March 18, 2006

TJ's in Manhattan

Trader Joe's opened a store near the campus of NYU today. Apparently the line to get in to the store was around the corner and the customers picked the store clean -- Soviet Safeway clean, as in nothing left on the shelves -- in forty minutes.

To quote my man Smoove B, "Damn!"

There's very little that makes me more homesick for California than hearing about TJ's. Kalamata olive oil, pounds of cheap nuts, fresh arugala, frozen beef taquitos, fifteen kinds of coffee and fifty kinds of beer, those yummy little cheese raviolis, unbelievable discount wine (two-buck Chuck is only the tip of the iceberg), discount fresh flowers, a rotating stock of flash-frozen fish, and the best damn guacamole ever. I mean ev-ER. I make good guacamole, but I prefer TJ's to my own.

Okay, I'm a foodie. I admit it. Food is one of life's great pleasures.

I talked with an old friend today, a guy who teaches at USC. (You know who you are.) He promised to get me some more Kalamata olive oil; we just ran out here at La Casita last week. Now, high-quality olive oil is available here in Knox. But not olive oil made from Kalamata olives, and I've never seen oil this green anywhere else but TJ's -- not even in Italy (I've not yet been to Greece). A princely gift indeed!

If we wind up having to move to find real jobs, proximity to a TJ's store will be a factor in making a quality-of-life evaluation. Come to think of it, why isn't there a TJ's in Nashville? It's a big enough, cosmopolitan and sophisticated enough, and affulent enough city that it could easily support a TJ's. There would have to be a separate wine-and-liquor store next door with its own entry and exit and its own cash register because Tennesseans have this weird taboo about selling wine (but not beer) with food, but that could get worked out.

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