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Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - March 2014 [OLD]

I've noticed a vast improvement in the produce over the last couple of years. I used to be a big naysayer, but i admit that there are now many things that are better there than at our local chain grocery. I still prefer a local produce market, but I routinely will grab veggies and occasionally fruit at TJs.

On the other hand our Costco produce has taken a big dive over the last year or two.

Mar 12, 2014
jsaimd in Chains

Your Top 5 Trader Joe's Products? - 2014

Our most purchased have mostly to do with the good price for the quality on the things we eat a lot of...not too exciting of a list.

1. Wild blueberries (frozen) - great price and great tasting
2. Gluten free oatmeal
3. pound plus 72% bar
4. Low fat cheeses (irish cheddar and mozzerella get used the most, food for low fat cheeses)
5. Pizza dough (for the non-Celiacs in the house)

Things we love that are more exciting

1. Dr. Praegers California veggie burgers
2. Serrano salsa (refrigerated)
3. Sea salt and caramel bar (made by Vosges)
4. Fire roasted corn

Feb 27, 2014
jsaimd in Chains

I need help ! extremely picky eater & basically wont eat anything !

I had responded earlier with a few ideas, but I just wanted to note as well that this phobia is a real thing. My son has anxiety disorder. For years he wouldn't eat at school. He wasn't particularly picky at home, but short of candy (which i wouldn't pack) there was nothing that I could send him with that he would eat. I tried punishment, I tried bribing. I just couldn't figure it out. Turns out that he was having irrational thoughts about packed lunches. As a celiac he couldn't eat school lunch so he was doomed. It has slowly gotten better with treatment, but is still an issue. Now I just try to be more understanding and work to find things he can tolerate now.

Feb 13, 2014
jsaimd in Home Cooking

National Mall, on foot, gluten free, cheap

I returned from a nice, but yes, cold trip!

I took your advice and found an Ethiopian place in SS before I left for downtown. Although, wind chill and take out Ethiopian do not mix well. My veggie combo from Abol was tasty and very filling. A bit more oily than I prefer, but the injera was nicely tangy. Beets were basically just plain roasted, and the tomato salad was less flavorful - wrong season. The yellow lentil stew was my favorite, although I don't have a lot of experience with Ethiopian. They had all teff injera for an extra charge. Filling enough to keep me full through dinner.

Had a meal at Copper Canyon (sponsored). I did enjoy the cold smoked salmon, but just had it on a salad. Not amazing, but descent enough.

Frozen yogurt at FroZenYo was underwhelming, but convenient. I didn't expect much.

Another night my hosts picked Sweetgreen. It was a solid salad with nicely poached shrimp. Since I love veggies. this hit the spot. My teenage cousin was less impressed.

Jan 27, 2014
jsaimd in Washington DC & Baltimore

"Free" Meals -Use it Up

veggies, beans, meat, etc. go in omelets or tacos. You can stick anything in those and it can be good.

Leftover grains that are cooked we do stir fry with.

To use up beans I always cook a bunch, then freeze on a cookie sheet, break up and keep frozen in a bag. I take a handful here and there. I am almost vegetarian, and my kids/husband eat a lot of meat. It is handy to have beans.

We also put everything on homemade pizza - we have rigged up our grill and generally keep pizza dough on hand. We stick veggies, different types of cheese, veggies, you name it...kids will always eat that.

And lentil soup. Doesn't matter your veggies. Caramelize them and stick them with some stock and lentils - puree well and top with lemon juice. My family downs this like crazy and almost all my kids friends eat it too. Parents are shocked when we tell them it is mostly veggies.

Only my kids eat pasta in this house believe it or not, so I only cook it for them.

Jan 12, 2014
jsaimd in Home Cooking
1

National Mall, on foot, gluten free, cheap

Yes flying out of National. I am happy eating whenever, and eating in small doses as well. My kids always ask why in the world I have never been to the memorials when I go to DC often. Why not spend my time doing so - as long as I am moving I am happy.

Jan 03, 2014
jsaimd in Washington DC & Baltimore

National Mall, on foot, gluten free, cheap

Ha. I actually have to go to DC often for work, but usually just rush to and from Dulles. I rarely really eat out. But this time the kids are up skiing on Saturday so I could fly out a day later. Yes, I do know about January in DC...hoping that hauling it on foot with backpack will warm me up. It works snowshoeing : ).

I actually don't need to leave downtown until 3:15 on the metro. I will be doing a long swim/spin/run for a couple of hours in the early AM. I really do have 4-5 hours. I am also not much of a tourist. I am much more of a run around and glance at the scenery type person. Food stores are worth stopping, ice cream is worth stopping, but I don't need to see all the sites necessarily. I will bring my kids back for that one one of these days.

I will probably do Nando's in SS on Friday night, or maybe Ethiopian (if they do 100% teff injera - it can be hard to find).

Jan 03, 2014
jsaimd in Washington DC & Baltimore

National Mall, on foot, gluten free, cheap

Saw Maine fish market, but saw the typical fries cole slaw etc. Good simple seafood is always good, especially fish or oysters. Even though SF is on the coast, we actually have a pretty limited set of species in the bay. That combined with my husband having a psychological allergy to fish/seafood - usually means that we don't eat that. This is a decent option if there are real veggies.

Jan 03, 2014
jsaimd in Washington DC & Baltimore

National Mall, on foot, gluten free, cheap

I have about 5 hours before my flight out later this month. I thought I would stop on the Metro Ride from Silver Spring to see the site near the National Mall.

SF Bay Area hound, so looking for anything unique to the DC area, or just plain tasty.

I have done my research on chowhound and yelp, but nothing screams at me yet.

1. Love southeastern Asian, Indian and Latin American food, but the latter two are strong in SF Bay Area.
2. Need relatively cheap eats, say under $10 for lunch. I don't eat a ton, but need decent value.
3. I need vegetables...period. (sorry, living in a house with 3 boys and a husband, they always want to go to meat heavy places). I do eat meat, but am plenty happy with vegetarian and love fish. This removes Good Food eatery.
4. I have Celiac disease - so gluten free. This means no soy sauce. This removes I think Teaism. Also many sandwich only shops.
5. I will be on foot with my backpack luggage. I don't mind walking at all, but only have 4-5 hours to wander around. And I am a California wuss when it comes to cold : ). Happy to eat while walking too.
6. It will be a Saturday.

I see Merzi, the Native American Museum cafe, some food trucks. I like the idea of ShopHouse, but don't think it is worth my time to trek up to Dupont Circle.

Is Protein Bar good? Chop't? (yes, I like rabbit food if it is flavorful) Nando's Peri Peri -they have chicken livers mmmmm....

Jan 02, 2014
jsaimd in Washington DC & Baltimore

Apparently Olive Garden is for rich people ...

That was my reaction last time I went there. My son wanted to try it for his birthday - he had never been. But my boys eat a lot of food, so I thought it might be a cheap alternative. Not so. My mediocre salmon with overcooked broccoli was well over $20. Not worth it. But i can't eat the breadsticks. I don't hate the restaurant, but where I live you can do a lot better for the price.

Dec 30, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - December 2013 [old]

yes they are SF based.

Dec 30, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - December 2013 [old]

We use their corn pasta often. Great price and good texture. Neutral flavor. My kids hate all rice pasta we have tried - including Tinkyada and the expensive Italian imports. They all like this - even my non-Celiac kids. I find it needs to cook longer than the package says, but it doesn't go from hard to goo like rice pasta.

Similar to Sam's mill. My kids still say they like Schar's better, but I doubt they could tell the difference in a blind taste test.

Dec 27, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Vegetarian friendly birthday dinner - Atelier, Coi, Benu? [San Francisco]

we went to Benu and did the tasting menu with

1. Celiac, no red meat
2. Vegan
3. Normal eaters

And they did a beautiful job catering to everyone. nobody felt left out, and they even printed special menus for each person. One of my favorite tasting menus, except dessert. It was fine, but not my favorite. That distinction belongs to the dessert courses at Meadowood when Matthew Tinder was still there.

Dec 23, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area

Gluten Free bulk-goods?

Are you wanting bulk for price, flexibility or price?

Best prices (but cross-contamination ? I am celiac and have been OK but many are scared:

White rice flour - Thai brands from Asian grocery
Besan - Indian grocery

All-purpose blends - Trader Joes and Costco (Bob's Red Mill). Costco also has almond meal.

Whole foods has best prices on Millet or Sorghum flour, and competitive for Xanthan and basic all-purpose blends, believe it or not. Safeway now carries a store brand all-purpose blend, and Nob Hill/Raleys often puts them on sale.

But honestly I usually order online. I watch Gilt for sales on Cup 4 Cup 25 lb. bags, use Amazon for other things in bulk.

Dec 23, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area

About to visit - a few specific questions on tours, icecream, tacos [San Francisco]

If you are walking by Fisherman's wharf the Boudin factory is fun to look in, but depends on your kids on the tour. Same with fortune cookie factory. Most locals without kids have never been : ). My boys 9 and 12 would rather do other things, but like looking in the window at Boudin.

We don't have nut but do have Celiac. All will use clean scoops , but the problem is that the scoop shops here usually only have 1-2 buckets of any flavor, then when they run out they swap in a new flavor. Not sure about the flavor issue. I'd put my money on Mr. and Mrs. misc. catering but I would call first.

Dec 23, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - December 2013 [old]

NAY on the carmellos or chocolate covered caramel marshmallows. I was hoping for a fresher marshmallow and deeper caramel for the price, but it seemed average to me.

Dec 11, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - December 2013 [old]

Another nay to the taste test of caramels. mediocre quality. thicker shell than I prefer, caramel not caramelized enough and flavors uni-dimensional for the most part.

I'm undecided on the chicken holiday tamales. Decent, better than the frozen, but not amazing. Masa was a bit dense, flavor pretty standard chile verde. Salty.

Dec 04, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

New to me - cashew meal. $5 for a lb I think, near the almond meal. I am thinking of using it to make a cashew sponge coconut cake - maybe caramel mousse filled - we'll see.

Nov 22, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Rengsdorf Pho & Goldilocks - MV [Mountain View]

Thank you! We are at that Costco often a couple of times a week with my house full of growing athletic boys (read - they eat a lot of food). We're always looking for reasonable tasty food in the area.

Nov 22, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area

Costco Food Finds - 4th Quarter 2013

We were fairly neutral on it when we used it last year. It wasn't the worst, wasn't the best. For the price it was nice, because the kids use cocoa in breakfast foods (cocoa hot cereal - they like the bitter). But... it must have been aromatic enough because we stored it in the garage and one night the rats chewed through the plastic and into the cocoa - that was the end of that container.

Nov 19, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

I just chopped it and added it at the end.

Nov 14, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

Also a YEAH on the BLACK GARLIC. Perfect on my morning egg white omelet. It adds a great dimension to the rather healthy veggie filled morning meal.

Nov 14, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

2014 SF Bay Area Michelin Stars

I also liked our meal and service at Benu.

Manresa was a dissappointment. No memorable dishes, not bad, but some just didn't seem to gel and the meal didn't flow. The service was way too stiff and strange.

Oct 29, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area

Your Most Nontraditional Thanksgiving Dish or Dessert

We also often have lamb for Thanksgiving. Every 4-5 years my kids beg for a "traditional" meal, and then after say that we should go back to be being nontraditional. Except for pies - we have to have pies every year and then they get them for breakfast the day after too.

Oct 23, 2013
jsaimd in Home Cooking
1

The hated egg white - does anyone geniunely enjoy them?

I do - sure I like the yolk too, but I eat an egg white omelet every morning loaded with veggies. Love it. It is a great protein and a carrier for the rest of the omelet. But I am alone in my family on this one.

Love them with sugar too in all incarnations : ).

Oct 17, 2013
jsaimd in General Topics

chowhound family that likes adventure with great foodie places

I've been pickpocketed with MUNI passes and know others that have too.

Oct 01, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area

chowhound family that likes adventure with great foodie places

We usually ride the BART into the mission with my boys. They hate the parking game. Who am I kidding - I hate the parking game.

From the Wharf to the Ferry Building we hoof it (usually I let the boys take scooters - they can do it once you pass pier 37ish). You can rent bikes. The MUNI trains are decent too, but my boys find the buses too slow - they would rather walk/ride.

Just remember to keep your MUNI passes out of your back pockets - they are prime fodder for pickpocketers.

Oh - and as far as the itinerary with so many suggested, I actually suggest you find what you want to see in the city and there will be plenty around. There is nothing that will turn kids off to a city more than having to drive around in traffic and find parking, or sitting on a city bus for an hour for a single morsel of food.

San Francisco is small, just some neighborhoods are easier to walk to than others. One year one Christmas eve we covered SOMA to Nob Hill to Mission to Noe Valley on foot and one BART ride - with all my kids.

Sep 30, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area

Favorite cheeses at TJs?

My kids loved the apple cnnamon goat cheese too. I didn't get much!

Sep 29, 2013
jsaimd in Chains

Costco bakery - cupcakes?

Yes, but they are the size of their muffins - at least last time I saw them. Huge! It has been over 10 years since I had their cakes, but lots of people enjoy them.

Sep 27, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area

chowhound family that likes adventure with great foodie places

Forgot to mention DeLisse Dessert Cafe right in the wharf. They have a 30% deal on blackboard eats right now. Ice cream and baked goods. I haven't had their sandwiches etc. but husband reported that the baked goods were well done.

Sep 26, 2013
jsaimd in San Francisco Bay Area