Happy Trader Joe’s Day! Here Are Ten Items You Should Add to Your Shopping Cart

Photographic proof of the outside (left); Two Buck Chucks (right) photos by Carol Shih

It was pouring rain this morning, but that didn’t matter to fans who sat in their cars at 5 a.m., waiting outside the newest Trader Joe’s in Ft. Worth for the popular grocery chain to open its first store in Texas at 8 a.m. When doors opened, shoppers flooded through the produce aisles grabbing shiny cherry tomatoes, lingered in the frozen food section searching for their favorite meatballs, and made sure they placed that one special TJ item they’ve been living without inside their shopping carts. You could hear everyone breathing one collective sigh of relief. Trader Joe’s is finally here, and there’s no need to call Aunt Judy who lives in San Diego to ship a box of Two Buck Chucks anymore. We can all get our TJ goodies in Ft. Worth now.

If you’re not familiar with Trader Joe’s, worry not. I’ve compiled a grocery list for you that will make your shopping experience as smooth as whipped cream. I also asked random TJ shoppers to give me their input. Everyone was so obliging and terribly drunk on TJ love.

Jump for the grocery list.

Melissa Carter with her movie theater popcorn (left); TJ's falafel chips (right)

#1 The Move Theater Popcorn

Melissa Carter came to TJs for the Movie Theater Popcorn. “It’s my absolute favorite, and it tastes just like the movie theater’s popcorn without all the fattening stuff.”

Speculoos Cookie Batter

#2 Speculoos Cookie Batter

The label says it all: “A deliciously unusual spread reminiscent of gingerbread and made with crushed biscuits.” Spread it on waffles, thick bread, and crackers. Dip veggies or pretzels inside to feel healthy… or just say  “screw it” and stick a whole finger inside the jar.

#3 Garlic naan (bread)

Doug Campbell, Trader Joe’s head Captain, loves the garlic naan. “I love it because you can just pop it in the oven or toaster, and it’s ready in a couple minutes.”

#4 Wood Oven Pizzas

Campbell is also really, really into the frozen pizzas. “They’re handcrafted, made in Italy, and I just love the fact they’ve got so much flavor. They’re as good as any pizzeria out there.”

Kelsey Chu sitting next to Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

#5 Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Katherine Chu, mother of toddler Kelsey, only had a few items in her shopping cart. One of them was a tub of Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies with cookies that looked like they could fit well in a small child’s hand. Chu likes them because “they have a coconut taste.”

#6 Two Buck Chucks (pictured at the top)

Charles Shaw’s bargain-priced premium wine made from California grapes. Sadie and Ryan Saullo like this wine “because it’s $2.99 each.” There’s Cabernet Sauvignon, White Zinfandel, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Valdiguie in the style of Beaujolais nouveau, and Pinot Grigio. People buy these by the crate.

TJ's coffee (left); Andre and Kena Cox with frozen Mandarin orange chicken and Fat Free Caribbean Fruit Floes

#7 and 8 Mandarin Orange Chicken and Fat Free Caribbean Fruit Floes

Andre and Kena Cox each picked their favorite TJ item. Kena chose the Fat Free Caribbean Fruit Floes because they’re “made with flo and it replaces your electrolytes.” She got them for her kids. Andre picked the frozen Mandarin orange chicken. Apparently, that’s also a popular TJ item.

Chocolate, low fat, and ginger-flavored Cats Cookies.

#9 My year-long obsession: Cats Cookies.

A tub of these Cats Cookies (only $2.49 per tub!!) disappears within a couple days if I’m not careful. The ginger flavor is the best. It’s snappy like a crocodile.

#10 Gummy Tummies

Liz got me hooked on these penguin gummies with artificial fruit juice in their tummies. She wasn’t too happy that I came back from my TJ excursion without them. My excuse is that the whole place was a madhouse. I grabbed only the essentials before I stood in a slow-moving line: cookie butter, Cat Cookies, a Two Buck Chuck, and trail mix. They’re all I need in life.


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  • JR

    sorry folks…but 2 buck chuck is swill…better to try the Hungarian red known as ‘Bull’s Blood…exclusively @ TJ’s [or was]

  • I drove in from Dallas on Sunday. I was not disappointed. I saw the popcorn, but didn’t buy it or the cookie butter. I’m definitely adding those to my list.

  • Bill

    We had the grand opening of Trader Joe’s in The Woodlands (Houston area) last Friday as well. There were hour long lines to check out and masses of people, but it was all worth it. Also spotted in the store opening day were the Houston president of HEB and Kroger, checking out the new competition.

  • Lenny Rosenberg

    We have been waiting for this opening of TJ’s for sometime…shopped there in Northern CA most everyday…now back in TX so glad they finally came to our area…..had to drive 50 miles one way over to Ft. Worth for the opening last SAT…16th of June….could not handle all the traffic and people in the check out line…returned to Dallas without purchasing anything…Can NOT WAIT for the SEPT. OPENING of their store in the PLANO,TX area much closer to our location in Carrollton!!!!!