17 October 2007

Trader Joe's opens in Bellingham. Kosher meat lovers* in Vancouver rejoice.

What's better than finding a store that sells FRESH KOSHER 1" thick steak CHEAP?

Finding a store that sells FRESH KOSHER 1" thick steak CHEAP that's only an hour** drive away.

Chevra, Trader Joe's has come to Bellingham. We at KosherVancouver sacrificed a Sunday to check it out for you. Bellis Fair is no longer the only reason to go to B'ham. We found fresh steak, fresh ground beef, fresh turkey, fresh ground turkey, fresh whole chicken, cut up chicken, organic chicken, skinless breast, organic skinless breast and of course, hot dogs. There is the to-die-for smoked mozarella and Italian mozzarella, although that's about it for acceptable hechshered cheeses.

Snacks and desserts galore. Milk chocolate chips, and parve chocolate chips. Ghirardelli chocolate chunks. Fake italian sausage and bacon. Yogurts of all flavours. Oh, and did we mention wine? Yes, Baron Herzog and Fortant (Chardonnay included), which is helpful now that our local resource has closed. Although, remember that technically, you're not supposed to buy alcohol if you're gone less than 48 hours.

In the old days, if you were sitting at your desk in the afternoon, with a craving for a nice, thick, juicy steak, you were outta luck. If you didn't take the rock-hard, frozen-since-the-ice-ages steak you bought locally out of the freezer the night before, you ain't having steak that night.

Those days are gone, gone, gone. Now, if you're sitting at your desk thinking you'd like a steak that night, you can drive down to B'ham, pick up a steak, and drive back, and be back in time for dinner. Granted, that's a long way to go for a craving, but we have three words for you: Seattle. Three. Hours.

We saved $20 on gas by filling our tank in B'ham, and paid ridiculously cheap prices - some products were HALF of what we pay in Vancouver. And with the dollar being above par, it actually didn't cost us anything to go to Trader Joe's. Except a few hours of our day.

One caution. Trader Joe's has an extensive kosher inventory, but some of the hechshers are not recommended by the OU or BCK. A lot of the cheeses are "tablet K." We also saw a lot of the generic "K" on products. Obviously, unless you know the product and know the source of the hashgacha for that product, a "K" should not be accepted.

Related to that, there is a product that Trader Joe's carries which has lost their certification, although some packages are still marked with a hechsher.

2410 James Street (Mt. Baker Hwy, Sunset Dr exit. At end of ramp, go straight across and you'll be on James.)
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: (360) 734-5166
Trading Hours: 9 am - 9 pm

Note, they do not have "hechshered in the US only" products such as Thomas's English Muffins, Entenmann's or Oreo cookies. Head to Hagen's for those.

Make your first steak with just a little salt & pepper. Revel in those juices.

*Not meant to exclude vegetarians or non-meat lovers. You can rejoice, too!
**Always depending on border traffic, of course.