There is a certain right of passage everyone must go through before they fully become an adult. While things like making a down payment on a car or doing your taxes on your own are all significant parts of adulthood, there is one that usurps them all: It’s getting excited to go to the grocery store. And, if I’m being honest with you and myself, few things get me amped like the wonderful and weird products at Trader Joe’s.
I don’t know if I’d describe the internet’s taste palate as “refined”, but it’s definitely selective and kind of specific. In addition to cats and pizza and things that come in rainbows, the internet is pretty into Trader Joe’s, the grocery chain known for it’s trendy and affordable food. I don’t know if I’d call the level of obsession as fully committed, but they’re definitely in something of a casual and consistent love affair.
If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the Joe’s or you’re looking for a few items to spice up your shopping cart, here are 14 items to consider. But be fully warned: You’ll probably develop an obsessive relationship with at least one of these. Unless you have more self-control than I do. In which case, you’ll probably be fine.
1. Speculoos Cookie Butter
You cannot speak of Trader Joe’s products without paying homage to The Ultimate Goddess Supreme. She’s part-baked good, part-spreadable. She is Speculoos Cookie Butter, and she is jarred perfection. Imagine if gingerbread cookies and a peanut butter had a baby, and then that baby grew up and went to culinary school. The baby becomes a successful chef and creates a culinary miracle that wins a James Beard award. That baby would celebrate by buying a jar of Speculoos Cookie Butter.
2. Matcha Joe-Joe’s
The Original Joe-Joe’s are like Oreo’s cookie cousin who spent a few years in Portland and got way cool somehow. Matcha Joe-Joe’s are a new, Trader Joe’s original. The crème layer is flavored with real Matcha green tea powder. Basically, Oreo aspires to the level of coolness of a Matcha Joe-Joe.
3. Korean Style BBQ Sauce
Gochujang! Oh, I’m sorry. Did the sound a traditional spicy, fermented chili paste startle you? Well, then you might not be ready for the glory that is Trader Joe’s Korean Style BBQ sauce. It’s spicy. It’s a little sweet. It’s got a kick of GOCHUJANG. Were you ready for it that time? Good. You are ready to experience the glory that is this sauce.
4. Coffee Flour
Trader Joe’s Coffee Flour takes a byproduct of harvested coffee beans that is usually discarded (referred to as pulp) and mills that pulp into a fine powder which resembles flour. Then, you take the Coffee Flour and add it to your favorite coffee cake recipe or incorporate it into a crumble topping. Boom. You just up-cycled food that would have been discarded into a food that you can eat for dessert.
5. Partially Popped Popcorn
If you’re wondering why anyone would want popcorn that hasn’t been popped all the way, then you need to experience the magic and wonder that is Trader Joe’s Partially Popped Popcorn. It’s an entire bag of the half-popped pieces of kernels you’ll sometimes find at the bottom of your popcorn. But they’re all perfectly half-popped and won’t break your teeth. Unless your teeth are, like, extra brittle. Then that’s on you.
6. Bite Size Everything Crackers
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, sweating with worry that you’ll never find a cracker jam packed with as many flavors as an everything bagel? You don’t? That’s probably normal. Regardless, Trader Joe’s Bite Size Everything Crackers are the answer to that worry, if you have. If not, they’re just a really yummy snack that you can eat as you revel in your lack of illogical fears.
7. Mashed Cauliflower
Mashed cauliflower is a pretty good substitute for mashed potatoes if you’re looking for a low carb option. Trader Joe’s Mashed Cauliflower is an even better substitute if you don’t want to spend an eternity cleaning and chopping a head of cauliflower and then seasoning it to perfection. This frozen mashed cauliflower does that all for, and it’s portioned into frozen pucks for hockey playing and/or portion control purposes.
8. Sparkling Wine IN A CAN
I mean, I don’t know what else you want me to tell you. Trader Joe’s Simple Wines are sparkling wine that comes in a can. It’s a canned version of wine that is sparkling. Wine that sparkles and it’s packaged in a can. I think that’s all the ways I can say that.
9. Birthday Cake Bar
Happy Birthday to your belly. Trader Joe’s Birthday Cake Bar is a white chocolate candy bar flavored like birthday cake and topped with multi-colored sprinkles. You don’t even have to turn another year older to enjoy it. Candles not included.
10. Charles Shaw Wine
It’s the wine formerly known as two-buck chuck. Now $2.99 in most states, Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw Wines still tastes just as good and is basically just as cheap. Also, some studies suggest that cheap wine tastes better if we think it’s expensive. So, just write THIS IS EXPENSIVE over the label in permanent marker and enjoy.
11. Gnocchi al Gorgonzola
Trader Giotto’s Gnocchi al Gorgonzola will see you through your toughest of times. It’s cheap, easy, and seemingly fancy comfort food. And, according to a study I just made up, there is no problem that cheesy pasta can’t solve.
12. Cheddar Rocket Crackers
Do you have a moment to talk about my personal lord and savior, Trader Joe’s Cheddar Rocket Crackers? If you, like me, sometimes have the diet of a toddler at a birthday party, a box of these crackers will also be your new best food friend. Goldfish, who? Cheddar bunnies, what?
13. Tea Tree Tingle Bath & Body
If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Trader Joe’s health and beauty aisle, now is the time. Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle line smells minty, earthy, and fresh all at once. Also, they’re organic.
14. Crunchy Cinnamon Squares
Let’s cut to the chase. Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cinnamon Squares are basically Cinnamon Toast Crunch but slightly more adult-seeming. So, you can trick yourself and others into thinking you’re grown AF while still basically eating a kids’ cereal. It’s a win-win.