I’m in love with a guy named Joe.
It is one of the great tragedies of my Western New York existence that there are no Trader Joe’s within a 200 mile radius. Not a one. There’s one slated to open in State College, PA, in 2012, which will be a mere 163 miles away. It’s probably a little over a 3ish hour drive one way
which I actually know for sure because I already MapQuested it, but really, that’s a small price to pay for a TJ’s.
Now, me and Joe, we only met a year ago. But it was one of those sweep-you-off-your-feet meetings that does you in forever. I’m now hopelessly devoted to Joe. And while I don’t fault him for not wanting to move into a town so wholly devoted to another (Weg)man, I still wish he’d give it a go. We’re capable of loving both (maybe not equally…I mean…have you seen the Pittsford Wegmans? or read my 87 posts about it? but still!).
The good news is that my parents live less than 2 hours from the Trader Joe’s in Hadley, MA. Consequently we’ve created a new family tradition when I’m home for a long weekend: the Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods/Yankee Candle trip. They’re all within 20 minutes of each other! It’s so wonderful!
On our most recent excursion, I picked up the following:
From Whole Foods…
Larabars! Now, truth be told, Wegmans really does have a respectable selection of Larabars and sells them for a reasonable price. However, Whole Foods was running a special, 4 for $5, and you just can’t beat that. PLUS, there were so many flavors that I never even knew existed! Carrot Cake?! Banana Bread?! Gingersnap, Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate Hazelnut?!?! Oh my land. Somehow I’ve managed to pace myself and still have the Carrot Cake and Chocolate Hazelnut left, but the other three were delicious!
From Yankee Candle…
Do you see that restraint? TWO votives, that’s all! Cinnamon Roll and Mountain Berry. The huge jar was a bonus from my parents’ order, a $10 steal. And p.s., I love the new Yankee Candle bags and bottom design. Great job, graphic designers!
And also from Yankee Candle via the internally located Popcornopolis:
The best caramel corn in the history of caramel corn. Each piece is perfectly coated with a crunchy layer of salty sweet caramel. It’s heaven in a bag.
And now…what we’ve all been waiting for…the spoils from Trader Joe’s!
First, the collaboration of all of my hopes and dreams: S’mashing S’mores. Little squares of graham cracker topped with a marshmallow and covered in milk chocolate, just waiting for a microwave! Though I do love my traditional method of s’more roasting, these are great in a pinch. You know, when the overwhelming need for s’mores arises and it’s too difficult to break a cracker, add two toppings, and put it under a broiler.
Next: Sunflower Seed Butter. I’ve been wanting to try it forever and since it’s been popping up on food blogs everywhere, my craving intensified exponentially. It’s usually a million dollars a jar because apparently most stores charge $1 per seed, but at good ole TJ’s it was a mere $3.99. And worth every penny!
When it comes to these Powerberries, it’s probably a good thing we are separated by over 200 miles. Otherwise, I’d put on 200 lbs. These are SO good. So, so good. They didn’t last long. This bag…or the second one.
Best dried mango ever. No contest. And the packaging wasn’t damaged…I just ripped into it on the drive home. I had to! It was calling out to me!
And quite possibly the biggest draw of Trader Joe’s: the never ending varieties of affordable trail mix. Seriously, I could stock pile this stuff in survival kit quantities and still go back for more. I think this one is my favorite of all though; who would have thought that dried raspberries would be so good?
Now, Joe, let’s talk about franchising opportunities in the greater Rochester area. If you take collateral in the form of promised purchases, I’m all in.