Sundays without Publix

Dave and I had a Sunday-night routine in Orlando that all of our friends and family knew about: Pizza night.

Nobody likes Sunday nights, so this was our way to have something to look forward to, where we had a little bit of comfort before the crazy week began.  With us both waking up quite early to work-out and head off to long days at our respective offices, our weeks flew by and we needed that Sunday-night routine as a base just to breathe.

It began with a walk to Publix to get groceries for the week, including the frozen pizza, followed by eating the pizza (many times on our balcony), then another walk around Lake Eola, a stop by Menchie’s for some frozen yogurt, concluding with sitting on a park bench around the lake to people-watch.

We loved it.  We rarely accepted invitations on Sundays and rarely made other plans.

There were some key elements to this routine:  PublixLake EolaPizzaMenchie’s.  Three out of four of those don’t exist here in San Francisco.

I thought we might mourn the loss of this night, but we haven’t.

And even though we haven’t developed a new Sunday-night routine yet, we’re definitely enjoying some new options in our lives.  One such option is grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.  Trader Joe’s is not just a California thing, but it was not in Orlando and had just started popping up in other Florida cities.

I had heard people rave about Trader Joe’s long before I ever entered one, and I am starting to see why.  It’s a no-frills type of grocery store, and it’s definitely NOT a Publix.  You won’t find the brands that you usually buy at other chains.  You won’t find the BOGO bins at the front of the store.  You won’t find Publix subs.  But, you will find some well-priced items, catchy package labeling and an overall friendly and accommodating vibe throughout the cramped aisles.

We can’t actually walk to any of the Trader Joe’s in the City (well, we could, but the closest is just over a mile-and-a-half away), so far our visits have been planned trips by car.

As a creature of habit who grew up in Florida, I was a little worried about missing Publix — especially our Downtown Orlando location that we visited so regularly.  However, I’ve found that I’m enjoying the variety of a new place.  I tend to buy the same things every week, so now I’ve had to branch out.  In addition, we’ve been introduced to some products like the famous Trader Joe’s “two-buck Chuck” wine, which you can’t get anywhere else.

Last night we went to Trader Joe’s after Dave got home from work, and it was quite slammed.  While waiting in line, one of the friendly associates walked around and offered customers Halloween cookies — just because.  How’s that for a friendly neighborhood store?

As far as the other parts of our Sunday-night routine that are missing:  Eating frozen yogurt in windy 60-degree weather isn’t really for me, and we haven’t found any lakes yet.

A new routine will develop over time, but until then, at least we know where to buy the cheap wine!

Trader Joe's
Welcome to Trader Joe’s.
Trader Joe's
Checking emails in the check-out line at Trader Joe’s.


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