Welcome to the Neighborhood

July 21, 2010

Dear Old Navy: No one wants a shirt that says “Old Navy.”

I don’t understand why they continue to make these things, and then mark them down to $4. Perhaps they are on a quest to fill landfills with unwanted clothing. But what do I know…

We can't believe the selection either...

One thing I do know: the new Trader Joe’s on Sixth Avenue is FANTASTIC. Seriously. 16,000 square feet. Wide aisles. Lots and lots of stock, all divided into intuitive areas where you can actually browse, friendly and helpful sales staff, and, most importantly, 25 checkout lines!! Brilliant, really.

And it is cheaper. I did a casual peruse of my bill and informed Ken that I had saved almost $30 on a $112 bill from what I would have spent at Whole Foods. $30 per week is real money! In a few months I’ll have enough to buy…some other Marc by Marc Jacobs bag I have my eye on…

But I digress.

If you are in the city, check it out. (Or don’t and keep it blissfully uncrowded.) But even if you can’t check out this one, I thought it was a good opportunity to discuss some of my favorite things from Trader Joe’s:

Spices: They have all sorts of spices, and I like that they come with their own disposable grinders. Every turn provides fresh lemon pepper (or whatever you choose) and keeps it a few steps above any other store bought spice.

Cheese and Peanut Butter Crackers: My kids love these, and I like that they don’t have any of the junk (like hydrogenated oils) that some other brands have. I go back and forth, but right now I am partial to the cheese crackers!

Frozen Mini Chicken Tacos: Another kid favorite. In fact, last week my daughter told her nanny that she loved tacos. And my nanny said, “Oh, I can make you tacos. I take some garlic…” and proceeded to tell Addison how she makes tacos from scratch. Without missing a beat, my 3 year old said, “My mom doesn’t make them like that. She sprays the pan and puts the tacos on and cooks them in the oven. And they’re really good!”

Frozen Dumplings: We’re partial to the chicken or shrimp. Tasty Asian wontons that my son likes to take for lunch. And I sometimes like them for lunch too! They cook quick in the microwave, taste fresh and with a little dot of soy sauce…delish!

White Bean Hummos: I’m not sure why this is so good, but it is. Great with mini whole wheat pitas or baby carrots. I guess it’s the white bean, but something takes it above and beyond regular hummos. When I was checking out, the woman was like, “This stuff is SO good.” when she rang up the hummos. So we all agree!

I could go on but that gives you a good start. Believe me, once you get started there, you’ll find your own deliciousness. I have had some bummer items (Light Pink Lemonade? Blecch.) and I have put down things because they contain shady ingredients. So read the labels — it’s not like Whole Foods where things have been pre-screened for hydrogenated oils, etc. I guess their mantra is Foods of the World, hence Trader Jose’s and Trader Giotto’s. I find it to be great for frozen prepared foods that actually taste good and can get a busy mom and family through the week in a fully-fed, semi-healthy way. Maybe that should be their new tagline!!

The new Trader Joe’s in Chelsea is open 8am – 10pm daily.

Etc.

You may have noticed there was no posting Sunday night. That was because I was bedridden with one of the nastiest stomach bugs I have had in my life. I will spare you the details but it went through my house and left its mark on all of us in some horrific way. I used my Lamaze breathing from childbirth to get me through the stomach pains. AWFUL!

Yesterday I was still weak and woozy, but now I seem to be back.

Hope you’re well!

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