Best Place to Stock Up on Party Basics

Trader Joe's

Yeah, you can buy anything under the damn sun at TJ's and buy it by the truckload. And yeah, the prices are rock bottom and sometimes even ridiculously low. But the quality ain't bad and the selection is out of this universe -- especially for party essentials like wine, nuts, and bottled water. Trader Joe's stocks hundreds of wine brands -- one aisle is dedicated to red alone -- and no other store in the city has a more varied selection for under $10. Hall of Famer Charles Shaw sells for $1.99 a bottle (available in cabernet, merlot, and chardonnay) and it's actually drinkable, though probably not a wise dinner party offering. Other outstanding buys include the Rosemount Shiraz-cabernet at $4.99 and Fetzer (merlot or cabernet) at $5.99 (which usually retails between $8.99 and $9.99). Bottled water is also about a third less expensive here than at the supermarket. A 1.5-liter bottle of sparkling Crystal Geyser runs 85 cents (available in lemon, lime, and unflavored), and Italian favorite San Pellegrino, often priced at $4-5 in restaurants, retails for a measly $1.09 per bottle. And listen up, Atkins devotees: The nuts are abundant! Trader Joe's packages their own (usually in 1-pound bags) at amazingly low prices. You'll find pistachios, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, and every imaginable kind of cashew -- raw, black-peppered, roasted and salted, roasted and unsalted, roasted and half salted, and sesame honey-coated.

Details

555 Ninth Street Retail Center (at Brannan), 863-1292

3 Masonic (at Geary), 346-9964

www.traderjoes.com

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