I had enough time this morning to drive to TJ's since I was just around the corner, paying a visit to a client at Swedish Hospital. So I drove up the hill, parked, (their garage is small and tricky to navigate but hey, it beats scrounging around for street parking) checked out the new gigs and shopped for a few things. At 11:45 the store was jam packed. It was a beautiful sunny, blue sky morning. Steel drummers played outside, colorful balloons bobbed in the air, friendly crew mates with their trademark Hawaiian shirts greeted everyone. Quite the welcome wagon!
There were cheese demos and hot from the oven cheese pizza (melt in your mouth cheese and crispy crust). A store full to the gills of every single item Trader Joe's has become famous for (well, everything except their Chuck Roast). There were all my favorites too: wine, cheese, Heirloom Tomatoes, Figs, Fage Total Authentic Greek Yogurt, Ranger chickens and quality meats, Smoked Salmon, Valencia Oranges and Mâche.
Needless to say, between the lively steel drums, the full to the brim aisles, the shiny happy people holding hands and the excitement of it all, I got a bit carried away. I had been using up everything we had in the fridge, awaiting today's opening. I really needed to do some quality grocery shopping.
I walked around the store, picking things up, placing them in my car, with a silly smile on my face, chatting with fellow shoppers and exchanging recipes and cooking ideas. It wasn't until I looked at my watch that I realized I had but a few minutes left to pay for my purchases, drive downtown, unload my loot and perhaps speed up a bit to make it to my next appointment (in Renton of all places!) in time. So I hurried home, left all my groceries behind and made it to Renton, barely.
So...why, you ask, do I love Trader Joe's so much? Why have I been counting the days for the opening of the Capitol Hill store? Why? For the same reason everyone else that shops at Trader Joe's loves this little shop that could. Friendly staff, fun shopping experience, great quality products and values, because of its superb customer service. And because... well, the proof is in the receipt.