Image by The Consumerist via Flickr
At Costco in Hackensack today, the fresh seafood case was unusually crowded. There were big slabs of the usual farmed salmon, and farmed steel-head trout and tilapia. But for the first time, I saw wild king salmon from Canada at $14.99 a pound. That is also the price for the fish next to it -- wild Copper River sockeye salmon from Alaska.
The wild king salmon appeared fattier, but didn't have the rich color of the stuff from Alaska I bought on Saturday. In addition to fish, Costco offered big scallops, Black Tiger prawns from Vietnam ($14.99 a pound, about eight prawns), Little Neck clams and big lobster tails (treated with preservative, unfortunately).
Thirty-five, half-liter bottles of Poland Spring water are now $4.35 -- about a dollar less than a few years ago.
Last week, we tried the vegetable souffle I bought at Costco, but one of the two sealed portions had large and small mold spores, and I threw it away. The one I heated tasted fine, but I don't think I'll be buying more any time soon.
How generous is Fairway?
I drove up to Fairway Market in Paramus on Monday to stock up on salted cod fish and buy a couple of other items, planning to use a coupon in the sales circular for 48 small bottles of imported mineral water -- free with a $75 purchase.
As I put my items on the belt, a well-groomed man in his late 60s or 70s who was ahead of me, and accompanied by his wife, asked the cashier for the bonus mineral water, but was told he had to have the coupon to claim it.
When I looked at my receipt, I saw that the two cases of mineral water I received had a total retail value of $5.98. Couldn't the store employees just give the man the water? This is the kind of New York attitude that leaves a bad taste in people's mouth.
I also noticed small signs on Fairway's shelves: "Ask any New Yorker. High-end food, low-end prices." I thought, I'm in New Jersey, for crying out loud. Why would I have to ask a New Yorker? Can't they make separate signs for the Paramus store?
I do have to praise Fairway for offering coffee beans each week for $4.99 a pound. And I love the Spanish fig cake with nuts -- an item I have seen before only in the old King's store in Fort Lee.
Imported items at ShopRite
ShopRite in Hackensack has wonderful pasta made with bronze dies in Italy for $2.99. These are oversized pieces, such as the large corkscrews called fusiloni I bought on sale today for $2.49.
Another great imported item is sparking, 100% juice from Spain, on sale at $2.29 a bottle. I picked up red grape, white grape and apple cider. Sometimes, the store also has sparkling peach juice.
I also took a look at the packages of free-range, grass-fed Australian beef on sale this week for $4.99 a pound with a club card. Most of them were 5 pounds or more. Although the ShopRite label carries the Nature's Reserve name, another name was stamped on the plastic package.