Welcome to Houston TJ: Five of Trader Joe's Best Products

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If you haven't been living under a rock, you know Trader Joe's opened up its first Houston location in the historic Alabama Theater this past weekend.

A friend of mine,, a longtime TJ fan, was so excited, she threw a Trader Joe's-themed party -- Hawaiian shirts and all -- Saturday night. The shtick: everything -- food and drinks -- must be purchased from Trader Joe's.

Since I had to brave the store opening weekend anyway, I pushed through hoards of annoyingly slow people took a nice quiet moment to look around and reminisced about my all-time favorite Trader Joe's Products.

Here are, in my humble opinion, Five of TJ's Best Items (salmonella coated Valencia Peanut Butter not included):

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5. Edamame Hummus

It's two of our favorite snacks in one, for only $2.49. TJ's replaces hummus's traditional chickpeas with with green soy beans to make an incredibly smooth, creamy dip mixed with just the right amount of sesame tahini, garlic, lemon juice, blend of oils and sea salt. I like serving it with toasted flatbread, sesame pita chips or crudités.

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4. Habanero Hot Sauce

TJ's habanero hot sauce has a really nice kick to it -- a punch of heat followed by a subtle touch of sweetness and hint of garlic. For me, the $2.99 bottle lasts a while, as a little splash of it can go a long way (so I'm a bit of a wimp) -- but even the biggest spice lovers seem to enjoy this one.

3. Organic Wood Fired Sicilian Pizza

As far as frozen pizzas go, this one's pretty top-notch. For starters, the dough comes out light and airy, but still crisp due to a pre-blackened (or wood-fired) crust. Pearls of creamy mozzarella, tangy provolone and roasted red peppers top a sweet marinara sauce. It reminds me of a pizza I'd make at home, so for $4.99, it's a nice shortcut for lazy nights. It even comes with a red pepper flake-infused olive oil to drizzle on for a spicy kick.

2. Almondictive Bits

There is no shortage of chocolate-covered treats at TJ's, and while I haven't met one I didn't like, the Almondictive Bits may just be my favorite. Caramelized almonds are dipped in smooth, slightly bitter dark chocolate, resulting in an addictive combination that is sweet, salty, nutty, and rich all at once. Not bad for $3.99.

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1. Two-Buck Chuck

Okay, so at $2.99 per bottle, it's more like three-buck chuck, but I stick with what I know. The infamous Charles Shaw wine, made primarily from California grapes, is priced so low, there's really no harm in picking up a bottle or five just to have on hand. Add a splash of the Cabernet Sauvignon to your next Sunday gravy; use the White Zinfandel to make a sweet peach sangria; and the Shiraz -- it's just perfect for a cheap-ass, dreamy night under the stars. Sure, the wine may be generic, but the price is right.

What are your favorite TJ products? Have you tried any that have been epic fails? Anyone else get a chance to check out the new store?

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Location Info


Trader Joe's

2922 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: General

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My Voice Nation Help

Really not worth a visit. It's an amped up convenience store and denigrates the memory of the theatre, bookstore and Whole Foods that preceded it in the same location. We've become spoiled by good groceries here in Houston: Whole Foods, Central Market, HEB...all within five minutes of this sad over-hyped place.


I don't get the popularity of this place; just had the most underwhelming experience ever, and left with an empty basket last night which was a first.

Almost everything is heat and serve products, the flow of the place is horrible, and it just felt really bad ambling through the place.

My guess is that it's for people whose idea of cooking is to heat and serve stuff that's been premade. And that's a lot of people I suppose.


How easy is it to make your own edamame hummus.  This is a store for people who don't cook.  Prefab food.


Ate their italian turkey meatloaf.  Husband, preschooler and infant gobbled it up.  Not amazing, but pretty good and only 5min. in the microwave prep time. Also liked the prepared chicken caesar wrap.


Not an epic fail but I don't get the enthusiasm for the Cookie Butter.  It's nice enough but I've had my first (and last) taste and it's just not that great.  I'll bring it to work were my co-workers will polish off any unattended food stuff. 


This is great. Used to only have Spec's in the neighborhood. Now there's Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, HEB, and other updated markets nearby.

texmex01 topcommenter

The chocolate covered popcorn.....


I went to a Trader Joe's last year when I was in Philly and thought nothing of it beyond it being a grocery store. I had the unfortunate experience of trying to make my way to PetSmart this last weekend to get cat litter and ran smack into the brand-obsessed zombie horde. What a bunch of psychos.




 @brookeviggiano Well... do you love them so much that you scream at people who happen to have a parking spot when you do not?

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