Monday, December 30, 2013

Super Can-Can Sale, Havana Espresso Bar and more

A 5-pound box of clementines from Spain were on sale for $4.99 at the ShopRite in Paramus on Monday. The fruit and box tipped the scale at more than 6 pounds.

Editor's note: Today, I find slim pickings during the Super Can-Can Sale at two ShopRites, and discuss a comfortable alternative to the Starbucks in Englewood. I also recommend an organic tea you can brew as black as coffee without bitterness.


ShopRite's Can-Can Sale once meant deep discounts on premium canned red salmon, seltzer, imported pasta from Italy and many other items.

But the Super Can-Can Sale that started on Sunday elicits a yawn from many shoppers.

Today, I stopped at the Paramus ShopRite on the way home from the gym, and at the Englewood ShopRite before a doctor's appointment in that city.

I picked up six liter bottles of Adirondack Lemon-Lime Seltzer at 5 for $2 or 40 cents each -- a better buy than the same seltzer in 12-can packs.

ShopRite Sparkling Cider from Spain, made from 100% apple juice with no added sugar, was $1.99 for a 25.4-ounce bottle, and I bought three.

A 5-pound box of Roxy Clementines from Spain was $4.99, but a 5-pound box of sweet potatoes was $3.99, compared to $2.49 before Christmas.

Imported Italian Soda at ShopRite contains only 2% juice (pomegranate) to 12% juice (blood orange and lemon).
A preservative was added to these wild shrimp at the Englewood ShopRite.

These cans of pasta sauce at the Englewood ShopRite seem like a good buy until you look at the ingredients and find high fructose corn syrup or added sugar or both. You have to wonder at the use of the word "premium" on the label.

Out of fizz

At the Englewood ShopRite, the shelf had been swept clean of Adirondack Lemon-Lime Seltzer in bottles.

I stared in disbelief at the price for a large can of red salmon: $8.89.

In the fish department, I noticed that a sign for wild-caught shrimp said sulfites, a preservative, had been added.

The U-15 shrimp also were more expensive -- $1.50 more per pound -- than the bigger, wild-caught, preservative-free shrimp I bought at the H Mart in Englewood.

Three-pound bags of frozen tilapia fillets at the Englewood ShopRite were only $9.99, but when you look at the small print on the back of the bag, you'll see they are from China, which has a poor food-safety record.

Fish in Paramus

Earlier, at the Paramus ShopRite, I asked an employee at the fish counter how often his seafood is delivered and where it comes from.

"Seven days a week," he said, sounding defensive, adding that the seafood is purchased directly by Wakefern Food Corp., which supplies all ShopRite stores.

Nearby, the Whole Foods Market in Paramus gets seafood deliveries six days a week, but along with the high prices comes a guarantee of farmed fish that is free of antibiotics, preservatives and other additives. 

The espresso bar and cafe on North Dean Street in Englewood.

Espresso with a Latin beat

The Starbucks has been drawing crowds for years, offering wonderful coffee and a limited amount of food in a spacious double storefront at Palisade Avenue and North Dean Street in Englewood.

But four months ago, Havana Espresso Bar opened on North Dean within a block of Starbucks.

Havana Espresso, which is smaller and more intimate than Starbucks, offers far more food, as well as table service.

Food from the extensive menu is displayed on the counter.

This week, I met a friend at Havana Espresso, and bought him lunch.

He ordered the Classic Cuban Panini: ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and grainy mustard.

The ingredients are authentic, even though Cuban water bread isn't used, and he loved the sandwich, which was served with a small salad for $8.75.

I ordered a 100% Jazzy Mango fruit smoothie, which was so thick I ate it with a spoon ($4.25 for 16 ounces), and Cafe Con Leche ($3.55 for 16 ounces).

The cafe serves breakfast and offers a long list of salads, wraps, sandwiches, soup and pastries.

Havana Espresso Bar, 46 N. Dean St., Englewood; 201-541-0765.

Web site: A Cubano and so much more

You can steep bags of Newman's Own Royal Tea for hours without a trace of bitterness. However, 100-bag boxes of the organic black tea have been difficult to find in stores, and I have been buying it online.

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