For anyone who has read my posts on BuzzFeed, you'll know that I am a Trader Joe's fiend. But what you don't know is that my love for Trader Joe's was never a choice. It was instilled in me by my 92-year-old grandmother, Leonora.
So over the weekend, my grandma came into the city and we took a trip to Trader Joe's together so that she could give me the lay of the land.
So here is everything you need to know about shopping at Trader Joe's — what to buy, what to skip, and what to keep in mind — according to my Grandma Lenny.
Before we begin, it's essential that you hear my grandma's adorable voice so that you can imagine her narrating this post. Here is the toast she gave at my wedding from memory, roasting me the entire time. My friends are now urging Netflix to feature her in a series.
NOW BACK TO SHOPPING! At first, my grandma wasn't planning on doing her grocery shopping. She just wanted to show me her favorite products. Still, she grabbed a cart and headed for the produce aisle. "This makes it easier to walk around the store," she told me. She's a resourceful woman.
"The chopped salad kits are wonderful," grandma said. She couldn't decide on a single favorite as she loves them all. But she would not suggest the California rolls. "I bought your father the sushi here once and he wouldn't eat it," she told me. Oh, just try the sushi, dad 🙄
My grandma's absolute favorite thing at Trader Joe's is the BBQ-cut salmon. She told me she usually marinates it in apricot sauce then cook it in the oven for five minutes. I'm a bit skeptical of this recipe, but I can attest to the fact that the BBQ-cut salmon is excellent.
From there, we made our way to the snack aisle. I asked my grandma if she's ever tried the peanut butter stuffed pretzels, one of my favorite snacks. Her response: "No we don't buy that crap." But she does love the dunkers, the biscotti-like cookies she dips in coffee.
Lenny keeps kosher, so she doesn't eat a ton of the frozen food at Trader Joe's, however she said she hears everything frozen is delicious. "The people rave about the orange chicken," she said. Amen, Grandma, that stuff is good.
Before we left the frozen aisle, we took a quick stop to eat some mini mint ice cream sandwiches. P.S. They are great!
"Another shopper once told me the coffee ice cream is the best, and it is," Lenny said. "You talk to one another while you shop here and you're never lonely," she added.
Before we started shopping, my grandma said her favorite things about Trader Joe's are the affordable prices and the employees. "The help will always tell you if they've tried something delicious. Ask them and they'll tell you," she encouraged me.
One employee overheard that my grandma couldn't find her favorite soup, the tomato feta, and without asking she grabbed a tub of the soup from the back and delivered it to us. She also printed out a complete list of Trader Joe's kosher foods so my grandma could see all the foods she could try 😍.