Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shopper's fantasy: One food store that has it all

Wines from all over the world are sold in the liquor department of Costco Wholesale in Wayne, where you can buy bottles carrying the house label, Kirkland Signature, including a complex 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon for only $7.99 (1.5 liter) or less than $4 a bottle.

At home, I am pouring four wines for dinner on a rotating basis, including Costco's Cabernet, right, and two wines from Spain with screw tops, center.


I drove a 40-mile loop today in search of a bottle of wine, and to re-stock my cupboard with Aleppo red pepper and inexpensive Moroccan sardines.

Wouldn't it be great if there was one store that carried all my favorites at the right price?

As it is, I stopped at three today:

ShopRite in Paramus for the store brand of 1% lactose-free milk; Costco Wholesale in Wayne, searching for a California wine, Kirkland Signature Old Vine Zinfandel; and Fattal's in Paterson, my source for crushed red pepper and sardines.

Metrokane-brand Rabbit Wine Bottle Stoppers provide an air-tight seal, allowing me to keep four opened bottles of red wine on the counter at one time. I found these on Amazon.con for about $7.50.

Crushed Aleppo red pepper is mildly spicy and a terrific garnish for eggs, above; fish and other dishes. I keep a container in my refrigerator, just a step or two from the stove.

Costco in Wayne

My Costco in Hackensack doesn't have a liquor department, only a liquor store that is not affiliated with the warehouse store and doesn't carry wine with a Kirkland Signature label.  

So, I drove to the Wayne Costco (about 20 miles from my home), where on an earlier visit, I picked up terrific bottles of Kirkland Signature Champagne from France and California Cabernet Sauvignon.

Today, I was in search of Kirkland Signature Old Vine Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California, that I read about in the February 2014 Costco Connection magazine.

But I couldn't find it among the hundreds of bottles of wine, and an employee couldn't help, either.

I cut my losses by picking up another 1.5-liter bottle of Kirkland Signature Cabernet for $7.99; Kirkland Signature Body Soap and Kirkland Signature Body Wash.

I also purchased a 30-roll package of Charmin toilet paper ($19.59 with $2 off), which carries an unforgettable slogan: "We all go. Why not enjoy the go?"

I hope this "ultra soft and absorbent" toilet tissue will help me forget the Scott toilet paper I bought at Costco that was so thin and narrow it looked as if it was used in prisons and mental wards.

Costco Wholesale, 77 Willowbrook Blvd., Wayne; 1-973-812-8661.


At Fattal's, I picked up two dozen cans of Al Shark Moroccan Sardines in Tomato Sauce, the variety that has the least sodium (99 cents each).

I will use two cans tonight to prepare 1 pound of organic whole wheat shells with garlic, vegetables and sardines.

I also bought two 1-liter bottles of Al Shark Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Syria for $4.99 each, one of the few sold at Fattal's with a label that shows the country of origin.

Aleppo red pepper was $6.99 a pound.

Fattal's includes a grocery with cheese and other dairy products, butcher, cafe, bread, prepared food and a jewelry store. 

Fattal's, 975-77 Main St., Paterson; 1-973-742-7125. Open 7 days. Free parking in lot.

"Living" basil reminds me of opening a bottle of red wine to let it "breathe." This sign was in the Paramus ShopRite's produce department this morning. Half-gallons of ShopRite lactose-free milk were $3.49 each; last week, they were on sale.

H Mart

My wife prefers shopping at the H Mart in Englewood, but that Korean supermarket doesn't always have sales that rival another H Mart, the one in Little Ferry.

On Tuesday, when we ran out of Kokuho Yellow Label White Rice from California, she asked me to go to Little Ferry, where I found 15-pound bags on sale for $8.99 or $6 off.

I saw a sign that warned of higher prices caused by the drought in California, and bought two bags.

I also picked up a 16-pack of Shin Ramyun, a spicy instant soup, for $9.99 or $7 off.

H Mart, 260 Bergen Turnpike, Little Ferry; 1-201-814-0400. Open 7 days.

This morning, I made a fresh-tomato-and-cheese frittata with Kirkland Signature Egg Whites from Costco, several kinds of reduced-fat and full-fat cheeses, pesto from Trader Joe's and Costco; and za'atar, a Middle Eastern thyme mixture available at Fattal's in Paterson.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's in Paramus is one of the few places I can find antibiotic- and preservative-free bacon and hot dogs for the meat eaters in the family ($4.99 and $4.49, respectively).

The store also carries terrific 100% juices in 64-ounce bottles, such as Garden Patch and Green Plant ($3.49 and $3.99, respectively).

Last Friday, I also picked up grass-fed Angus Beef strip loin steaks from New Zealand (frozen for $10.99 a pound).

But I didn't care for another item, Trader Joe's Organic Oats & Flax Instant Oatmeal (8 servings for $3.49), a sweetened product that wasn't very good made with 2/3 cup of water.

I'll try it again with 1/2 cup of low-fat milk.

Trader Joe's, 404 Route 17 north, Paramus; 201-265-9624. Open daily 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.


What do you do when Jerry's Gourmet & More in Englewood runs out of those wonderful restaurant-quality dinners available for takeout ($7.99 or $5.99 after 4 p.m.)?

On Wednesday afternoon, I couldn't find any Meals To Go when I stopped in at around 4:15 p.m., and comforted myself with several cheese samples.

I bought Jerry's Homemade Meat Lasagna ($6.99 a pound) and Jerry's Homemade Small Crabcakes (6 for $4.99), and my family demolished them.

For my dinner, I made baby spinach with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, fried two organic brown eggs from Costco and ate them with leftover organic brown rice and red kidney beans.

Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St., Englewood; 201-871-7108.

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