Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lactose-free search, cheap sake, discounted coffee beans, baguettes

At the ShopRite in Paramus, Lactaid-brand 100% Lactose-Free milk is far more expensive than the store brand, even when on sale.


After the bigger Costco Wholesale opened in Teterboro, I haven't been able to find Kirkland Signature 2% Lactose-Free Milk.

The lactose-free house brand showed up for the first time in February at the old warehouse store in Hackensack -- three half-gallons for $7.99 or about $2.66 each, much cheaper than any other brand.

Then, ShopRite lowered the price of its store brand lactose-free milk to $2.99 from $3.49.

On my last few trips to Costco, I've had to settle for a 96-0unce container of Lactaid-brand 2% Lactose-Free Milk for $4.99, a dollar less than at ShopRite.

Now, I'm back to buying half-gallons of 1% lactose-free milk at ShopRite, 224 Route 4 east, Paramus.

On Tuesday, I purchased two half-gallons of the ShopRite brand and one of Smart Balance Fat-Free Lactose-Free Milk, which was on sale for $2.99, a reduction of $1.80.

ShopRite also had two Golden Pineapples on sale for $2.50 each. A bunch of fresh cilantro was 99 cents.

Mitsuwa Marketplace, the pricey Japanese supermarket at 595 River Road in Edgewater, is offering boxes of osechi for New Year parties -- sushi, kelp rolls, sweet omelets, fish and other food --that are priced from $260 to $413.

Sake for cooking

I shop at Mitsuwa in Edgewater once or twice a year, but make few purchases at the Japanese supermarket known for sticker shock.

You can easily spend $50 for a pound of beef or giant blue-fin tuna, even the farmed variety from Spain.

Imagine paying a premium for raw fish with more harmful mercury than many others.

Better to boycott over-fished blue-fin tuna, as I've been doing for many years, as well as Mitsuwa's annual blue-fin tuna cutting demonstration, if the store still puts on the event.

My only purchases on Tuesday were two 1.5 liter bottles of sake, which I use for cooking, on sale for $6.99 each, a discount of $3.

Sho Chiku Bai-brand sake is produced in California, not Japan, and has an alcohol content of 15%.

The colorful label shows that 2016 is the Year of the Monkey.

One change I welcomed on Tuesday is that Mitsuwa finally accepts American Express credit cards.

But the store no longer operates a free shuttle to Edgewater from Manhattan.

A 1-pound package of Starbucks whole coffee beans was sold at deep discount on Cyber Monday. When the beans are ground Turkish, the resulting powder yields a robust cup from my drip coffee maker.

Dark-roast coffee beans

I've been buying Starbucks whole coffee beans for use in my drip coffee maker since 2013.

On Cyber Monday, offered bags of whole bean and ground coffee at the biggest discount I've seen, and repeated the offer on Sunday.

Shipping was free both times, and I got $25 off a purchase of $60 or more on each order.

Today, I received the second shipment of five 1-pound bags of whole coffee beans, all dark roast, that I'll take to the store at 360 Essex St. and have ground Turkish.

I paid $7.11 to $9.43 for each pound of coffee beans, which normally retail for $11.95 to $14.95.

Balthazar baguette

On Wednesday, I stopped at Balthazar, 214 S. Dean St. in Englewood, for three crusty baguettes, which are still $2 each, as they were when the French bakery's retail store opened 13 years ago.

Each baguette is just under 2 feet long, and they are crispy when the humidity is low, as it was on Wednesday.

I cut each baguette into four sections, slice them in half for sandwiches and freeze them. The frozen bread thaws in the toaster.

I'm on a no-bread diet, but allowed myself three small ends or heels with my dinner of whole-wheat pasta with sardines, salad and a couple of glasses of Chianti Riserva from Trader Joe's. 

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