Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shopping Dec. 3 - Dec. 10 -- TRADER JOE'S!!

This week something wonderful happend. Something I've been waiting for a long, long time. Trader Joe's opened in Oak Park.

For those unfamiliar, Trader Joe's is owned by the same company as Aldi, but is so, so much more than Aldi. It's aimed at a high-end and urban hipster audience, and yet -- and yet -- unlike other high-end chains like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's actually sells many or even most items at more reasonable prices than mid-range grocery stores like Safeway or Jewel. Especially good deals can be found there on organics and natural stuff.

Walking into the new Trader Joe's was like a homecoming for me. They hire people with such great, friendly personalities that it's almost like walking into a favorite bar. We had one in walking distance from our apartment in San Francisco. In Chicago, I had to drive to the closest one but still, I got there about once a month. Here in Oak Park, I know plenty of moms who make occasional pilgrimmages to a TJs near the Brookfield Zoo, but I really don't like to drive to get groceries at all, much less that far. So I've been doing without.

So, instead of going through everything I spent this week, I want to talk about how having a TJs will change my shopping. It won't stop me from clipping coupons altogether (like Aldi, many of TJs' products are house brands or brands that you don't see many coupons for; I'm also not sure if they even accept coupons), but there are certain things that I will no longer bother looking for at other stores because I will routinely buy them at TJs:

1) peanut butter -- Since I read that this is one of the most important foods to buy organic, our house has been woefully short of this staple. No more! From now on we're getting organic, natural peanut butter for $2.99 a jar. I just wish they sold bigger jars. (By the way, if you care about natural pb but not the organic part, I think their regular stuff is only $1.79 a jar.)

2) whole wheat couscous @ $1.99 a box. You hardly ever even see this stuff at other stores.

3) organic yogurt @ $2.99 for 32 oz. That's less than many brands charge for non-organic.

4) organic tofu @ $1.79 for 20 ounces

5) organic hummus @ $1.99 for I forget how many ounces, your average hummus container

6) 12 oz. organic whole wheat pasta for $1.25 (I didn't get any this time because of all that Wild Harvest pasta I have on hand)

I also picked up some fresh and frozen organic fruit at pretty good prices, as well as some favorite TJs treats that I will probably not be able to spring for every time, like the chocolate peanut butter pretzels ($3.29) and instant miso soup ($3.29 for I think only 4 packets). And of course, once I'm done being pregnant Charles Shaw wine will be on my list as well.


Mandy said...

I am so happy for you! I have a TJ's about a 1/4 mile away I visit often. Spencer loves that store because it is the only one around that 1)has carts his size that he can drive and 2)gives him a balloon or stickers when he leaves.

Becky said...

Congratulations! When our TJ's opened down the road, like you, it was the last store from our California days that I'd been missing.

I like their store brand of coffee too. And they have the best cut flowers of anywhere around here.

Carrie said...

Oh, HELL yes, the coffee is good. The only thing Illinois TJs lack that California ones have: liquor. We used to buy Trader Joe's brand single malt scotch, and for what it was, it was pretty reasonable. That's just as well for me right now; it already just doesn't seem like Christmas to me without a (few) little glasses of scotch.

Rob Sidio said...

Trader Joe's rocks! We have been shopping there for years. We moved back to Oak Park recently and I swore I would not move until the TJ deal was inked.

The Village government in Oak Park is full horrible people which is amazing when you think of how Oak Parkers perceive themselves.

Oh well it only took 5 years for the store to open.