When I moved back to Dallas from New York last summer, I didn't miss Manhattan much. But the first few times I had to visit Albertson's or even Central Market, I experienced fits of nostalgia for the glory days of Zabar's and Trader Joe's.
So with the grand opening today of Trader Joe's on Greenville Avenue, I'm mentally preparing myself for the best kind of déjà vu. Here are the things that have me salivating with excitement.
1. Chocolate Covered Potato Chips A perfect combo of salty and sweet, these can cure the worst of days. Don't make my rookie mistake of buying the chocolate candies shaped like potato chips; look for the brightly colored bag and buy several. I learned that I could go through an entire bag in a single episode of One Tree Hill.
2. Chevre Log with Honey After trying this tangy, sweet goat cheese I've tried to recreate it by drizzling honey on my own spread to no avail. According to the Trader Joe's website, that perfect flavor is achieved by infusing the cheese with 10 percent dark golden white clover honey. I remember the price point on this being reasonable, too.
3. Actually, the entire cheese selection I have tried a good 90 percent of the cheese plates in Dallas, which is totally disgusting allows me to assure you with a certain amount of confidence that the Trader Joe's I know and love has some damn good cheese. And it's reasonably priced too.
4. Garlic-Marinated Mushrooms Too many times I walked into Trader Joe's famished and walked out with the most random assortment of things. Trying the Garlic Marinated Mushrooms was the result of one of the best hungry grocery store runs in my personal history.
5. Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter Or plain cookie butter. I just had the delicious idea to dip the chocolate covered potato chips into the cookie butter. My mouth is watering.
6. Quick Meals In Manhattan, fast, easy-to-prepare dishes were key. One of my favorites is the refrigerated packs of tortellini. Stick it in a boiling pot of water, and voila: Tastes something like homemade noodles.
7. Hummus Trader Joe's is a self-professed "hummus-happy" store. If you're looking for a snack that's not cheese, they really do have an awesome selection of hummus. When was the last time you tasted Edamame Hummus? For me, it's been far too long.
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8. Two-buck Chuck (now three-buck Chuck) Sometimes I like to pretend I'm a wine lover who'd rather spend more money for the high quality "good stuff." But thank god for Charles Shaw. When I was a broke, thirsty grad student, his bargain wine made that couch I was sleeping on so much more comfortable. It might be nostalgia, but I'll be snatching a bottle on opening day. When it comes to picking white or red, go for the merlot.
9. Villa Italia Italian Sodas I hope this is a brand they keep when they come to Dallas. The blood orange flavor is incredible.
10. The Trader Joe's Experience It's just better there somehow.
Trader Joe's opens today at 8 a.m. at 2001 Greenville Avenue.