Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Day 357 - Chestnuts AND the Jacksonville Beach, FL Trader Joe's

Color me frustrated today.  My laptop is dying, it will not stay ON, keeps going to a completely black screen.  Even in "safe mode" it won't work.  I have a new laptop (not "new" technically since I got it this summer) but I have not migrated any data to it.  I planned to do that "soon".  Yeah, not soon enough, apparently.  Sigh.  And to top it all off, the NEW LAPTOP won't let me log in!  It won't even help me reset the dumb password.  A trip to Geek Squad is in order, yes, on Christmas Eve Eve. 

Wait - this is FESTIVUS isn't it???  Oh my, I just remembered!  See how flustered I am???  I love Festivus.  One year we made our own Festivus pole and stood outside handing out Marshmallow Peeps to people stopped at the red light!

Anyway, I am frustrated.  My bajillions of photos are on my old computer, including all of my Trader Joe's shots.  Sigh.  Please, please, PLEASE let this be fixable (and not cost tons of money).

In the meantime, I have photos on my camera that I took yesterday at a BRAND NEW (to us) Trader Joe's - Jacksonville Beach, FL!  So I will sync those to David's computer (which I do not enjoy using...) and write from it.  Here goes.

TADA - JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLORIDA TRADER JOE'S!  Isn't the curved building cool?
First off, the actual store:  it is lovely!  It is super clean (a bit over a year old), bright, and very roomy. And guess what - they do wine tastings every single day.  Do you hear that, Bailey's Crossroads Trader Joe's??  I know it helps sell a lot of wine!  Heck, I would even volunteer to sit in the store and make little tick marks if you would like a "scientific" study done on how effective wine tasting is (I would, of course, need to taste wine while conducting my study...).  

We were surprised to find that the Jacksonville store has almost no 2015 holiday products left.  All of the other Trader Joe's we  have gone to have tons of lotions and potions and most importantly, CHOCOLATES for the holidays, but the Jacksonville Beach store was about stripped clean of any of that.  Those Jacksonville people know their seasonal products when they see 'em and scoop them up apparently!

They aren't kidding, folks.  Grab the seasonal stuff if you want it!
Now, the EMPLOYEES.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Seriously folks, they have some NICE PEOPLE working at this store!!!  I am going to give a shout out to one for now (more in the coming days entries):  PAUL.  Paul, you are the man!!  He was polite, friendly, and so warm and welcoming!  I told him about my reviews and this blog and he was so interested.  

Here is PAUL, he is just as nice in person as he looks in this photo.  Plus helpful!
Paul introduced me to some special people (more about that in an upcoming entry) and then, get this, GAVE ME A GIFT.  Wait, not even A gift, but GIFTS!!!  He gave me pink roses (beautiful) and a Florida Trader Joe's bag full of goodies!!!!  Is that fabulous or is that fabulous???  Paul, thank you so much for making me feel so welcome in your store.  The flowers are all spread out around the house and it looks beautiful in here now!  I have already used the TJ's bag twice!  And the snacks, well you KNOW the snacks will get put to good use!!!  

LOOK at all of these great gifts Paul bestowed upon me!  
OK, I guess I need to review something.  I have to get this in before midnight so as not to mess up this whole project just cuz of technology giving me a headache.  So let's look at CHESTNUTS, shall we?

David likes to eat chestnuts during the winter holiday season.  He remembers his dad making them when he was a kid.  (I didn't grow up with chestnuts and they are still a bit weird to me.)  David also remembers eating them from street vendors in Paris, and we get them when we go to New York City, too (case in point - had some in NYC just a couple weeks ago!).  

Last year we bought a bag at Trader Joe's and then let them sit around for so long without making them that by the time we got around to them, they were not good anymore.  This year we did things differently!

Picked up another bag of chestnuts yesterday at the Jacksonville Beach store.  
David, the chestnut liker in the family, is also the chestnut MAKER.  Here is how he does it:  he cuts a cross in the top of the nut to prevent it from exploding, then cooks them in a hot oven (around 400) for about 15 - 20 minutes.  One year he soaked them in water about 20 minutes before cutting and cooking them, on the theory that might make them moister when cooked.  But once he was done with them he decided the soaking had no effect, so don't bother.

He liked the Trader Joe's chestnuts when we made them in November.  In fact, I liked them, too. Then, like I mentioned, we went to NYC and bought some from a street vendor and they were like triple the size of the TJ's nuts.  I think that made David envious or something...  So now he is not quite as enamored of the TJ's chestnuts, cuz he feels like they are "small".   

$4.99 - a fair price if I do say so myself.
Having written all of that, I asked him his thoughts and here is what he says, "These are a traditional seasonal event, so perhaps more delicious for their sentimental value than pure taste.  The nuts themselves are rich, large, and of a taste all their own.  

If you have never tried chestnuts you should do so.  They are quite sweet as nuts, although not in a sugary way.  They are hard to de-shell sometimes but there is nothing wrong with eating the inner fibrous skin if you can't get that off.  Ideally both the outer shell and the inner skin will come off with careful peeling and reveal a perfect, moist, golden nut looking like a tiny rat brain.  :)  Mmmmm, delicious!

Chestnuts roasting by an "open fire"...
Well, as "open fire" as you get in a beach house with no fireplace... 
In practice though, it is usually a numbers game; some nuts will be so hard you can't get the shells off, some will be mealy or have a rotten spot inside.  But the REST will be delicious and warm!  These TJ's nuts are medium sized (editor's note:  see!  I knew he would mention the size!!  Ha!) but relatively fresh so most of them are good.  You can probably get whopper sized ones at a higher price somewhere, but these are fine.  I give these a 4."  

Here is a bonus photo of the bottom of my new shopping bag from Jax.  Did you ever look at the BOTTOM of your TJ's bag??  You should - they are always cool!

Look!  The Florida bag bottom has a postcard written to corporate!  :)

Price - $4.99
Rating - 4


  1. Hi...I'm so glad you and David came to our store, I must say I'm with you..I LOVE my store..

    1. It is an easy store to love Gail!!! Great products. Super displays. And fun employees!!

    2. I was in the store yesterday to pick up a few things for Christmas. I wonder if we were there at the same time. The time on my receipt is exactly 1:00 PM.

    3. Wow that is cool! We checked out at 12:30, so if you were in the store walking the aisles awhile before that we were there at the same time. Did you do the wine tasting? Maybe you were the person tasting wine with us!

    4. We didn't go to the wine tasting area. We probably just missed you as we only picked up a few items. We normally shop on Sunday mornings when it isn't crowded. I would have recognized you if I saw you. I would have had to come up and say something. If the traffic had not been so bad, we might have caught up with you. We don't live at the beach, so it's quite a drive for us when we travel during the week.

    5. Oh! That would have been so fun to see you there! Sorry the timing didn't work out.

    6. Maybe next year...

      I don't know if you saw this story online, but it's another reason to love TJ's:

  2. I haven't eaten chestnuts in decades, and you had me convinced to try them...right up to the "tiny rat brain" comment. Now I would be unable to enjoy chestnuts without thinking about the poor baby rats that gave their lives to make them. ;)

  3. "Lotions and potions." By coincidence, that is part of the answer to this week's NPR Sunday Edition puzzle. Listen Sunday morning, and you'll see!

    1. Wait a hot minute here, how do you know the answer to the puzzle before Sunday?

    2. First, because I solved it! Second, because a place called Blaine's Puzzle Blog discusses the answer every week as soon as the deadline for submitting answers has passed (usually Thursday 3 pm Eastern time).

    3. First, because I solved it! Second, because a place called Blaine's Puzzle Blog discusses the answer every week as soon as the deadline for submitting answers has passed (usually Thursday 3 pm Eastern time).

    4. OHHHH I thought you knew what the puzzle was going to be BEFORE they aired it!! You mean the answer for LAST WEEK'S puzzle that they had not aired the answer to for, eh? Cool that you solved it!