It was pouring rain this morning, but that didn’t matter to fans who sat in their cars at 5 a.m., waiting outside the newest Trader Joe’s in Ft. Worth for the popular grocery chain to open its first store in Texas at 8 a.m. When doors opened, shoppers flooded through the produce aisles grabbing shiny cherry tomatoes, lingered in the frozen food section searching for their favorite meatballs, and made sure they placed that one special TJ item they’ve been living without inside their shopping carts. You could hear everyone breathing one collective sigh of relief. Trader Joe’s is finally here, and there’s no need to call Aunt Judy who lives in San Diego to ship a box of Two Buck Chucks anymore. We can all get our TJ goodies in Ft. Worth now.
If you’re not familiar with Trader Joe’s, worry not. I’ve compiled a grocery list for you that will make your shopping experience as smooth as whipped cream. I also asked random TJ shoppers to give me their input. Everyone was so obliging and terribly drunk on TJ love.
Jump for the grocery list.
#1 The Move Theater Popcorn
Melissa Carter came to TJs for the Movie Theater Popcorn. “It’s my absolute favorite, and it tastes just like the movie theater’s popcorn without all the fattening stuff.”
#2 Speculoos Cookie Batter
The label says it all: “A deliciously unusual spread reminiscent of gingerbread and made with crushed biscuits.” Spread it on waffles, thick bread, and crackers. Dip veggies or pretzels inside to feel healthy… or just say ”screw it” and stick a whole finger inside the jar.
#3 Garlic naan (bread)
Doug Campbell, Trader Joe’s head Captain, loves the garlic naan. ”I love it because you can just pop it in the oven or toaster, and it’s ready in a couple minutes.”
#4 Wood Oven Pizzas
Campbell is also really, really into the frozen pizzas. “They’re handcrafted, made in Italy, and I just love the fact they’ve got so much flavor. They’re as good as any pizzeria out there.”
#5 Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Katherine Chu, mother of toddler Kelsey, only had a few items in her shopping cart. One of them was a tub of Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies with cookies that looked like they could fit well in a small child’s hand. Chu likes them because “they have a coconut taste.”
#6 Two Buck Chucks (pictured at the top)
Charles Shaw’s bargain-priced premium wine made from California grapes. Sadie and Ryan Saullo like this wine “because it’s $2.99 each.” There’s Cabernet Sauvignon, White Zinfandel, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Valdiguie in the style of Beaujolais nouveau, and Pinot Grigio. People buy these by the crate.
#7 and 8 Mandarin Orange Chicken and Fat Free Caribbean Fruit Floes
Andre and Kena Cox each picked their favorite TJ item. Kena chose the Fat Free Caribbean Fruit Floes because they’re “made with flo and it replaces your electrolytes.” She got them for her kids. Andre picked the frozen Mandarin orange chicken. Apparently, that’s also a popular TJ item.
#9 My year-long obsession: Cats Cookies.
A tub of these Cats Cookies (only $2.49 per tub!!) disappears within a couple days if I’m not careful. The ginger flavor is the best. It’s snappy like a crocodile.
#10 Gummy Tummies
Liz got me hooked on these penguin gummies with artificial fruit juice in their tummies. She wasn’t too happy that I came back from my TJ excursion without them. My excuse is that the whole place was a madhouse. I grabbed only the essentials before I stood in a slow-moving line: cookie butter, Cat Cookies, a Two Buck Chuck, and trail mix. They’re all I need in life.