Ok, this is a little, well maybe a lot, out of the way, depending on how you feel about mountain driving, and I am talking about twisty mountain driving along a narrow road with no shoulders. We live in mountain country, and this might be the most twisty mountain road we have ever driven on, so even though Trader Joes is only about 16 miles away, it is a slow 16 miles. There are areas with drop offs on one side of the road. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour, but we found with our truck that there were a lot of areas where we couldn’t even drive that fast. It is also a very scenic trip to the town of Thousand Oaks. Having said that, if you are staying in the area and have the time needed to drive to Thousand Oaks, Trader Joes is just great. I always take a list to the grocery store, but when we shop at Trader Joes, we always come away with items not on our list. Trader Joes is a different type of grocery store, it is actually a fun place to shop, and this comment comes from someone who doesn’t consider shopping a favorite pastime. The Trader Joe’s chain tastes every product they carry before they decide to stock the items in their stores. For this reason the quality is good, so if you don’t like it, it is more a question of your personal tastes rather than the quality of the item. Plus the prices are very reasonable, and won’t cost you what most organic and gourmet type shops do, even though they carry a lot of organic and interesting items. They try to keep their prices reasonable, by cutting out the middleman as much as possible, and buying direct, then the savings is passed on to the customer. They have wonderful fresh, packaged, and frozen items to choose from. They also have a nice wine selection, beer, coffees, teas, fresh flowers, and vitamins. I never miss out on their tasting corner, where they feature at least one item, and often one of their coffees. Smart! I have purchased a number of items just because I tasted them in the store.
What to buy: The day we drove to Trader Joe’s we purchased Roasted Garlic Aslago Pain Rustique bread, Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup, Cranberry Orange Bread, Cranberry and Pumpkin Loaf, Baklava Ensemble, Escargot in Brioche, frozen cubes of cilantro, a couple of salad dressings, organic produce, Trader Joe’s Mango Fruit Spread , Peruvian Style Chimichurri Rice with Vegetables, and frozen garlic potatoes. We purchase the escargot every time we get to a Trader Joe’s if they have it. Not all stores carry it, and it is a seasonal product. But if you like Escargot, this is better than most restaurants. They purchase it from Plats du Chef, who in the United States, only sells the product through Trader Joes.
About five miles south of Leo Carrillo, on the North end of Malibu, you will find the small How’s Trancas Market. We did most of our grocery shopping at How’s while we were camped in Leo Carrillo. This market has basic needs, along with some excellent meats and deli products. Their steaks are a high quality of prime beef, the chicken Tamales, seafood, and fish are excellent. I also purchased some interesting sounding mustards for my neighbor, who loves pretzels dipped in mustard for a snack. If you like Starbucks coffee shops, there is a Starbucks in the same area.
What to buy: Expect to pay somewhat higher prices than the average grocery store, but this is the closest market to the park, and the quality of the items we purchased was excellent.