Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shopping for food here and there

Trader Joe's West Hartford
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;


  1. International Food Warehouse had decent prices all around before the family that owns NWL declared bankruptcy. You can find a deal here and there these days but the liquor prices stink. Be very careful when you shop there, more often than not the price in the ad won't be the price that rings up at the register.


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