|Image via Wikipedia|
Inside a Trader Joe's. The Paramus store is selling holiday hams that are preservative-free, but contain antibiotics.
Editor's note: Today, I discuss this week's food shopping, which covered a lot of ground, and the last duck egg of six I bought for Thanksgiving.
International Food Wine and Liquor Warehouse in Lodi. H Mart in Englewood. Trader Joe's in Parmaus. Shop-Rite in Englewood. Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.
Round and round I go as I try to satisfy my family's demand for fresh food with a globe-spanning diversity -- at prices that constitute a good deal.
On Monday, I drove over to National Wholesale Liquidators in Lodi in search of a Sony Radio Walkman my wife wanted, but spent most of my time looking over the food there and in the adjacent International Food Warehouse.
Although signs tell you what a great deal you're getting, I was shocked at how few items were being sold at lower prices than other stores. Beer and wine prices seemed high.
I bought two quarts of Lowell 100% pomegranate juice from the country of Georgia at $2.99 each, and two half-gallons of Middle Eastern-style yogurt drink at $4.59 each.
The Karoun-brand, all-natural Yogurt Drink comes all the way from California, so I'm wondering why the store doesn't carry yogurt drinks made and sold in Paterson, where I usually buy them.
I saw imported pasta in fancy, cellophane-wrapped boxes for $3.99 or $4.99, and that was for only 8 ounces, meaning this Italian product goes for $8 to $10 a pound. Ridiculous.
On Tuesday, after a bowl of Yankee bean soup and a cup of coffee at the Suburban Diner on Route 17 in Paramus, I drove less than a mile to Trader Joe's.
I picked up 2 pounds of organic D'Anjou pears in a bag for $2.49; 12 ounces of Trader Joe's Sliced Jalapeno Yogurt Cheese for $4.79; and a small block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese made with milk from grass-fed cows in New Zealand for $3.62 ($5.49 a pound).
Trader Joe's sells a lot of preservative- and antibiotic-free bacon, cold cuts and hot dogs, so I was disappointed to see its holiday hams are nitrite- and nitrate-free, but appear to be from hogs that were raised on antibiotics and growth hormones.
That afternoon, my wife stopped at H Mart in Englewood for fresh, whole striped bass ($3.99 a pound); a Korean-style seaweed, rice and vegetable rice roll from Jinga ($4.99), and scallions (three for $1).
My wife prepared the fish on the stove top in a covered skillet with sliced onion and sweet pepper, extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings, and I removed mine after about 20 minutes.
I loved all the meaty flesh and a minimum of bones, enjoying the fish with stir-fried noodles and vegetables I picked up at H Mart last week, and a big salad. Don't forget to eat the tender "cheeks" from the fish head.
At ShopRite in Englewood on Wednesday, I picked up two packages of antibiotic-free Readington Farms chicken parts, and one package of Coleman Organic chicken drumsticks -- all on sale.
A 5-pound box of clementines from Spain were $5.48, an in-store special, and they proved far sweeter than the first box of Spanish clementines I got there for $4.99.
The Moroccan clementines I bought at ShopRite for $4.99 were bigger than their Spanish rivals, but several turned black outside and in, and I had to throw those away. I left them on the counter, but maybe I should have refrigerated them.
Later Wednesday, I stopped at Costco in Hackensack for Jona Gold apples (5.5 pounds for $5.99); Newman's Own 100% Grape Juice ($6.99 for two 96-ounce bottles); bananas, 3 pounds for $1.39; and three, 32-ounce bottles of Classico Traditional Tomato-Basil pasta sauce for $6.99.
Four, 7-ounce cans of Genova-brand Solid Light Yellowfin Tuna in olive oil were $7.49 or about $1.25 each; and six quarts of Kirkland Signature Organic Chicken Stock were $10.99 or about $1.83 each.
Why a duck egg?
That night, I finished the last of six duck eggs I bought at the Goffle Road Poultry Farm in Wyckoff.
Duck eggs are about twice the size of a typical chicken egg, and they have much larger yolks, perfect for frying sunny side up in olive oil and eating over brown rice, as I did, mixing the wonderful yolk and the nutty kernels for a terrific taste combination.
But the shell of a duck egg is much thicker, and takes a bit of effort to crack. I ate three duck eggs in Korean-style, soft-tofu soup I made at home.
The best result I got -- a molten yolk -- was when I boiled the soup on the stove, broke an egg into it and let it cook for only 1 minute. Then, I could break the yolk over the brown rice I ate as a side dish.
At $1.25 each, these duck eggs are a once- or twice-a-year splurge.
International Food Wine and Liquor Warehouse,
370 Essex St., Lodi; 201-368-9511.
Trader Joe's, 404 Route 17 north, Paramus;
H Mart, 25 Lafayette Ave., Englewood;
ShopRite in Englewood; 201-816-8330.
Costco Wholesale, 80 S. River St., Hackensack.
Goffle Road Poultry Farm, 549 Goffle Road, Wyckoff;