The official news of Trader Joe’s impending arrival in Little Rock has been met with great excitement from a large percentage of folks in the area. Through all of the chatter, a reader asked me to put together a list of products from the ultra-popular grocery chain that I’ve enjoyed through the years. My qualifiications? On top of being a Trader Joe’s mule for friends in Little Rock over the past eight years, I’ve also lived a few blocks from one in Boston for 12 months. Here are My 10 Favorite Items at Trader Joe’s…
Maple Leaf Cookies
We might as well start with the best. I would literally sell my soul to the devil for an extra box of these amazing cookies. Ok, slight exaggeration, but you get my drift. I’ve driven over state lines many times for these things. Why? Simply put, the maple leaf-shaped vanilla cookies are magical with a cup of coffee. Give me a day, and I’ll eat an entire box, and that’s not a slight exaggeration.
Crunchy Maple Ladders Cereal
I’m a cereal junkie and never did I think one would come along in my lifetime focused on ladders. Well, this is a great time to be alive. What makes this cereal so good is that it’s not overly sweet but still fun to eat. Because ladders.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
I love these more than 90% of my family. This is true. And if my house was burning down and I could run in and grab two materialistic items, I’m getting the Keurig and my box of Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Trader Joe’s. What makes these peanut butter cups different from others out there? The smooth filling.
Double Roasted Salsa
Remember, Trader Joe’s is a grocery store, so you will have plenty of salsa options. This one, IMHO, is the best. Slightly smoky, mild, and a little junky, the Double Roasted Salsa pairs well with just about everything, including nachos and omelets.
Speculoos Cookie Butter
Honestly, this is the only item on the list that doesn’t move the needle for me. But I wanted to include it because Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter is wildly popular and if you don’t know about it yet, consider this your introduction.
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
I’m a peanut butter whore. And while pairing it with chocolate is the best combination in the history of the universe, I’m also a fan of filling little pretzel nuggets with it.
Everything But the Bagel Seasoning Blend
Trader Joe’s has masterfully taken the seasoning blend from an Everything Bagel, put it in a jar, gave it a cool name, and let the masses have at it. Brilliant move and fantastic product. If you’re in a bagel deprived area, like we are here in Little Rock, toast a piece of wheat bread, spread with cream cheese, and top it with a few shakes of EbtB and a slice of smoked salmon.
Vanilla Almond Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bar
Geez, Trader Joe’s, work on shorting this name. Other than that, these little bars of joy are straight fire. Hell, I even convinced myself for an entire year they were a proper and healthy breakfast. They’re not. But they are a deliciously sweet snack that’s a better alternative than eating a bowl of ice cream at 9 p.m.
Crispy Crunch Broccoli Florets
This is the type of item that makes Trader Joe’s so damn popular. You’ll have tons of similar options available, but the vacuumed fried broccoli florets are where it’s at. They’re super crispy, not greasy, and just a nice mid-day snack.
Giant Peruvian Inca Corn
Lovely name aside, these are corn nuts on steroids. They’re giant, salty nuts of corn. I mean, do I need to type anymore? Oh, and they go great with beer. Oh, and they’re like $3 a bag.
*Cookie Butter pic courtesy of Daniel Walker, Cereal pic via TraderJoe’s.com
About the bagel deprivation – you need to try Morningside Bagels on Maumelle Blvd. So good!