Spring quarter at UCLA is perhaps one of the busiest periods of the year for Bruins. In addition to sitting in and studying for classes, students often spend this time preparing for graduate school admission exams, applying for last-minute internships or even campaigning for student government elections. Thus, it is not shocking that such a jam-packed ten weeks might induce stress. During these times, it is especially important to dedicate some portion of one’s schedule to unwinding or simply taking the time to do something just for fun.
One means of taking a breather might come in the form of taking a trip to the local Trader Joe’s market, which is conveniently located on Glendon and Weyburn Avenue. Visiting Trader Joe’s always seems like an adventure, as the store prides itself on incessantly brainstorming to create new and exciting products for customers. One might enter the market with the intention of buying eggs, only to leave the store with two bags of Bollywood Vegan Tikka Masala Popcorn and a few boxes of Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies.
In this “listicle,” I thought I would share some of the best, quirkiest kosher items you can find at Trader Joe’s in your quest to bask in some me-time. Enjoy, and best of luck this spring.
1. Milk Chocolate Smashing S’mores: Trader Joe’s has made the s’mores-making process just a little simpler by offering these babies on the shelf. Smashing S’mores are essentially mini s’mores coated in milk chocolate. While they can definitely be eaten straight out of the container, I would recommend popping them in the microwave for five to ten seconds. It makes all the difference, trust me.
2. Kona Coffee Cookie Mocha Swirl Ice Cream: This month, Trader Joe’s has really stepped up its coffee game by offering a number of coffee-flavored items, including this bad boy. The ice cream itself is Kona coffee-based, and is hugged by swirls of coffee shortbread cookies and mocha-flavored fudge. Be warned, though, this ice cream can become addictive, so be sure to purchase this sparingly.
3. Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough: While this item might not be ready-made, it is on my list of unique items because it will surely give your personal pizza an extra kick of flavor. The dough is non-dairy and is also available in plain and whole-wheat versions. Pair it with Trader Joe’s Chipotle Salsa as the sauce and a Marinated Mozzarella cheese topping for an out-of-this world lunch or dinner.
4. Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies: This item is a cookie-lover’s paradise. Trader Joe’s has taken its cookie game to the next level by smearing a thick layer of its legendary Speculoos Cookie Butter in between two light yet buttery sugar cookies. The end result is an extra sweet treat that can lighten up even the most stressed out student. Be sure to eat these infrequently, though, as it is easy to get hooked on them — I say this from personal experience.
5. Sunflower Seed Butter: This slightly sweet item is a staple in my kitchen, and rightly so. Just two tablespoons of this spread pack in four grams of fiber and seven grams of protein. Slather this on a slice of whole-wheat toast or pour onto a bowl of oatmeal for a nutrient-rich and tasty breakfast.
6. Trader Joe San Soyaki: Stir fry and barbecue lovers unite around this tangy, somewhat sweet sauce that can be used as a marinade, barbecue sauce or a staple in a tofu, beef or chicken stir fry. As an added bonus, this soyaki also features sesame seeds for an extra hint of flavor. Add bell pepper, snow peas, onion and garlic to the mix for a filling and tasty dinner or lunch.
7. Popcorn in a Pickle: Popcorn that tastes like a dill pickle. Sounds too weird to try, right? While this item might come off as unappealing, once you try it, it is hard to put down. Trader Joe’s really hit the nail on this one by sprinkling the popular movie snack with dill pickle seasoning. For only $1.99 per bag and 75 calories per cup, you can enjoy this unusual yet delicious snack as an alternative to some of the microwavable popcorn options, which often contain much more calories per serving.
While this list contains some of my personal favorites, I encourage you to visit your local Trader Joe’s sometime this quarter and pick up an item or two that intrigues you. Maybe it will serve as your pick-me-up for the quarter, or maybe you will find it to be something that complements your preexisting diet. Overall, I hope that this “listicle” has been entertaining and has inspired you, in some way, to find a means to add a little more fun to your busy schedule and, in so doing, further enjoy your time here at UCLA.