Food Stuff

Illustration By Conrad Garcia

Shopping at , the Pasadena-based chain of specialty grocers, can be a treasure hunt, providing the same thrill one gets at a consignment store or garage sale. In fact, your treasure hunt usually begins with the search for a place to park. A recent expedition to the new East Sacramento store uncovered several new items. There was a bag of mâche (a tiny, European salad green grown in the Salinas Valley) for $2.99; an organic farmstead cheese from New Zealand, priced at $10.99 per pound; a $7.99 split of 1996 Sauternes (we’ll pair it with the cheese for dessert some night); and a pack of three Belgian dark-chocolate bars for 99 cents. Sometimes, as at a rummage sale, your discovery turns out to be a dud. At Trader Joe’s, however, you more often come out a winner, which explains the store’s rock-star popularity. 5000 Folsom Boulevard and other locations,