Monday, May 29, 2006

Slippery Slope

Squeaky Wheel
Originally uploaded by corporatemonkey.
Oh no. The unthinkable has happened. I have been to Trader Joe's. If you haven't had the pain pleasure of exploring this gourmet wonderland, stay out. It's not a matter of jealousy, dear reader. It's not as though this is my store, and I don't want you to go there because I fear the possibility that we would have matching pantries. It's for your own good.

I've never referred to myself as a "foodie", but I do love food. Love it. The textures, smells, tastes, visual appeal, and the preperation. I like to cook for people, and just throw things together that taste all yummy and awesome and good, and now I'm finally starting to put stuff together for myself. Hence, the trip to Trader Joe's.

Really, it's a yuppie grocery store. Ok- beyond yuppie, it's an upper class food playground, where they all jaunt around throwing jars of ethnicly titled relishes and pre-seasoned meat packs into their carts, as if they have any idea what they're going to do with them when they get home. (Clearly, I don't like these people.) I once did a few housesitting gigs for one of these couples. They had the strangest kitchen you've ever seen. One could not possibly compile an actual meal from any combination of foods in the pantry, fridge, or fruit basket. You could, however, prepare some amazing hor d'ouvres.

They had jars upon jars of chutneys, tapenades, dried fruits, crisp bread twists, orzo, soup mixes, frozen and dried vegetables, tubs of fresh salsa and tabouleh, pita chips, and a variety of liquors, soda, and mixers. They prepare for tragedy the way all upper-class Alexandria residents do- by being able to produce a kick-ass trey of crudites at a moment's notice. It's why they're so happy for you to just 'stop by sometime'. If you don't, what will they do with all those marinated olives?

I went in prepared. I knew the crowd that frequented establishments such as Trader Joe's, and I had no desire to blend in. I'm just not that preppy. I did, however, carefully pick through their most recent publication of "Top 100" items. I figured this was the best place to start, and made a little list of things I too had to try, in the lower cost range of the store, and stuck pretty closely to my list.

The Damage:
Frozen Edamame Shelled Soybeans - $1.49
Organic 3 Cheese Frozen Italian Pizza - $3.99
TJ's Gyoza Chicken Potstickers - $2.69
Orangina 16oz - 2 for $1.98
Curry Pasta - $1.69
Linguine Pasta -$.69
Genovese Pesto 6.7oz Jar - $2.49
Total = $15.40

Now I'll have you know, that spending only $15 on a trip to the grocery store, much less a gourmet store, is quite a feat. I avoided the chocolate and pistachio toffee that was on my list, the jasmine green tea (since mom just brought some back from Japan), and the braided & marinated mozarella. I haven't tried everything that I purchased yet, but I'm working on it. And rest assured there will be accompanying reviews to come. After all, the pizza alone practically has a religious following... and for good reason.

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