The retail gods have smiled upon Utah County; Trader Joe’s opens this week.
For those unfamiliar, Trader Joe’s is a sort of specialty grocery store, with organic and fresh foods being at the forefront of the product options; not to mention a strong cult following.
And we get it, organic can feel like an elitist word, especially when Whole Foods charges $20 for a grape. Not literally, but it seems like it by the time you get that receipt. Trader Joes has items that fit every budget, whether you’re looking for grass-fed beef or a cheap jar of quality salsa.
To truly understand Trader Joe’s, you have to just experience it first-hand. For the uninitiated, we asked our readers to tell us their favorite items for your first Trader Joe’s run.
-Kurt Hanson, Daily Herald
It sounds like a weird choice, but popcorn with a hint of dill and salt flavoring is next level. Pickle popcorn is a must for an easy snack.
Ever wonder what to do with only 10 minutes to cook up dinner? Trader Joe’s’ mandarin orange chicken is your answer. Just dump the bag of frozen, precooked orange chicken into a skillet, thaw out the orange sauce, and drizzle it on top. It’s a quick and tasty way to feed the family.
Specialty ice cream
Once you’ve had your last bite of orange chicken, cool down on one of Trader Joes’s’ many specialty ice creams, like mango ice cream, Joe-Joe’s ‘n cream (named after their iconic Joe-Joe’s sandwich cookies), and Cookie Butter Ice cream, with flavors from their well-known biscoff cookie butter spread.
This is often the first thing people think of when they think Trader Joe’s. Joe-Joe’s are, at first glance, just a knock-off of Oreos. But with a wide range of seasonal flavors, they’ve gained a distinct following.
Blueberry vanilla goat cheese
The cheese selection at Trader Joe’s rivals most dairies, but the blueberry vanilla goat cheese log is a fan favorite. Spread a bit of this chevre on any of Trader Joe’s’ cracker selections for a tasty snack.
Ah, yes, cookie butter. Cookie butter is probably the most popular item at Trader Joe’s’ and the most requested by our readers. Cookie butter is biscoff and gingerbread-flavored spread, similar to peanut butter. But with much more calories. But hey, more calories means more taste, right?
There’s usually a whole row of dried fruit at Trader Joe’s and one favorite of our readers is the dried white peaches. They’re sweet and flavorful and are convenient trail snacks.
Spice up any meal with a dash of Trader Joes’s’ curry sauces. Whether it’s red, yellow, green or anything in between, you can make a delicious curry in a hurry.
Dark chocolate peanut butter cups
We get it, people either love or hate dark chocolate. But add peanut butter the center, and you have dark chocolate peanut butter cups, a classic staple of Trader Joe’s.
Whether you want just a good old marinara or want a little more flavor, Trader Joe’s is a favorite for cheap, delicious pasta sauce. You can grab a jar of harvest pasta or vodka sauce for a couple of bucks and have a savory pasta for dinner easily.