While some may bow to the east towards Mecca, and others to the west worshiping Californication, my sojourns of a quasi-spiritual nature tend to be north or south. Which, by planned coincidence, happens to be where the closest Trader Joe’s are located.
I jest, of course, comparing TJs to the devoutees of Mecca, although less so towards the west and the delights that emanate from California. But at a local level, my treks to what I consider the best food shopping experience for those with more sense than money (the opposite hie toward Whole Foods), are somewhat holy in nature, at least in the planning and anticipation.
My sprees, as they no doubt appear to the Joes working the register (all workers there are Joes), tend to resemble pre-hurricane preparations in the form of multiples of frozen wild salmon, wild mahi-mahi, mango chunks, biryani rice, and assorted odd veggies, and of course, dark-chocolate-covered soy nuts. I’ve never had anything average there, and all their frozen stuff tastes very unfrozen-like, particularly compared to the frozen so-sos of the local groceries. Assortment is deep, and although the trip yesterday made me realize that most of what’s on their shelves is Trader Joe’s brand stuff, it’s all good. Make that, all great.
I usually indulge in a case of wine while I’m there as well, picking unknown varities from all corners of the globe. Part of this wine experience fits with the “try it you’ll like” attitude that seems to hit me while wandering the too-many-choices that seem to stock TJ’s aisles. Such are the dangers of rolling an innocent shopping cart up and down their aisles.
The powers-that-be at TJ’s haven’t seen fit to give me one closer than my two-hour Hadjs to the north or south (being Columbus or Ann Arbor), yet I remain hopeful (and remind them occassionaly about their oversight) that they’ll feign to give Toledo a spot on their map and make my pilgrimage that much closer. In the meantime, I’ll load up the car with coolers every month or so, bow my head, and make the trek towards food nirvana. After tasting Joe’s stuff, settling disappears from one’s vocabulary.