Last Sunday, a few of us from the shop drove to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a mini "foodie" getaway. Ann Arbor is one of my favourite food towns because that's where Zingerman's is located (more on Zingermans in an upcoming post!) as well as Trader Joe's, a mid-size specialty grocery store with great finds and reasonable prices. Trader Joe's is a privately held company located in 9 states, with the mission to sell "innovative, hard-to-find, great tasting foods" to it's customers.
Even in the midst of a snowstorm (on a Sunday! and at 2 p.m.!) the store was packed. TJ's is jammed with interesting (and delicious) items - specialty produce, sushi, great cheeses, meats, frozen prepared meals, snacks, tons of sweets, baking, chocolate and wine. I've never tried any of their prepared fresh or frozen foods or meats before (I don't want to bother with the hassle of trying to take those items over the border, plus, I've noticed that there are preservatives and artificial ingredients in their prepared food). However - there are many other items that make it into my shopping cart every time I visit, such as:
-flattened banana (dried, flattened bananas, John loves these)
-dried strawberries, blueberries, cherries....(great for baking and tiny fingers - John!)
-marcona almonds (an awesome sweet and salty snack)
-mini cookies - almond thins + crispy oatmeal chocolate chip are my fav's
-microwave-ready brown rice and lime coconut rice (for emergency situations!)
-all kinds of sea salts - such as alaea hawaiian sea salt for $3
-great snack foods like kettle corn, fried and dried snap peas, roasted seaweed snacks...
-old moon zinfandel from California...great wine for $6!
Here's a recipe from their website that sounds delish! (www.traderjoes.com)
Pear And Brie Fancy Flatbread 1 Lavosh Bread (Regular or Whole Wheat)
1 Pear, thinly sliced
8 ounces (or so) Brie, cubed or torn into small pieces
2-3 slices Prosciutto, sliced thin
2-3 tablespoons Organic Brown Sugar
1 cup Wild Arugula
Preheat the Oven to 375°. Layer the lavosh with the pear slices, pieces of Brie, prosciutto and sugar, in that order. Bake for 5-6 minutes until the Lavosh is golden brown and the sugar has caramelized.
Top with Baby Arugula and serve.
Serves: 4 to 6 as an appetizer
Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes