Saturday, March 10, 2012

Making coupons work for you

Will Fuddruckers reopen in Paramus?

 Editor's note: Today's bill of fare includes using coupons to buy healthy food, dinner at The Bergen Room, Fuddruckers in Paramus, Costco Wholesale, Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice, chocolate syrup made without high fructose corn syrup, and a fond food memory from my recent San Francisco trip.

I'm not a big fan of coupons and all the processed food you can buy at a discount with them. In terms of nutrition, they are no bargain.

But I found some coupons in the Sunday newspaper that gave me discounts on Silver Palate oatmeal and Smart Balance's butter-like spread and fat-free lactose-free milk.

At the ShopRite in Paramus, a 16-ounce box of Silver Palate Thick & Rough Oatmeal was on sale for $3.49 (50 cents off) with an additional savings of $1.50 -- or $1.99.

With two $1-off coupons, I bought two boxes of Silver Palate oatmeal for 99 cents each.

Smart Balance spread also was on sale for $3.49 (30 cents off) and with a doubled 75-cents coupon, each 15-ounce container was $1.99. 

Smart Balance lactose-free milk wasn't on sale, but with a $1-off coupon, I was able to get two half-gallons of the fat-free free stuff for $6.98 -- 10 cents more than ShopRite's lactose-free milk.

Smart Balance says its fat-free, lactose-free milk is as "thick and creamy" as 2% milk.

I also had coupons for Silver Palate pasta sauce, which was on sale, but even with the extra discount, they weren't a good buy.

I also picked up other sale items, including two 16-ounce containers of Florida strawberries and a dozen Land of Lakes Large Brown Eggs, all for $1.99 each.

Six-ounce containers of ShopRite low-fat yogurt -- made with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup -- were 45 cents each.

Healthier choices?

We met friends for dinner Thursday night at The Bergen Room -- the restaurant run by the culinary program at Bergen Community College in Paramus -- but I wonder why there were no healthy choices on the limited menu.

The vast majority of the "customers" are frugal senior citizens who, like me, are watching what they eat to control their cholesterol intake or avoid clogging their coronary arteries.

The only two entrees available were Grilled Strip Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus, and Shrimp with Fettuccine in Alfredo Sauce, which is made with cream and butter.

I asked the waitress (a student) whether I could have the pasta in a tomato sauce, but she said the only sauce available was Alfredo. I have avoided that sauce like the plague.

I ate five shrimp and twirled the pasta around my fork for a few mouthfuls, but left most of the generous portion on the plate. I also had the asparagus from a friend's plate. My wife said some of her pasta was undercooked.

Both of my friends had the steak.

The menu listed two desserts, Key Lime Pie with Whipped Cream and Bergen Parfait. My wife tried the pie; I declined dessert.

Appetizers were Spicy Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese and Celery Sticks and French Onion Soup. I chose the latter, but didn't eat the bread or cheese that came with it. Caesar Salad also was served, with the dressing on the side.

Whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, fresh fruit for dessert? Not available.

The chief draw here are the prices. A three-course dinner with tea, lemonade or coffee was $9.50 per person. I left $25 for my wife and I.

This dinner didn't have a theme, unlike the first time we ate in The Bergen Room in April 2011 and enjoyed "A Taste of Latin Cuisine," which included a delicious corn chowder, a Boston lettuce salad and a fish entree.

The Bergen Room Restaurant, Pitkin Education Center at Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus; for reservations, call 201-447-7222.


In the past few days, I've been calling Fuddruckers headquarters in Texas, but haven't had any success in finding out why the Route 4 restaurant closed and whether it will reopen elsewhere.

I called the Paramus Health Department on Friday and was told the popular hamburger restaurant had gone out of business. The company says it was a franchise.

A Web site called Manta estimated the restaurant's annual revenues at $1 million to $2.5 million, and said it employed 20 to 49 people.
English: A cheeseburger and French fries on a ...
A Fuddruckers platter.

When I ate meat, I loved going to the Paramus restaurant for a naturally raised ostrich burger and baked potato, with a small bottle of wine and plenty of freshly made salsa, sliced tomato and jalapeno peppers from the free fixings bar.

I washed it all down with unlimited seltzer, which was free. They also served a a great catfish sandwich. Customers ordered at a counter after waiting in line, between beer cases.

Fuddruckers was the first of the so-called premium hamburger chains, and when the Paramus store first opened, you could see into a cold room hung with the beef that would be freshly ground for the burgers.

New soup at Costco

I enjoyed Cedarlane-brand All Natural Vegetable Miso Soup, which I picked up at Costco Wholesale recently from the same refrigerated case where I've found Cedarlane's Chopped Vegetable & Barley Soup.

The soup is made with vegetable broth, but contains "chicken base," so it isn't vegetarian. Ingredients include mushrooms, edamame, snow peas, corn, baby spinach and green onions in a Japanese-style miso. 

You get two 32-0unce containers (4 pounds) for just under $10. One container of soup and a big salad with sliced cheese and wild lox makes a nice, light dinner.


On Thursday, I found a 4-pound bag of wild Maine blueberries in the freezer case at Costco in Hackensack that rang up at $9.99, compared to $9.89 for a much smaller bag of Kirkland Signature Whole Dried Blueberries, which I've been buying for a few years and adding to pancakes and hot cereal.

I've been looking for a substitute for the dried blueberries, because they include "sugar, natural flavor and sunflower oil." 

I saw a man grab a bag of the dried, sugar-added blueberries at Costco and tell his wife and son, "You start eating these and before you know it, you've had a $10 snack."

So, it's no surprise he had a big pot belly that made him look pregnant.

Taste of Tropicana

The FDA temporarily halted imports of orange juice from Brazil, fearing they contained a banned fungicide, prompting Tropicana to start using 100% Florida orange juice in its Pure Premium product.

I recently finished four or five bottles of Tropicana that contained juice from the U.S. and Brazil, and I've noticed the pure Florida juice tastes a lot better than the blend.

I'll have to watch the labels on Tropicana to see if the company continues to use 100% Florida orange juice.

Chocolate syrup

On Friday, I stopped at Hackensack Market on Passaic Street to see if I could find chocolate syrup made without high fructose corn syrup after returning two bottles with corn syrup to ShopRite and getting a refund.

My wife bought them for our teenage son, who makes chocolate milk with the syrup or pours it over ice cream.

The store carries Nestle Nesquik Chocolate Syrup and the front label states: "NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP." It is made with sugar, water and cocoa.

A 22-ounce bottle was $2.50.

El Huarache Loco

I returned from San Francisco on Feb. 20, but can still taste a large taco filled with black mushrooms, crema and hot sauce -- a special of the day I bought from a Mexican food stand in the Alemany Farmers' Market (not Almeda or Alameda, as I wrote earlier).

The thick, fluffy hand-made corn tortilla was unusual, almost like bread, and it had been heated on a griddle. I also had a cactus salad. Both were delicious.

If you visit Fog City, don't forget to look for El Huarache Loco's food truck or stand.

Web site: Wonderful Mexican food

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1 comment:

  1. I heard through the grapevine that a disgruntled former employee pointed out that Elmer Fudd went to Villanova, and not Rutgers University, and they had to decide between closing and changing their name from FuddRuckers to FuddVillanova. Obviously they opted for the latter.


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