You can't live where I do without shopping at Trader Joe's. When I first moved to Hollywood and was flat broke, I survived on a weekly, $20 grocery run at the Trader Joe's around the corner from my apartment. And today, it's the place to find everything you've never heard of, to not find everything you got addicted to just before they stopped carrying it, and to meet the occasional "D" or even "E" list celebrity as you both reach into the freezer for that last box of tofu posing as ice cream.
Take wine, for example. Where else can you find wine with nothing but a big, colorful question mark on the bottle?
Or a big, angry bird that practically dares you to pull out a corkscrew?
Or a face the promises how happy you'll be, if you drink just enough?
Or, better yet, a big honkin' pancake that shows what you'll hallucinate, if you drink too much?
The true Trader Joe's experience, however, is so much more. The only thing that even comes close to capturing it is this little song and video by Carl Willat:
If and when I ever leave California, I hope the place I move to will have a Trader Joe's...