Thursday, August 2, 2012

Let’s Talk Food

I have given up on traditional grocery stores for most items and here’s why: I found Grocery Outlet and Trader Joe’s and the spectacular deals on quality foods they carry. 

The best news is that at both stores you can find fabulous deals on great food. In the picture above, I’ve shown you the wonderful, sweet Campari tomatoes (less the 4 I’ve already eaten), which I picked up at Grocery Outlet today for $2. Rich, ripe and cheap – that’s the fabulous, in my opinion. 

I also got a wonderful sour dough round from an artisan bread company for ½ price and an 8 oz. package of Tillamook Cheddar for $1.49. This was a quick stop so I didn’t score as much as I usually do at this store. My favorite finds are gourmet cheeses like Cotswold cheddars normally $9.99 lb. for around half price and brie rounds for $1.99.  Shopping here is like a treasure hunt and you need to be prepared to enjoy your finds for the week, rather than finding everything on a list you’ve created. 

A word of caution – Grocery Outlet sometimes sells items close to or on the expiration date, so always read your dates. However, I’m a big fan of good hotdogs, like Hebrew National and Nathan’s, so a few weeks ago, when Hebrew National jumbo dogs were featured for $.67 a package (yes, that price is correct!) because it was on the expiration date, I bought four packages and stuck them in the freezer. At prices near $4 a package normally, I came away with a steal. They didn’t last long either.

While Grocery Outlet is limited to the Western US, I don’t think that will be the case for long. They have stores in California, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho and Washington, at present.  

Trader Joe’s is currently in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Many people are already aware of the great deals you can get at a TJ’s but let’s review for those of you who have never visited one. You cannot beat their prices on wine and imported beer. Again, you will find excellent cheeses from all over the world that won’t kill your budget.  They have the best local prices I’ve found for organic milk, cottage cheese, eggs and regular bread prices.  

If you really want to treat yourself, try some of their cookies and desserts. The last thing I bought there in this category was the best chocolate ice cream ever – Ultimate Chocolate. Excellent. I also highly recommend their Dunkers – frosted oatmeal and raisin bars created just for dunking in your coffee. At $4.99 for a bucket of them, you can afford to take them to the office and share. The gang will love you.

If you do nothing else fabulously for yourself, treat your body, mind and soul to some good affordable culinary treats. It will make you feel special and your piggy bank will thank you too.

I’m sure there are other specialty food retailers out there and I hope you’ll add the info to this blog in the comments section.

Are you feeling fabulous yet? No? Come back tomorrow. We’ll work on this some more.

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