For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."
Recently, I engaged in a conversation with a few friends about what specific items we buy from Trader Joe's, 5600 N. Port Washington Rd.
No one, it seems, goes there for their main shopping experience of the week, but lots of folks seem to swing by frequently or occasionally to grab particular items – and whatever else happens to "jump" into their cart.
Here is a list of items I always buy (when available) at TJ's and will travel across town for. And feel free to share your favorite items via the Talkback feature.
1. Edamame. Trader Joe's frozen edamame is the most flavorful edamame I have ever eaten. It is so rich that it almost tastes like there's butter on it. I buy two or three bags at a time because this item has gotten so popular, it's sometimes out of stock.
2. Citrus body wash. For years, this was under $2 a bottle (it's now, I believe, just over $2). I love the wake-you-up zingyness of this stuff. Plus, it lathers well so you don't need to use very much per washing.
3. "Two Buck Chuck." It's actually "Three Buck Chuck" here in Wisconsin for a bottle of Charles Shaw wine. This is Trader Joe's house brand vino, and for the price, you can't beat it. Or maybe I've been drinking it for so long now my taste buds are dumbed down. It doesn't matter. At least two bottles of the Cab Sav wind up in my cart every time.
4. Tortilla chips. I love the selection, from flax seed to longboard shaped, and the TJ's chip aisle is now on my short list of happy places. I have tried so many different chips over the years, something I almost never buy at a "regular" grocery store. But this is both the beauty and the curse of TJ's: it makes me adventuresome and splurgey.
5. Speaking of splurgey, I also find myself wanting to buy a tub of ginger snaps every time I'm in there. I could not eat ginger for years because I ate so much of it to fight morning sickness when I was pregnant with my son, but I nibbled on one of these spicy cookies last years after almost a decade of going ginger-free and now I can't gobble enough of 'em.
1) Wine (don't like $2 Chuck, but plenty of other decent, inexpensive bottles to choose from for a non-wine snob like me -- I try to keep it under $5 a bottle)
2) Mango lemonade
3) Used to get the Southwest Salmon every time we went there, but it hasn't been very good for about the last year for some reason, and has risen in price, so it's dropped off the list.
(in no particular order...)
1.) Roasted Gorgonzola flavored oven crisp crackers
2.) Tuscan White Bean hummus
3.) Chicken Shu Mai (dumplings) - so quick and easy, great with their peanut sauce
4.) Mini Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Wedges - only 100 calories!
5.) Toscano Cheese with Black Pepper
*they have so many great products though! It's a very rare occasion that I can pass up the cheap wine too!
1) Spinach/Artichoke dip - Game day must!
2) Cinnamon Sugar grinder - perfect for morning coffee
3) Chicken Sticks Dog Snacks
4) Vegetable Succotash
5) Mini Chicken Potpies
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