Saturday, June 10, 2006


How much do I heart Trader Joe's and their special collector's ediction fearless flyer? If you didn't get one in the mail (and shame on you for not signing up for the Fearless Flyer) you can download one here. It's a little different state by state so apologies to the California folks (TJs took down the Cali fearless flyer rather soon although I will be honest and admit that this post is about a month late)

The special collector's edition fearless flyer features the top one-hundred and four (oh TJs aren't you wacky?) products as judged by their tasting panel. Which gives me an idea, I wonder what it would take to be on their tasting panel? That would be such a cool job. And I could send them a link to this blog as an example of my passion about TJs products.

The cutest most "California-Liberal-Hippy-Don't-Want-To-Offend-Anyone" thing about the special collector's edition is that they didn't want to put the list in any particular order, "to be fair." Aw. Did they think that the wasabi peas would be hurt that they were #104? Well luckily I'm not too much of a hippy ... here are my top 20 choices from the special collector's edition, IN ORDER, and wasabi peas, they made it to number 19. Hey, they are no carnitas (but don't tell em that I said that)

1. Carnitas – this is number one on my list because it’s my go to TJs meal. Anytime that I can’t think of something to get from TJs, I just get Carnitas, their enchilada sauce, number 2, number 3 and I have a delicious meal. Seriously this Carnitas is so tasty and easy to make that I’m surprised other grocery chains haven’t picked this up.

2. Avocado’s Number Guacamole – 5 avocadoes go into this guacamole and I’m not really sure why they even call it guacamole, since it’s really just mushed up Avocados. But that’s the type of guac that I love best. You will need to add flavors and spices to this “guac” if you are into that sort of thing. But I prefer just to pile it high on top of my Carnitas wrapped in handmade flour tortillas.

3. Truly Handmade Flour Tortillas – I’m not a big tortillas connoisseur but I knew I was on to something when even Paul asked where I got those handmade tortillas. These things are tasty, the only problem is that most of the time when you go to TJs they are gone, so snap them up right when you see them

4. Greek Yogurt – aw, the great Greek yogurt as anyone knows holds a special place in my heart for being my very first post to I heart TJs. This stuff is awesome and no you don’t have to buy the expensive kind (shout out to Cassandra) the private label stuff is just as good, trust me.

5. Peach Halves in White Grape Juice – again, what would I do without my peach halves in white grape juice? I’d seriously never ever ever eat peaches because I hate that gross furry peach fuzz stuff. But I love me the floating peach halves. Taste great in the Greek yogurt or buy themselves or with ice cream.

6. Fire roasted veggies w/ Balsamic Butter sauce – yummy these sure are tasty. I love anything that makes vegetables taste a little more tasty and this balsamic butter sauce does the trick.

7. Organic Three Cheese Pizza – all of TJs frozen pizzas are delicious (shout out to KrisTIN). This one is a nice simple snack of a thin crust pizza and delicious cheese. I like the suggestion to use it as a blank slate and add your own toppings. Maybe I can put some prosciutto on this (see number 16)

8. Super sweet canned corn – this stuff is great and it’s nice to just have around in your pantry along with the organic pinto beans just in case you have Mexican food night (see numbers 1, 2, and 3 above)

9. Roma Tomatoes – my least favorite thing about tomatoes is all the tomato water and seeds that always sprays out when you are slicing them. My favorite thing about roma tomatoes? Less water and seeds that spray out when you are slicing them than the average tomato.

10. Penne from Italy – this is really tasty penne and the price! 69 cents! Beat that Barilla! (that’s the pasta that I usually get when I go to those other grocery stores)

11. Vanilla almond clusters – I do really love this cereal but mostly it made the list since Paul luuuuuuuuuuuuuvs this cereal. And it didn’t make it higher on the list because I feel like the flake to cluster ratio isn’t as strong as I would like it to be. Thank god for cereal mixing (TM those kids in the college dining hall that taught me the magic of cheerios and lucky charms). I usually buy a big ol’ box of TJs Corn Flakes and add more flakes to my Vanilla Almond Clusters. TJs also has a whole line of cluster cereals (cranberry, raisin, you get the idea) so don’t just limit yourself to the vanilla almond, although that really is the tastiest.

12. Penne Peppernata – this stuff is soooooooooooo delicious. The only problem is that the bag is about 1000 calories which is sad because I’ve totally accidentally eaten the entire bag once because it is so delicious. So I’m just saying you have to watch out on this one.

13. Tuna Salad Sandwich on Pretzel bread – I love me the tuna sandwiches (seriously I think I get a tuna sandwich from Subway about once a week, should I be worried about the mercury? isn't mercury a suppliment in some parts of the world?) and the extra special thing about the TJs tuna sandwich is the pretzel bread which is super duper tasty.

14. Slice Muenster Cheese – I’m starting to detect a common theme here, TJs does all the work for me in the kitchen so I can enjoy my favorite foods without having to lift a slicer. Muenster Cheese sure is yummy but it’s so much tastier when it comes pre-sliced

15. Mandarin Oranges- these little puppies are a must have when you get the TJs Chinese Chicken Salad, they add color and a zesty taste

16. Prosciutto – I never knew about prosciutto until TJs (sorry Dad) but this stuff is good, way better than Oscar Meyer ham in water.

17. Diced Onions in a Zipper Bag – no slicing of the onions? Are you kidding? I don’t even cook with onions that often but because they now come pre-sliced, maybe I will.

18. Complete Spinach Salad Kit – seriously who makes salad from scratch anymore? Okay my dad and probably millions of other people who haven’t discovered the magic of salad kits. But I have to be honest sometimes I still buy the individual parts of salad kits because I like to have more servings than the kit offers, that’s why this wasn’t higher on the list.

19. Wasabi Peas – these little suckers are addictive, but I needed to take a break for a couple of months because I couldn’t stop eating them. Wasabi + Peas = delicious. Try em. Seriously I know they sound weird but you might like em and they are a relatively low calorie snack.

20. Fresh Cut Mango – again with the less work to eat a fruit that is just so tasty. I don’t think I’ve even ever thought about cutting up a mango in my life. Which would be a wonderful life skill if I ever got stranded on a tropical island through a mysterious magnetic force that pulled my airplane to its doom (Lost). But since I try to avoid flying over water, I’ll let TJs cut my mangoes for me.


tia said...

Ok - I have to disagree with you about the wasabi peas. They are actually the main reason I go to trader joes - you can't get those little suckers anywhere else.
Also, have you looked into why TJs isn't carrying Ben and Jerry's anymore?

ilana said...

I think Kristen can tell you where you can get the wasabi peas, they are in asian groceries around LA, but I agree when you are in a wasabi pea mood it's just easier to go to Trader Joe's.

I didn't actually notice that they weren't carrying Ben and Jerry's that was so nice. But usually if they discontinue something it's because they can't get a good price on it anymore.

Have you tried Sharon's sorbet instead? I know it's no Ben and Jerry's but I love all the sorbets and they are only $1.99. My favorite flavor is passion fruit.

Kartik said...

I am really sorry because you must have put a lot of effort into this posting, but I just cannot possibly read this much. I will move on to your next posting.

Wasabi peas, though, are overrated. They are ok, but don't have enough wasabi, and I always eat too many and feel gross.

ilana said...

I didn't put nearly as much effort into this post as I did into this post about the fearless flyer.

And you are right, Wasabi peas can become gross if you eat too much. I too have felt a little sick after a bag of Wasabi peas. But the good kind of sick, not the bad kind of sick.