Trader Joe's - Westheimer/Royal Oaks [Houston, TX]

New store opening July 29, 2016.

Also in the same center, where Harvest vacated, Beer Something Or Other is going in.

This is way out west between Wilcrest and Kirkwood.

Let’s eat!

Oh dear, now my chocolate croissants will be so much more accessible. :doughnut:

On track to open tomorrow. This one may actually be the closest one to me since I’m near the SW corner of BW8. Plus it’s on the way to Phoenicia so I can kill two birds with one stone and get to Phoenicia more often.

Made a trek Sunday AM about an hour after opening. Very small number of customers. The only rub about how close this place is (besides the toll on BW 8) is the difficulty in making a u-turn on Westheimer to access the parking lot. That maneuver literally added 5 minutes to the trip even on a Sunday morning.

I had trouble finding some of my usual purchases because the layout is quite different from the Shepherd store which is the one I’ve been to most, but it was a successful trip.

They were offering samples of the cold brew coffee which I’ve bought before but didn’t like the blend of beans they use. There is a new organic cold brew concentrate and I told them I wanted to try that so they went to get a bottle and poured a sample cup half full, undiluted, and handed it to me. I pointed out it’s a concentrate and needed to be thinned out so they offered me a choice of two flavors of TJ’s creamers. I said no, thinned out. So they offered me sugar. Finally I pointed to the sink in the corner behind the sample counter and they got the idea.

I like this blend better than the original so far but I’m not sure if it’ll be a regular purchase. I’ve gotten used to making my own cold brew concentrate from locally sourced beans and even though I am consumately lazy, I’ll probably keep doing that.

A big thumbs up for the pluots, best I’ve ever had and as sweet as candy, which is not necessarily a good thing.

A new find was Sambal Matah, a product of Indonesia, with peppers, lemongrass, garlic and shallot. I guess this is a new product? A year or so ago, after having several varieties of sambal served with Sri Lankan fare at Yaal Tiffins, I went on a quest for sambal around town. Other than the pervasive Sambal Oeleck, which is probably available in some gas station convenience stores, all I could find were 3 varieties at Hong Kong Market. I remember looking at TJ’s but didn’t see this one then.

I’ve only sampled it out of the jar and am not sure how I’ll use it, but I’m looking forward to experimenting.

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I went Friday evening, (opening day) as I was passing by. It had been raining and wasn’t crowded at all. Yeah, the layout is different than my usual Voss store a block from my office, but let’s face it, it’s gonna be all the same stuff. This one is about two miles from home, so will be a convenient weekend stop when necessary.

I’m on my sixth or seventh jar of that stuff. I use it as a marinade for stir fries, chicken wings and Chinese style riblets. I think they suggest eating it out of the jar like “salsa”, but it’s a bit oily and chunky for me. But as a marinade base? Perfect.

Yaal Tiffins? That’s right around the corner from me. (Well, no more than a couple of miles, anyway!) Please please start a new thread and tell me more! Yelp reviews look great.

I’m gonna stop in there sooner rather than later. (Hey @Jaymes, @Lambowner @jcostiones , @DownSouthGoodEating , et al, whatcha’ doing this weekend?)

Will do. Give me some time to try to find my notes from a couple of years ago and refresh my memory. I did a blog post but went again and intended to do follow up but never got around to it. I got sick during my second visit - NOT DUE TO THE FOOD AT YAAL TIFFINS - I was already coming down with something when I went, just didn’t realize how serious it was going to be or would have stayed home.

You will need to check with the restaurant about how they’re doing this now. At that time, they served a traditional Sri Lankan feast on Saturdays at noon, all served on a banana leaf and eaten with the fingers, plus Sri Lankan fare was available a la carte on Thursday evening. I don’t think they do it that way any more. The Sri Lankan fare was much better than the South Indian fare, IMO.

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Let’s go!

Well I’ve totally missed it up until now. I only noticed it on my fourth or fifth down that aisle (and the whole store) looking for the raisin medley, which I love.

Thanks for the tips.

OK, here’s the secret, the first street east of TJ’s is Woodland Park. Just south of Westheimer, it intersects Meadowglen. If you go west on Meadowglen from Woodland Park, the first driveway to your right will run up the east side of Kohl’s and directly into Trader Joe’s.

Don’t tell anyone else though.

It’s a secret.

Let’s eat!

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I’m just resurfacing after difficult recent events. I went searching for comfort food and found it in the form of pork belly carbonara at Liberty Kitchen on San Felipe. It happened that yesterday was the first Houston Restaurant Weeks day and the LK menu for lunch was $20 for 3 courses and included a shrimp po-boy, tuna BLT or fish & chips. I have griped in the past about the rubber chicken menu items during HRW, but this menu looked fabulous and I’ll go back for it.

I also missed the opening of TJ’s so I’ll head over today. Thanks for the tips!

Hope nothing too serious, Lambsy.

Be sure and post up on your RW experiences. Mine have been nothing to write home about.

Or write HO about either for that matter.

It’ll all be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end!

I went to the new TJs around noon today, and there were some working folks buying the prepared food and a few shoppers but I had it largely to myself.

I ended up with more frozen foods than I usually get, but the portobello fries sounded so good and the checkout lady said they are very good. Also some pork dumplings - pork shu mai- which the checkout lady also loves (and now I’m beginning to think they purposely compliment you on your choices) and the the fabulous choco croissants.

I guess I’d not looked at the meats much before, I bought a great looking tri-tip roast, so rare of a sighting in Houston. Also some pesto marinated chicken breasts. Neither were inexpensive. The shiny objects at checkout were distracting but I was able to avoid buying something I would not likely use, such as ghost pepper potato chips and dark chocolate covered almonds.

The manager said it’s new construction, at first I thought it was that restaurant space that is still next to it. That place has housed many failed restaurants in the past few years and it now boasts signs saying Beer Nation is coming soon.

Beer Nation
PS - I took your back route via Woodland Park!

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I’m sure. TJ’s version of upsell? “Would you like fries with that?”

I read about the crowds at TJ’s elsewhere. Only one time, at the Shepherd store, have I encountered a large crowd. I made the effort once to go to that store right after opening on a Sunday because I had read of the crowds elsewhere on weekends - there were maybe 8 customers in the store.

I went by the new TJs on Westheimer @ Royal Oaks again this week - the week before Thanksgiving and just a handful of people there. It was about 5:30 so I was expecting after work people. Amazing. I went in just to grab some ghee (they have a sensibly sized jar), and came out with frozen chicken fried rice to go with some 3 cups chicken on the menu this week, frozen zucchini fries, some pork gyoza and some decadent holiday chocolates. Ah well.

You were a block from Phoenicia. Ghee would have been a good excuse to pop in. What do you do with it?

I got the chicken fried rice based on a recc by some guy who was grabbing four bags of it one night. I thought it was OK, but I always make extra rice when I’m making it just so I’ll have some left to make fried rice from scratch. Sooooo good.

I figure homemade is better and certainly not difficult, that day I was interested in quick, but I still haven’t made it.

Most of my ghee stash goes on popcorn. I like to saute frozen artichoke hearts in it until they brown.

I don’t recall ever buying a frozen fried rice dish at TJ’s or anywhere. I usually make large pots of rice and freeze leftovers plain and I’m ok with the results but I don’t think I’ve had much luck with rice included in more complex preparations. I have bought and used, and have in the freezer again, TJ’s frozen Seafood Paella entree. I doubt I’ll ever attempt Paella on my own so I indulge in a convenient version but the rice was really disappointing (altho it’s possible that was due to my preparation and I’m hoping for better results a second time).

You know how the products at TJ’s go in and out of season? Makes it like a treasure hunt. I joined a FB group devoted to all things TJ’s and add the recommendations to my list.

This week I bought the ricotta and lemon zest ravioli (“buy two!” they said) , frozen lasagna (“better than mine!” they said), and meatloaf from the prepared foods section (“great for sandwiches!” they said).

Also:

Shishito peppers
Champagne grapes
Marzano tomatoes
A two pound bag of plums
Burrata
New Zealand rack of ribs ($14/lb)
Spanish Olive Oil
Carmelized onion Cheddar from the UK ("I’m addicted! they said)
Hatch Salsa (I drank the first jar, I bought two this time)

Frozen:

Lasagna
Chicken Tikka Masala
Eggplant Cutlets
Turkey bolognese
French Onion Soup
Choco Croissants
Macarons (“to die for!” they said, I’m taking them to a party this weekend)
Chile Relleno
Mushroom Tarte (second time, this is very good)
Burrata Proscuitto pizza (everyone loves this, I probably won’t buy it again)

That’s all I can think of now.

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What is your assessment of the meatloaf? I’ve bought prepared sandwiches/wraps and salads but none of the entrees (I assume this is just warm up???).

I get a good all beef meatloaf from Belden’s near me and recently tried the turkey meatloaf from CM’s Chef-Prepared section. Both just needing to be warmed up and both good; will buy again. I tried a frozen individual portion spinach lasagna from TJ’s but wasn’t happy with it.

Haven’t been to TJ’s in almost 2 months it seems. Aldi has been keeping me satisfied and it’s so much more convenient.

I haven’t tried it yet, but it is heat and serve. I’ve heard good reports on it.

Their appeal seems to be frozen and prepared entrees, which I rarely buy, but I’m giving some a shot. Some are keepers others not. When I bust open the meatloaf, I’ll report back.

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr