I spent the last week in California, splitting my time between Los Angeles, where I had a stellar dinner at Night + Market, a Thai restaurant that pimps everything from fried pigs' tail to pigs' blood, and Newport Beach, a city whose restaurant scene is depressing, save for Pizzeria Mozza -- and even that was disappointing, albeit more because of the lousy service than the pizzas, which deserve the hype.
Most of my time, however, was devoted to touring farmers' markets and cruising the aisles of Trader Joe's, the cultish specialty grocer that got its start in California and will open two stores in Colorado, one on East Eighth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, in Denver, later this year, and a second store in Boulder, slated to grace the People's Republic next year at 1906 28th Street, in the Twenty Ninth Street mall.
I'm a cautious fan of Trader Joe's -- not an impassioned fiend like a lot of people, but I'll admit that I get the allure, although those of you who have the desire to camp out the night before the Denver Trader Joe's opens...you people are crazy.
There's no predicting what products will line the shelves when Trader Joe's does open -- the inventory changes on a whim, and right this very minute, the food nation is in a tizzy because the grocer seems to have a shortage of Speculoos, its moan-and-groan-worthy cookie butter spread reminiscent of gingerbread -- but a wander through the aisles unearthed several products that the masses are tossing into their carts with zeal, coconut oil spray and spinach and kale dip, among the most popular.
My favorite? The chocolate-covered sea salt and butterscotch caramels, which I'm snacking on right now. Here's a peek at those and the other trendy products (beer included) that the frenzied worshipers in California are snapping up; hopefully we'll see some of these in Denver.
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