Sunday, November 8, 2009

Traveling on your stomach at Costco

CostcoImage via Wikipedia

Costco in Hackensack has become one of my favorite places to shop for food -- despite the crowds, the frantic parking lot and some inconsiderate shoppers, who think nothing of leaving a cart up against your fender.

You never know what you'll find there or how far it has traveled. And no store in North Jersey I know of can match the prices for this quality food and produce. It's even a better deal when you consider the cash rebates from the American Express Costco credit card easily reimburse you for the annual membership fee.

The past two Fridays, I saw whole red snappers from Nicaragua in the fish case. Smoked wild sockeye salmon (preservative free) from Alaska is now sold year-round under the store brand, Kirkland. Last night, I finished the last fresh flounder fillet from Iceland we had fried Friday.

Last week, I bought a 12-pound box of oranges from South Africa. The antioxidant-rich acai berry juice in my fridge is from Brazil. For my espresso machine, I've also brought home a 4-pound bag of whole coffee beans grown in Africa. And I'm working on a big wedge of Manchego sheep-milk's cheese from Spain.

Costco sells a ranch full of beef and pork, but all of them are conventionally raised with antibiotics, except for organic ground beef. What you want is the grass-fed, free-range lamb from Australia, usually available as chops or boneless legs.

The store also stocks a lot of terrific food grown domestically, such as the one-pound package of Earthbound Farms organic spring mix I eat weekly.

Of course, there is also the possibility you'll buy and like an item, then find the store no longer stocks it. I recall fondly the fully prepared, drug-free lamb shanks in mint sauce from New Zealand that we enjoyed on a few occasions, but never saw again.

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