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What's Up Magazine

Our Favorite Specialty Grocery Products

Oct 06, 2011 09:45PM ● By Anonymous


So, it's good to mix things up by trying new products or visiting new grocery stores. When it comes to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or other non-standard grocery stores, people love to share their favorite products. Trust me -- just Google it. It's like they're letting someone in on a secret. 

So, we're going to let you in on our secrets. I polled four What's Up? employees -- including myself -- and asked them to share their favorite products from local grocery stores, as well as a couple products that widely available. Next time you're looking for something new and amazing, try one of our faves.

The Employees
Kelsey Casselbury, food editor
Sarah Hagery, health editor
Alexandra Betrand, assistant to the publisher & special projects
Lindsay Kuczera, web content specialist
Elyse Exposito, arts editor

Trader Joe's
This was by far our favorite place, based on the number of items we all adore from there. 

Kelsey says ... "A container of Wine Country chicken salad, some vegetable chips, and a Raspberry-Lime sparkling water is all I need for a good lunch. However, I frequently stop by after work for the ciabatta rolls or a package of the baby bok choy. The sesame oil is also the cheapest I've ever found. 

Lindsay says ... "At Trader Joe's I always get (or want to get but hold back because of money):


  • Biyrani curried rice (it has raisins, apple pieces, peas, and red peppers in it. I could literally eat this rice for dinner every day for the rest of my life.)
  • Fresh salsa
  • Plantain chips
  • Fruit and nut bagged mixes - they have so many kinds
  • Flaxseed vegetable tortilla chips
  • Organic chai tea latte mix

    ^^ Yum.
Elyse says ... "Trader Joe’s brand Dried Apricots are yummy and healthy."
Sarah says ... "You cannot beat Trader Joe’s frozen asparagus."

Alexandra says ... At Traders, my staples are the penne arrabiata. I love all things spicy and I’m a sucker for pasta. Quick to make and delish! They also are spot-on with their guacamole. I usually buy the creamy greek yogurt with the honey packet attached on the side.  Ooo ooo, I make sure I’m stocked up on cornichons (small French sour pickles).  And one last thing, I’m obsessed with the red pepper habanerjo flour tortillas. Often I’ll roll pepperjack cheese, ham, and California Screamin chipotle sauce in a tortilla and microwave for 30 seconds. Very spicy -- awakens the senses.

Whole Foods
In general, we all agreed that Whole Foods' strong suit is its amazing salad/hot foods bar. We all spend way too much money there on lunch.

Lindsay says ... "I always make a trip to Whole Foods for their lunch items. But while I'm there I also make sure I grab:
  • snap pea snacks (the dried salty snack)
  • glee gum (all natural with no aspartame or any of that bad sugar)
  • Stonyfield chocolate underground yogurt (they don't have it atTrader Joes or Food Lion so i must stock up here)
  • The "serve yourself section" of nuts and trail mixes 
It seems that I (Kelsey) am the only one of the five of us who visits this Bowie store, but the prices there just can't be beat. From there, I always get the Artichoke and Garlic salsa, mozzarella cheese, and vegetable chips.

Fresh Market

Elyse says ... Fresh Market has the largest selection of candy, it’s comparable to the Amish Market, like dark chocolate covered almonds.

Sarah says ... Fresh Market has an apple pie in their bakery department that rivals Grandmom’s (however it’s not always available).

Widely available products

Kelsey says ... I don't know how I didn't know this existed until recently, but Jif To Go, the small package of peanut butter, have made my snacks of apple and celery a lot more enjoyable. I'm also obsessed with whole-wheat egg noodles, made by Ronzoni Healthy Harvest, which I put in so much ... chicken noodle soup, beef stroganoff, pot roast, etc. 

Lindsay says .... The other item I can't live without is Yogi Teas. They have so many different kinds and they are all organic or all natural. Delicious with just the right amount of caffeine. They have a tea for any little thing you need help with, from detox to energy to digestive to cold season, they've got it! 

Elyse says ... Coconut water by Grace at Giant is always like $2 for three cans and isn’t thick and gross like brands Zico and Vita. It’s got five times the potassium as a banana! I also use it to “save” homemade fruit and veggie juice when it doesn’t taste so good.

Sarah says ... It’s not gourmet, but the Weis brand cottage cheese and French onion dip are just head and shoulders above any others…and I’ve tried every brand out there. I  go to Weis just for those products (there’s one in Pasadena and there’s one in West County in Odenton).  I’ve also become completely hooked on Lindy’s Italian Water Ice (Weis and Giant) in Root Beer or Orange (not flavors you usually find in other brands). Safeway has organic already-popped popcorn that is delicious and doesn't stink up your microwave, but it can be very hard to find the display because it isn't with the other snack food and each Safeway puts it someplace different.