Friday, December 21, 2012

On champagne, coffee, cocoa and more

Champagne and other holiday bubbly at Western Beverages in Hackensack.

Looking over the price for Veuve Clicquot champagne in a sales flier from Total Wine, I wondered if I could beat it at Western Beverages in Hackensack.

Western Beverages is a small liquor store with a limited selection inside the Costco Wholesale warehouse on South River Street, but you don't need to be a Costco member to shop there.

I usually buy a bottle of non-vintage French champagne once a year, and Veuve Clicquot Brut (Yellow Label) is my preferred sparkling wine.

Total Wine in River Edge lists Veuve Clicquot at  $41.17 through Dec. 30, 2012, but I was surprised the same 750ml bottle cost more -- $43.99 -- at Western Beverages.

My bottle of Spanish sparkling wine in the cooler.

Then, I decided I really didn't need a bottle of authentic champagne. 

So I purchased a 750ml bottle of Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut for $8.09 at Western Beverages, compared to $8.17 at Total Wine.

It's a good thing I look at my credit-card receipt before I leave a store, because the Cordon Negro rang up at $8.69, but Western Beverages was happy to refund the overcharge, plus four cents tax.

Still, that's sloppy, and I wonder how many customers before me had overpaid for Freixenet, and didn't realize it.

A pound of Starbucks Christmas Blend was on sale for $9.95.

Hot coffee and warm milk are a great way to start the day.

I found a pound of Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee beans on sale for $9.95 -- a discount of $5 -- and asked the woman behind the counter for a Turkish grind.

With a Turkish grind, I get a powder that exposes more of the coffee to hot water in my small, drip coffeemaker and produces a robust brew.

Starbucks Christmas Blend tastes good black -- not a trace of bitterness -- but I usually add warm, foamy non-fat milk to it.

A 2.5 pound canister of Starbucks Hot Cocoa is $13.89.

Another Starbucks product -- Hot Cocoa Classic -- is $13.89 at Costco Wholesale.

The canister contains 56 servings for just under 25 cents per serving, not counting the cost of milk.

Salads, fruit and other healthy food on the New Jersey Turnpike.

I didn't think there was much healthy food at the Thomas A. Edison Service Area of the New Jersey Turnpike until Monday, when I discovered a refrigerated case with salads, fruit and other nutritious food.

The case is between Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits and Sbarro, which sells pizza and other pricey Italian-American fare.

Only the food court in the northbound lanes is open (between Exits 11 and 12). 

How many ways can you say, "Thank you"?

If you want to learn how to say "Thank you!" and "How are you?" in different languages, you'll find a lesson above the entrance to H&Y Marketplace in a shopping center on Washington Avenue in Bergenfield.

In almost every way, this Korean supermarket is inferior to any of the H Marts, so the lesson is just about the only reason to go there.

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