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Published June 10, 2012, 11:30 PM

Favorite Things: Sherri’s favorite Trader Joe’s goodies

FARGO - In 2009, my editor assigned me to write an article about an online effort to bring a Trader Joe’s to Fargo. I’d never heard of the specialty grocery store until that moment.

By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

FARGO - In 2009, my editor assigned me to write an article about an online effort to bring a Trader Joe’s to Fargo. I’d never heard of the specialty grocery store until that moment.

I interviewed local residents who spoke passionately about the California-headquartered chain, its quality food, inexpensive wine and unique atmosphere.

I wrote the story, but didn’t really get it until I visited the Trader Joe’s in Maple Grove, Minn., during my next trip to the Cities.

TJ’s emphasis on organic products, natural ingredients and unique items at reasonable prices impressed me. Since then, the store off Interstate 694 has been a must-stop on our way back to Fargo, and I wish we’d get one here someday soon.

Each time I shop there, I find some new culinary adventure to try. During a Memorial Day visit, I picked up for the first time Trader Joe’s take on multigrain tortilla chips, Greek-style yogurt and pesto-filled tortelloni. I’ve bought and enjoyed Trader Joe’s spicy edamame, peppermint green tea and Italian Blood Orange Soda. I’ve liked different salsas, cheeses and pita chips.

But there are also some staples – some favorites – I buy every time.

  1. General Tsao Stir Fry Sauce

    General Tso’s chicken is my favorite Chinese restaurant entree, and this sauce lets me make the spicy/sweet dish at home. $2.79 for 12.35-ounce bottle.

  2. Yogurt Covered Raisins

    Smooth rich yogurt coating encases large, soft raisins. Seriously addictive. $3.99 for 15 ounces.

  3. Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

    These miniature biscotti bites are the perfect texture – crunchy but not tooth-breaking hard – and pair wonderfully with a cup of coffee. $3.99 for 8 ounces.

  4. Lowfat Granola Cereal with Almond

    This cereal is great to mix with yogurt and fresh fruit for a parfait, or to eat out of a bowl topped with vanilla-flavored rice or almond milk. It’s loaded with fiber, but not with fat. $2.79 for 16-ounce box.

  5. Garlic Rice Noodle Soup Bowl

    Like Ramen, but waaaay better. Just fill the bowl with hot water and lunch is ready in 3 minutes. $0.99 for 2.58-ounce bowl.

  6. Dark Chocolate

    Trader Joe’s offers many types of dark chocolate and I haven’t had a bad batch yet. During my last trip, I bought a Fair Trade Organic 72-percent cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar. It was decadently rich, flavorful and a bit bitter. $1.99 for a 3.5-ounce bar.

  7. Thai Red Curry Sauce

    This spicy sauce with a hint of coconut makes it insanely easy to create Thai flavors in my kitchen. I cook chicken breasts, broccoli and red pepper chunks, stir in the sauce, simmer and then serve over rice. $2.79 for an 11-ounce bottle.

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