What a Difference a Year Makes
Today is a hard day to have a food blog in the Capital Region, especially if you happen to be hundreds of miles away from Wolf Road. Because today, that thoroughfare lined with chain restaurants and shopping plazas is the epicenter of the Albany food universe.
If I were in town, I would have woken up early and trudged my tired tush down to the Trader Joe’s parking lot, and hung out with the crazies who I suspect will be gathering before sunrise to be among the first inside the new store. The thing is that they aren’t crazy. It’s just that the desire for this market has been so deep, and it has been unfulfilled for so long, that the first opening of those doors will be a magnificent release.
Surely to many, stepping foot in our very own Trader Joe’s will bring palpable feelings of joy so strong that it might approach ecstasy. Others will want to see what all the fuss is about and will come just to check it out. I fall firmly into the former category, and when I finally do step foot in the shop (I’m hoping to do so on Sunday), I suspect that despite the horrific parking, it will be difficult to wipe the silly grin off my face.
Do you want to hear something funny? August 3 is an auspicious date. Okay, that’s not actually funny at all, but I’ll tell you why I would say say such a thing.
It was exactly a year ago today that I wrote the post State College is Getting What? This was an irate piece about how a small town in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania defined only by its large university was getting a Trader Joe’s, and Albany wasn’t even on their two-year plan.
That was a year ago, and the State College TJs still isn’t even open. It’s not even expected to open until the end of the year.
Oops. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Really, I have no idea what happened to change their mind. And frankly it doesn’t even matter. We’ve finally got our own Trader Joe’s. That means I no longer have to buy overpriced olive oil after my strategic reserve–from trips to distant TJs in other states–dries up. It also means that I’ll be able to buy some of their frozen foods too, which I haven’t done for about five years.
Back in California, Trader Joe’s was a regular part of my grocery shopping routine. And leaving it behind, I felt like I lost a bit of myself as well. Now it feels like I’m getting it back. TJ’s isn’t just another place to buy food. It is a little piece of my old life in my new home.
If that doesn’t make you happy, I totally understand. And if you’ve never been to a Trader Joe’s before, it may take a while before you learn to love the place. I say this from direct experience. For several years in California, people kept on telling me about the glory of TJs. And I never got it.
But by the time Young Master Fussy was born, it had become indispensible.
Sorry I’ll miss all the other die-hard Trader Joe’s fans at the opening today. Please drive safely. For the love of God, don’t try to pull into Trader Joe’s by turning left across traffic on Wolf Road. And for all that is good and holy, when leaving the parking lot, don’t even think about turning another direction besides right onto Wolf. It may be inconvenient for you, but doing otherwise is guaranteed to snarl up traffic for everyone else.
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If you were inspired to check out the archives based on the prescience of last year’s post, here are two more for your consideration:
Two years ago today on the FLB: Writing a Letter to Chefs
Three years ago today on the FLB: Old Dogs