Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whole Foods and Trader Joe's

These two articles were linked on Yahoo today and I found them interesting enough to mention. Here's the skinny (get it? skinny? I slay myself):

Some of my friends jokingly call Whole Foods Market “Whole Paycheck.” The first time I shopped there, I understood why Whole Foods gained its nickname—I was stunned at how much I spent. Of course, I bought everything on my list—I hadn’t paid attention to what was a good deal and what wasn’t.

What to skip at Whole Foods:
conventional fruits and vegetables
the meat counter
health and beauty products

What to buy at Whole Foods:
local fruits and vegetables
sustainable fish and seafood
bulk foods
store-brand products

If you ever want to start a conversation at a party, try asking this question: What are the best and worst deals at Trader Joe’s? It’s only slightly less controversial than health care reform.

Americans (and I include myself) are crazy about Trader Joe’s. There are Facebook pages, books about shopping there, even fan-run websites. What inspires this passion? Jovanna Brooks, founder of traderjoesfan.com and traderjoesguide.com, says, “The reason that there are so many really die-hard Trader Joe’s fans is because you can get incredibly unique items. It’s adventure shopping all the time because there are things that are constantly new. At the same time, people get upset when products get discontinued, but that’s part of the fun.”

What to skip at Trader Joe's:

bakery and prepared foods

What to buy at Trader Joe's:
frozen foods
beyond food--flowers, body oils and soaps, etc

Years ago at Trader Joe's I bought a chocolate torte with a chocolate ganache on it. The once or so a year I've been since then I always check the freezer section to see if they still sell it, and they do. I remember the trip I took in my camper van, with one of those tortes in the frig. Memories, especially the good ones, last a lifetime.


muckdog said...

I'm not a big fan of their unique offering of microbrew beers, either.

Anonymous said...

Whole Foods: Bulk Spices.

Not that Whole Foods is the only place that sells bulk spices. But it is so nice when making planning a special meal, and that recipe that calls for a teaspoon of something you never use, to buy a little baggie for like 25 cents versus $3.49 for a jay of Shillings.

MikeAT said...

I remember going into a Whold Foods a few years ago looking for a suspect....I think everyone in the place had their eyes on me. I felt like I was behind enem lines

Anonymous said...

I like the bulk foods at Whole Foods, and the cheese department. It is also the only place I know that carries grade B maple syrup; it's best for cooking because it has deeper flavor than the usual grade A. Trader Joe's has a great selection of nuts and dried fruits. Both places carry some salad greens that are hard to find elsewhere; mache and pea shoots at Trader Joe's and frisee at Whole Foods. Whole Foods also carries tangerine juice (own brand); great for sorbets and mimosas as well as for general drinking.