If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s near you, then you probably know what all the fuss is about. With 415 locations nationwide, an overflowing cheese selection, endless aisle of surprisingly delicious frozen food, and super affordable prices, it’s no wonder people drive over two hours to shop there every now and then.
Here are some of my favorite items from the chain:
Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing
Konichiwa! I finally found a GINGER DRESSING that tastes exactly like the one they serve in Japanese restaurants. I’m not going to lie this dressing is so good you’ll want to drink it… but then there’ll be none for your salad so lets not go there, and drinking salad dressing is probably not acceptable. Simple ingredients equal tasty results. It’s made with Carrot, Water, Ginger Puree, White Miso, Rice Vinegar, and shallots. It fresh and flavorful, and the texture is on point! I cant tell you how many bottles I’ve gone through trying to find the perfect ginger dressing. The search ends here my friends… you can find it in the refrigerated section by the salads.
Chocolate Lava Cakes
If you’re a dessert fan, then you know what the deal is when you see Chocolate Lava Cake on the menu. If you haven’t stumbled upon this gem at Trader Joe’s in the frozen dessert section, then you’ve been missing out. They come two to a package, and guilty as charged I buy two boxes at a time. You pop one in the microwave for less than two minutes, and just like that, you have a delicious dessert for date night, or all to yourself which is even better! The cake is filled with a bubbling chocolate center that’s rich, warm, and delectably dangerous! A scoop of vanilla ice cream, or cold glass of milk will put you into a food coma… the good kind!
Side of fries please! That’s exactly what you get when you put Spud Crunchies in your cart. Throw those boring old chips in the garbage that accompany your sandwich you take to work. Replace them with these bad boys. A mix between a chip and a fry, dip them in ketchup and it’s like you’re chowing down on McDonald’s fries. No lie! Did I mention that they’re GLUTEN FREE?! Hip, Hip, Hooray! Grab two bags… you’ll thank me later.
(I’m sad to say but this item has been discontinued) A hybrid mix between a citrus fruit and kumquat, the Calamansi fruit is popular throughout the Philippines, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia. After hearing about the drink from one of the cashiers, I was intrigued. The taste is tangy, light, and refreshing! Somewhat like a lemonade, but with an enjoyable tartness that shies away from it being a “sweet” juice. It comes in a 4-pack, and I wish it came in a 6-pack! I can see it being great in a cocktail, but it’s a standing ovation winner on its own!
Tempura shrimp can now be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home, without the take-out boxes I might add! For just about $8, TJ’s tempura shrimp comes with 10 pieces of battered shrimp. Packaged in two, each individual package contains 5 pieces, along with a packet of soy dipping sauce. If you’re cooking for one, I usually make one individual package, along with a scoop of TJ’s vegetable fried rice, or jasmine rice, which makes a delicious dinner. I like to fry my shrimp in a saucepan of vegetable oil, but my mom pops hers in the oven for a consistently crispy and satisfying dish!
I’ve been enjoying Trader Joe’s pot stickers for quite sometime now! Just like the Tempura Shrimp, I like to pair it with rice to make a quick Asian meal. Depending on how you like your dumplings, you can steam, bake, or pan fry them which is my preferred method, I like them nice and crispy! They make a great appetizer for when you’re entertaining, and they also sell vegetable pot-stickers for your vegetarian friends!
Trader Joe’s Face Mask Trio
The three R’s of skin care, that’s what this trio targets. Refresh, Renew, and Restore. The package comes with three 2 Oz bottles of different masks, formulated to aid certain skin impurities. One is a CLAY Mask designed to unclog pores and remove excess oils. It’s made with two different types of clay, and contains orange peel oil, lavender oil, and sandalwood oil to combat skin dehydration. This mask left my skin feeling super smooth and clean! The second one is a pineapple papaya enzyme mask. The ingredient that drew me toward this one was aloe plant, which is known to heal scarring. Papaya is rich with vitamin C, A, and E. It can help with dark spots, shedding dead skin cells, wrinkle repair, and moisturizer. Last but not least, my favorite, the Rose Gel mask made with rose flower extract and rose-hip oil that acts as a gentle astringent. This hydration mask has a soft rose scent that will leave you feeling like a delicate flower.
Hash Brown Patties
I think we all can agree that McDonald’s hash browns are done just right! Even if you’re not keen on the fast food chain, after a night of drinking, those greasy pressed potatoes fried to a crisp are just the thing to get you going, with a side of coffee of course. Trader Joe’s hash brown patties in the frozen food aisle are like a dream come true! No more waking up at the crack of dawn just to get your hands on some bomb browns. No more sliding through the drive-thru, just slide on over to your freezer, and get things rolling. I personally like to fry it in a pan of vegetable oil until it’s golden brown. But I’ve baked mine in the toaster oven on lazier mornings.
These make a great Saturday or Sunday morning pastry if you remember to put them out the night before. This is very important, as the dough needs to rise overnight! When you take them out of the box, they’ll look small and compressed, but you’ll be blown away in the morning when you see how high they’ve risen! Brush them with some egg yolk for a shiny golden brown finish, and pop them in the oven! The result is a rich, warm, and super flaky, croissant that’ll make you question how you ever lived without them! I almost get mad at myself if I ever forget to put them out the night before, because it just means I’ll have to wait another day to enjoy one.
If there’s ever something that you’re unhappy with from Trader Joe’s, take it back, no questions asked! Sometimes, if you’re curious about how an item tastes, an employee will open a package right on the sales floor for you to try, and they usually have in-store demo’s running. If all those items weren’t enough to get you headed toward your nearest Trader Joe’s, check back regularly for more updates as I try new things. If there’s something you think I’d LOVE from TJ’s, feel free to let me know!