Monday, May 19, 2008

To TJ with love

My darling Trader Joe’s,

From the moment I first walked through your doors in 1995 I was smitten. Your shelves are consistently stocked with an array of unique and delectable products, your prices are pocket book friendly and your staff is always cheery and happy to help me with whatever I need.

Your bulbous garlic from Gilroy is always fresh and fragrant and for those times when I forget to grab some while in the veggie section you are there, always making sure to leave me some in the marinara and pasta isle.

Your dried fruits and nuts are plentiful, so much so that they have their own isle in the store. My favorite, Nothing but dried flattened bananas are sweet, scrumptiously sticky and far better than any fruit roll up I have ever tasted.

Your product price label descriptions that line the isles are so witty and informative! I could (and do) often times lose track of time reading the little snippets of info on the colorful tags. Your wine section descriptions in particular have on more than one occasion helped guide me to the perfect paring for my culinary creations.

You always have my all time favorite gluten free nutrition bar, Think Thin, Creamy Peanut Butter protein bars in stock, even when all other stores have sold out or stopped carrying them.

You used to sell my most favorite soy ice cream, Double Rainbow brand cherry chip and when it disappeared from its familiar spot in the freezer section I was saddened, but only temporarily as you quickly replaced it with a cheaper equally delicious soy cherry chocolate chip ice cream of your very own.

Your peanut butter cups, milk chocolate covered raisins, dark chocolate covered edamame and dark chocolate covered blueberries are my favorite sweet treats and like many of your chocolaty goodies are all gluten free!

You carry Yerba Matte tea, raw almond butter, gluten free granola and Puffins cereal and sell it for much much cheaper than anywhere else I have been.

You have lovingly marked all the gluten free product tags in the store with a cute little “g” so I know what is gluten free and you have started to mark all of your new products with the same informative “g” and the words gluten free when they are so I don’t have to peruse tags and rack my brain over the long list of potentially glutenous ingredients to see if something is safe for me.

You have started producing your own gluten free versions of many typically gluten laden foods that are amazing!! Banana waffles that rival any Eggo’s I have ever toasted, brownie mix that makes decadently fudgy brownies that even my non gf friends swoon for and hard apple cider that tastes like apple Hooch without that icky malty aftertaste. You are also ever so kind to offer a pamphlet at your stores and online that documents the long list of all the gluten free products you carry.

One of my most favorite moments with you happened most recently when I was on a quick lunch break shopping trip. I walked through the isles collecting items on my list, pre washed and sliced crimini mushrooms, a wedge of aged gouda, Applegate Farms herbed turkey slices, a pack of rice noodles and as I drew closer to the back of the store I recognized the familiar intoxicating scent of fresh baked cookies. I took a deep breath and prepared to put on my brave “I really don’t need that delicious gluten laden cookie even though I am starving and have not had my lunch yet” face. As I drew closer to the sample lady I saw her offerings for the day, plump, hot, fresh, crisscrossed peanut butter cookies. My mouth began to water and eyes widened as I approached the plate of delicious looking morsels. The sample lady noticed my fixated glare and awoke me from my cookie trance greeting me with the most beautiful words, “hello dear, would you like to try our new gluten free peanut butter cookies?” I wanted to hug her and tell her how much I loved her for having an extraordinarily delicious sample that I could actually eat but instead I smiled and said a polite, thank you, grabbed a sample and scurried off to finish my shopping grinning and giggling to myself happily over the wonderfulness that had just occurred.

So my dearest Trader Joes, from the bottom of my heart and belly, thank you for all that you are, all that you do and above all for all of your amazingly awesome food.

xoxo

miss rachel marie

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