Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trader Joe's

Hollywood Assistants like Trader Joe’s. The economy blows, gas prices are ridiculously high, and you’re still trying to eek by on $8/hour. Sure, you’re above the poverty line, but you’re not really bringing home the bacon. It’s more like bringing home the ramen. Thankfully, there’s a grand emporium that was made for people like you.

If Whole Foods (*cough* Whole Paycheck) is Neiman Marcus, then Trader Joe’s is Target. With affordable prices and a wide and often delightfully surprising selection, TJ’s is one-stop shopping for the average Hollywood Assistant on a budget. And as if that’s not enough, TJ’s is chock full of options that even the biggest kitchen dummy can manage to cook. Guys, if you want to really impress a lady by making her dinner, forget the standard spaghetti and Ragu combo and head to the frozen food aisle. Pick up frozen tempura for the appetizer, goat cheese frozen pizza for the entree, a key lime pie for dessert and you’ll have her undying affection forever…or at least for tonight. But hey, this is Hollywood… you’re not looking for a commitment, right?

But, let’s be honest, the real reason most people go to TJ’s is for the wine selection. At the most basic level, you’ve got your Charles Shaw, aka Two Buck Chuck. It comes in five varietals: chardonnay, merlot, shiraz, cabernet, and sauvignon blanc. It actually retails for $1.99, making it one of the cheapest wine you’ll be able to find anywhere. My friend Chuck can be a little inconsistent… sometimes you get a great bottle and sometimes you get something less than stellar. But please, it’s not like my palate is exactly advanced. And you rarely taste the wine when you chug it.

If you want to really impress your friends, pick up another bottle of something a little nicer for your next game night, dinner party, or pre-game. If you remember to take off the price tag they’ll never have to know it’s from TJ’s. Personally I like to choose wines the way I choose my men: whoever looks the cutest is going home with me. But so many wines carried by Trader Joe’s have really cute labels, so sometimes I face an agonizing decision. Happily, at $4-$6 a bottle, I can justify buying 2…or 3… or 4 bottles.

So if your wallet is feeling especially tight while we’re riding out this latest economic bump and you're counting the days until the start of Obamanomics, stop in at Trader Joe’s. You’ll find lots of budget-friendly options to liven up your normal mac & cheese/Lean Cuisine/canned soup routine. And if money woes have really got you down, pick up a couple of bottles of vino and drink until you can’t remember that you’re in the red anymore.

WHERE: Various locations all over LA. Our personal fave is the one at 3rd & La Brea.
COST: Cheaper than Whole Foods.


michael said...

TJ's is good... for certain things. But let's face it. Their black bean dip (and many of their processed TJ-brand products) is disgusting. It tastes like tree bark paste.

Stuff Hollywood Assistants Like said...

Blasphemy! Don't question the god that is Trader Joe's.

Sure, there might be a few misses here and there, but overall I'm generally pleased by their product.

Hello... tomato basil hummus? That stuff is delish!

Some Audio Guy said...

TJ's is pretty much the best.
When the wife and I were working at competing talent agencies (both bringing in the big bucks ya know) TJ's kept us from having to live off ramen.
Sure a lot of stuff might be frozen, but that just meant we could stock up when we were having a good week.

ashxo said...

I used to hit the 3rd and La Brea store and then I discovered Santa Monica and Poinsettia. Faster lines, bigger store, less idiots with carts, and cuter guys. Ca-ching!