Editor's note: Today's buffet explores the wonderful food shopping and take-out available in North Jersey.
We went for a drive along North Jersey's Gold Coast and saw hundreds of new town homes and apartments in what still is one of the biggest construction zones in the metropolitan area.
We passed through Fort Lee, Edgewater and Weehawken, and entered West New York, most of the time along the Hudson River.
We saw the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line and its last stop opposite the ferry into Manhattan.
On the way home Thursday afternoon, we stopped for coffee and iced tea at Starbucks, and to buy organic pasta, cheese, olive oil and other food at Trader Joe's, both in Edgewater.
|At the Starbucks in Edgewater, the heavy set man on the right put a small bottle of orange juice in his red bag while waiting on line to order and pay for coffee.|
At Starbucks, most of the outside tables were occupied by smokers, forcing us inside.
An employee said Starbucks tried to designate outside tables for smoking and non-smoking, but that didn't work.
When the cafe put out ashtrays, they disappeared, and a pole ashtray was used for garbage and set afire.
We ordered iced tea and hot coffee, and I brought them to our table opposite the counter before going to use the restroom.
That's when my wife saw another customer steal a small bottle of orange juice while he waited on line to order coffee.
Starbucks, 457 River Road, in the Edgewater Commons shopping center, Edgewater; 201-945-5343.
|Trader Joe's organic whole-wheat pasta is a relative bargain.|
Good food, low prices
At Trader Joe's, we bought 16-ounce packages of organic whole-wheat spaghetti, fusilli and penne ($1.39 each).
They are 100% whole wheat and cheaper than smaller boxes of whole-grain pasta sold in ShopRite and other supermarkets.
One-liter bottles of 100% Italian and Spanish extra-virgin olive oil were $5.99 each, a 12.3-ounce jar of Whole Grain Dijon Mustard from France was $1.79, and a 20-ounce box of Trader Joe's Whole Grain Raisin Bran was only $2.79.
We also bought Applegate Farms antibiotic-free cold cuts, which are cheaper at Trader Joe's than at supermarkets.
Another favorite item is sliced Yogurt Cheese with Jalapeno ($4.79).
Trader Joe's, 715 River Road, Edgewater; 201-945-5932.
|This beautiful plate of takeout food cost only $5.99.|
|Jerry's in Englewood cuts the price of Meals To Go in the late afternoon.|
|For a great dinner at home, I plated the fish and other food in this container, heated it up in the microwave, made a small salad and poured myself a glass of red wine.|
Best take-out bargain
The restaurant-quality Meals To Go at Jerry's Gourmet & More in Englewood are a bargain at $7.99, but they are an even better buy in the late afternoon, when the price is cut by $2.
Unfortunately, Meals To Go often sell out early in the day.
But around 5 on Wednesday afternoon, I was lucky enough to find two Tilapia Francese dinners and another of Chicken Pizzaiola at $5.99 each.
I had the delicious tilapia fillet, which was unusually large; pasta and crunchy vegetables, including fresh fava beans. Magnifico.
Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St., Englewood; 201-871-7108.
|Cubed radish kimchi from the source in Englewood.|
For a change of pace from the usual cabbage kimchi, I picked up a large jar of crunchy Arirang radish kimchi from the small brick building in Englewood where it is made by hand.
A 5-pound jar is $10.99 at the factory. All-natural kimchi complements any meal, and it's a great snack.
Arirang Kimchi, 191 W. Englewood Ave., Englewood; 201-503-1314.