs and feta are a natural marriage of taste and texture and give this salad both its name and its signature flavor profile.

Thai Joe's Lemongrass Chicken Stix (10 Stix $2.99)
FF: How best to describe our new Chicken Stix? Well, think of them as Asian flavored taquitos, or flautas.

You had me at taquito, Trader Joe's.

Tequila Lime Jalapeno Breaded Shrimp (12oz $5.69)
FF: Remove shrimp from package ... [and] place on baking sheet in oven. Leave kitchen and enjoy your guests. Live dangerously; pour yourself a glass of wine... Remove shrimp from oven and place on serving tray. Take one shrimp for yourself (trust us on this one) and take serving tray to guests. Retrieve wine. Enjoy shrimp and conversation. Repeat as necessary.

Who the heck needs Martha Stewart when you have Trader Joe to give you life and cooking advice?

Double Crème Brie (1lb $4.99)
FF: Time to dispel a myth in the world of cheese: Brie is not just a French cheese. While its origins may lie in France, the fact is, Brie of outstanding quality is made the world over. Trader Joe's Double Crème Brie comes from a Canadian supplier of award-winning, European style cheeses.

Thank you Trader Joe's for clearing that up. Although I'm sure there is some stupid French law about not calling Brie outside the French Brie region Brie (like Champagne anywhere else in the world is Sparkling Wine which makes it sound a little like sparkling water and also sound a little stupid and I'm sure that was deliberate). Also how can I not love that your number one reason to buy Trader Joe's Canadian Brie is "1. It's Brie... 'Nuff said."

Chocolate Sunflower Seed Drops (7.5oz tub $2.99)
FF: You may have seen similar items in high-end catalogs or expensive gourmet markets. Ours are different in a couple of very important ways. First we worked tirelessly with the supplier to make a unique version that was free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. That's right, all the colors you see are derived from natural sources. It's true. Second is our price. While others are selling small packages of treats like these at ludicrously high prices, we're selling our "clean" version in a 7.5 oz resealable tub for only $2.99.

My guess is that it is truly a bitch to be a Trader Joe's supplier. NO! WE SAID NO ARTIFICAIL COLORS AND ONLY 1CENT A SEED! That being said, thanks Trader Joe's for whipping your suppliers into submission so that I can have delicious and cheap Chocolate Sunflower Seeds.

Chocolate Flavored Tea (20 bags $2.29)
FF: Chocolate tea is quite a hot property these days. It's hard to argue with that distinctive chocolate taste, a toasty warm beverage and - what's this - no sugar.

I have no friggin' idea what this is going to taste like, but I'm intrigued, Fearless Flyer writers.

Steel Cut Oatmeal (16 oz $1.59)
FF: We were as surprised as you probably are to discover frozen oatmeal. But this is not ordinary oatmeal... Steel cut oats are denser than rolled oats, and create heartier, chewier oatmeal. Making this type of oatmeal from scratch can take as long as 40 minutes - 40 minutes of constant stirring. And stirring. And still more stirring.

I'm pretty sure this is the type of oatmeal that South Beach guy wants me to eat so I will go ahead and try this. With plenty of added sugar of course.

Etc. about the Fearless Flyer:

  • You know how Trader Joe's has those funny names for its specialty foods, like Trader Giotto's for its Italian line? Well how funny is this, their vitamins are from Trader Darwin. I love a company with such a cheeky sense of humor.
  • Fearless Flyer also throws out random quotes throughout the flyer: We think Frank Lloyd said it best: "Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity." Indulge your inner artist - eat well.
  • They also throw out Philosophy, TJ's style: Sartre: "Man is not the sum of what he has but the totality of what he does not yet have, of what he might have." Joe: "Have a cookie, find fulfillment."
  • I guess I should technically call this post Cliff Notes for the Fearless Flyer. I didn't realize how long and detailed the Fearless Flyer was until I started blogging about it.


Kartik said...

This post is way too beast of a post for me to even begin to effectively reply to it. So instead I will focus on just 2 things:

1) This is awesome and you are about 4.2x geekier for doing it: Fearless Flyer Shopping List™. Not only did you TM something you made up, but you did the superscript small-font TM. And in bold to top it all off! Truly, truly great.

2) I love that on the page that you linked to where you can download the Fearless Flyer that they spell Adobe™, "Adbobe". Because then it sounds like ad-bobee, which is funny. And second, I love that as a state, not only has California become an island in the Pacific, but Northern California and Southern California are now 2 separate states.

But isn't this statement (also from TJ's web site) redundant? "This Flyer is like our storybook of product stories..." Well, it wouldn't be a storybook if it didn't have stories. They really could have shortened this sentence to, "The Flyer is like our product storybook..."

ilana said...

Kartik: First of all I commend you for reading the entire post! Yes it was truly a beast of a post.

To you points:

1)I'm glad the TM got me geek points, but that was just a copy/paste from Microsoft Word so really Bill Gates did all the work.

2)I hate Adobe. Mostly because PDF files don't really work in Firefox and even though I got an extension that was supposed to help with that is still always messes up Firefox whenever I have an Adobe file I need to open. Like when I tried to see what the Fearless Flyer looked like for my parent's Trader Joe's in West Hartford, it just crashed Firefox.

It's funny I thought about posting that statement about the Fearless Flyer but I thought that what I said (Peterman-eque catalog of new products) was much more succicint. And a Seinfeld reference.

Anonymous said...

nice idea..thanks for sharing....