Many of you have heard the buzz surrounding the arrival of Trader Joe’s, the affordable “boutique” grocer from California. My mom used to go there to buy wine when I was a kid, and Trader Joe’s still has a nice selection of vino for cheap. Aside from the wine, I really don’t understand the appeal of this place, and if or when we get one in West Palm (they are opening in Miami first), I can tell you that I will not be a regular. Why? The same reason I don’t like going to Whole Foods. The people. The crush of humanity, a mass of aging hippies bumping into you with their tiny carts while searching for flax seed oil (see photo below, which was taken around 2pm ON A TUESDAY). I can’t even imagine this place on a Saturday morning. If they opened one of these in Boca, the police department would have to assign a new division “specialty store scuffle mediators.” Ugh.
A few days ago we stopped at the Trader Joe’s in Sarasota, one of only two operating in Florida at this time. We were visiting family and Stef’s aunt was making us dinner. She brought with her a fairly simple shopping list but was unable to find everything she needed. Now again, this is only my impression of the place as a first timer, but most of the inventory seemed to be dry goods. They have smallish produce and dairy sections, and I noticed a lot of packaged produce. The Lantana Publix (our preferred shopping center) has a much wider selection, and the produce and meats look a lot better than Trader Joe’s. Anyway, just my opinion here. For “specialty dry goods” items and wine, Trader Joe’s is a good bet.