Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wild salmon seen near Hackensack River

Shop Rite, Shopping CartsImage 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.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Now Victor, I don't know which cashier you got at Fairway but he or she would likely get canned quicker than a can in the ShopRite Can Can sale if he or she cut the old geezer some slack on the mineral water. Those prices are programmed into the computer. Now, maybe the cashier could have called a manager over, but then everybody on line would have had to wait about five minutes.

  2. The store wasn't crowded, the line wasn't long. No one would have minded if a manager was called in to resolve the situation in favor of the customer.

  3. Here's one you may have missed. I was at Fairway Paramus today and they had a stack of cans of wild Sardines in extra virgin olive oil for $1.64 a can. I haven't eaten sardines in decades but after reading about their virtues in your blog I figured I'd give 'em a try. I'll let you know after I eat them but I know you're always looking for sardine deals. The brand is called Wild Planet The can said they were caught along the California coast, by fishermen under five feet tall using long lines of dental floss and little tiny hooks. I made that last part up except for the California coast.

  4. I might try those, but I usually opt for the Moroccan sardines in extra ordinary oil from Fattal's Bakery in Paterson (99 cents). Do you have any tuna? You can make a sardine-tuna salad sandwich with mayo or Dijon mustard.

  5. I was at Fairway 3 times in the past month, purely because of convenience. The friendliness of employees is no better today than it was a year ago. I avoid the place as much as possible, to the point that I will go to the run down Stop & Shop in Paramus which has gone downhill since its days as a Grand Union.

  6. I must admit, I was slightly disappointed by those $1.64 wild caught on long lines of dental floss sardines from Fairway. The sardines themselves were great, delicious actually, and if the olive oil were any more extra virgin they'd have to charge for the chastity belt. What disappointed me was the can. It was of the pop top and pull variety, when I was expecting a can with one of those keys that you have to twist and twist to get it open. I guess times have changed and technology has caught up with the sardine canning industry since the last time I had a sardine. On the other hand, I never was able to get a can of sardines more than half open using those keys. Oh well. Pass the french bread, please.

  7. I was in Fairway today and saw those sardines and my immediate thought was, All sardines are wild caught, so what's the big deal? I eat sardine sandwiches for breakfast, and usually spread on hummus, add tomato and lettuce and cheese. The 99-cent Moroccan sardines are terrific. I don't bother with skinless and boneless. The sardine can key was replaced a long time ago, but I found a sardine can opener in ShopRite a couple of years ago that is shaped like a question mark, hooks into the pop top tab and peels open the can all the way with easy leverage.

  8. Well, the Fairway folk in Harlem are sweet as sugar. Maybe it's Jersey that was the problem.

  9. You might be right. I shopped at the Harlem store for many years and can't recall any problems with the employees.

  10. Though I should add, I didn't get any sugar.


Please try to stay on topic.