08 April 2008

Trader Yosef's

A curious reader asks the following question:
"does anyone know if Trader Joe's will have a good selection of kosher l'pesach food?"

Because we at Kosher Vancouver always have our readers' best interests at heart, we took it upon ourselves to shlep down to the States this past Sunday to investigate.

(Okay, so we did some of our own Pesach shopping, too.)

The answer is, no. We asked the First Mate in Bellingham (no, seriously, that's what they call the head customer service guy) and he said they were not planning on bringing in anything specific, other than keeping the kosher meat stocked up. He mentioned they used to bring in the "crackers" but they weren't going to this year.

And for those of you who are wondering, they don't know when they'll have the smoked mozarella again. When we got over our devastation, we answered the First Mate's questions about Pesach, and gave him a brief rundown of the holiday.

So the answer for Trader Joe's is you can get kosher meat, and a few bottles of kosher wine. However, travel an extra hour or so south and visit the University Village QFC (I-5 South to exit 171 to NE 65th St to 25th Ave). Everything you could possibly need for Passover, you will find there. Plenty of fresh meat, roasts, briskets, chicken, lamb, and cholov yisroel products for Pesach. In addition to their regular kosher section, they have a nice-sized Passover display that includes all the standards. And of course, decent prices on everything. You'll plotz over the price of the meat.

You can have lunch right at the QFC in Noah's, a kosher bagel/deli shop.

QFC even has a nice (cheap!) wine selection, or you can go back to NE 65th and visit Tree of Life, which has a big wine display. Just remember, technically, you can't bring any alcohol back with you to Canada if you've only been gone a day. Some people have gotten away with the "ritual purposes/religious use" explanation, but you can't always count on that working.

Pick up freezer packs for $1 each at the meat department, or buy a large freezer bag to keep your meat cold while you sit in the line-up at the border going home. We bought frozen blintzes, put them in an insulated bag with a freezer pack, and despite two stops and an hour wait at the border, they were still frozen when we got back to Vancouver.

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