Wednesday, April 29, 2015

At H Mart, fish dinner for four can cost under $10, free seafood samples

On Sunday, my wife baked five fresh wild-caught whole porgy with olive oil, fresh lime juice, onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers and fresh garlic.

Our side dish was cabbage sauteed with sweet peppers.


Editor's note: Today, I discuss food shopping at H Mart in Little Ferry, ShopRite in Paramus and Costco Wholesale in Hackensack, and the meals you can assemble with ingredients from them.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

I never know what I'll find when I shop for fresh fish on the weekends at the H Mart in Little Ferry or how low the price will be.

On Sunday, I found whole porgy nestled in ice for only $1.79 a pound, and five of them rang up at $8.40.

While I waited for the fish to be cleaned and scaled, I chatted with other customers and went over to tables offering free seafood samples.

I also picked up nearly 2 pounds of Gaichoy or Baby Mustard Greens on sale for only 78 cents a pound with a store card.

Today, my wife prepared them for dinner with olive oil, chopped fresh garlic, sea salt and Organic No-Salt Seasoning, all from Costco Wholesale.


At H Mart in Little Ferry, free weekend seafood samples are conveniently placed near the fresh-fish counter to give customers something to do while their catch is being cleaned. Samples include seafood pancakes, foreground; boiled octopus, smoked farmed salmon and broiled eel.

The Korean supermarket at 260 Bergen Turnpike in Little Ferry also sells a wide array of dried seafood, above and below, and I expect many of them are for use in soups or stews.

Customers can only hope H Mart management will decide to renovate what is the shabbiest store in the chain.


ShopRite in Paramus

At ShopRite in Paramus on Tuesday, I bought a large Golden Pineapple for $2.99, and two 15-ounce containers of Smart Balance Light Spread made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil on sale for $2.99 each, a discount of 60 cents.

Smart Balance has gone on sale for as little as $1.89 with a store card, but I haven't seen that repeated in many months.



At ShopRite in Paramus, 26-ounce bottles of Colonna Pasta Sauce are on sale for 69 cents each, but the Garlic & Onion and Meat-Flavored contain high fructose corn syrup. Vodka Sauce lists heavy cream as the second largest ingredient. I'll pass on all three.

The 40-ounce bottle of Victoria Marinara is $8.49 at the Paramus ShopRite, 224 Route 4 east, but you can get two 40-ounce jars of the same sauce for $8.99 at Costco Wholesale on South River Street in Hackensack.

I continue to perfect 10-inch egg-white omelets, cooking fresh spinach in a little oil in a separate pan before transferring it to the omelet and folding it. Other ingredients include smoked wild salmon and reduced-fat sliced Swiss cheese from Costco, which also sells 100% egg whites.

A big breakfast omelet stuffed with smoked salmon and spinach, served with leftover organic brown rice and broccoli, allows me to skip lunch.
This morning, I prepared an organic whole-egg omelet with salted fish, fresh spinach and Mateo's Gourmet Salsa, the last from Costco Wholesale, above and below.

The omelet is ready to be folded.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

At Bocconi in Hackensack, a tasty dinner of vegetables, fish and wine

Grey Sole Oreganata with Shrimp and White Wine, one of two wild-caught fish entrees at Bocconi Restaurant in Hackensack.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The list of specials at Bocconi Restaurant in Hackensack would please anyone who doesn't eat meat or poultry.

Vegetables, salads and shellfish appetizers are the prelude to nearly a dozen pasta and seafood entrees on the one-page listing.

On Saturday, we visited the moderately priced Italian-American restaurant for the third time, and though we had a nice dinner, saw some limitations.

A half-dozen fish entrees are offered, but only two are wild caught, grey sole and tuna.

I'm watching my cholesterol intake, and found Bocconi was less accommodating than on earlier visits when I asked the kitchen to hold the butter.

And the specials menu didn't list a small block of tangy goat cheese that came with a wonderful appetizer of beets and arugula.



Salmon Grilled Over Arugula & Cherry Tomato.


Vegetables, fish and salad

We started with appetizers of Asparagus Gratinato ($9.95) for my wife and Red Beet Carpaccio for me ($12.50).

My wife wanted wild-caught Grey Sole Oreganata ($18.95) for her entree, the dish I had on our first visit, and I chose the second wild fish, tuna, on our last visit.

So, looking for something else, I was left to pick one of the farmed fish, and I chose Salmon Grilled Over Arugula & Cherry Tomato ($20.95).

I asked for the fish to be prepared medium to medium rare, but it was delivered cooked through, though still moist.

When compared to its wild cousin, artificially colored farmed salmon isn't a very exciting fish -- raw or cooked.

At least it was a nice portion, and came with a great salad of peppery arugula, my favorite green.

The other farmed seafood offered are branzino, tilapia and shrimp. 

Details


Bocconi Restaurant, 363 Essex St., Hackensack (near Prospect Avenue); 201-342-3888. Web site: bocconifood.com

BYO. On weekends, reservations aren't necessary.

A tiny lot off Prospect means you're better off parking across Essex Street at the medical building with a Starbucks Coffee on the ground level.



An appetizer of Asparagus Gratinato with Grated Cheese and White Wine Sauce. We liked the small dish of pitted olives served with it. The waiter said the asparagus were made with only a "little" butter.

A block of tangy goat cheese crowning Red Beet Carpaccio, another appetizer, wasn't listed on the specials menu, and the price shown also was incorrect ($9.95 on the menu, $12.50 on the receipt)

Bocconi Restaurant is a BYO with about 50 seats. I brought a bottle of Italian red wine.

Crusty Italian bread comes with butter and for dipping, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and grated cheese.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

$1 bag of falafel, 99-cents sardines, 9-inch whole-wheat pocket bread

And then there were none .... Five of the original seven falafel in a paper bag were still warm when I came home. They are only $1 at Salah Edin Middle Eastern Restaurant, 995 Main St., Paterson, below, part of a Middle Eastern bazaar known as South Paterson.

Around noon on Saturday, my order of tasty falafel -- ground chickpeas mixed with parsley -- was deep fried to order.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

I dashed out to Paterson on Saturday for a refresher course on Middle Eastern flavors after a bitter winter that kept me close to home.

My first stop was Fattal's -- which sells freshly baked pocket bread and a wide array of food and spices, even gold necklaces and bracelets -- at 975-77 Main St. 

Fattal's has its own parking lot and, on the weekends, a guard will help you find a parking space and, with gestures and waving arms, will help you back out when it is time to leave.

I stocked up on Al Shark-brand Moroccan Sardines in Tomato Sauce, the variety that has the least sodium. I bought two dozen cans at 99 cents each (125 grams). 

I use them in pasta dishes or add them to canned-seafood salads.

I also bought a half-pound of crushed Aleppo red pepper ($6.99 a pound), perfect for garnishing egg and fish dishes.


A gallon of refrigerated Merve Ayran Yogurt Drink -- with live active cultures -- was $10.99, compared to $8.69 two years ago.




Fattal's has one of the largest parking lots in South Paterson.

Crushed red pepper is perfect for fish or egg dishes. I store it in the freezer of refrigerator.
I used Aleppo pepper this morning on an egg-white omelet stuffed with smoked wild salmon, fresh spinach sauteed in a separate pan, marinara sauce and reduced fat cheese.

King's Whole Wheat Pita is baked in Paterson without preservatives, and sold at Fattal's alongside its own bread.


This bread is impossible to resist

Even though I've been on a no-bread diet for years, I couldn't resists buying a bag of 9-inch pocket bread called King's Pita ($1.39 for six loaves).

This is a thin whole-wheat bread in the Lebanese style, perfect for wrapping or stuffing.

At home, I ate spoonfuls of leftover canned-salmon salad with sweet peppers and celery in the soft, chewy bread. Fantastic.

I can just imagine scooping up hummus with it.

The ingredients are bran, whole wheat flour, water, salt and yeast.

Bag of falafel

I asked the guard in Fattal's lot if I could leave my car there and walked over to Salah Edin Middle Eastern Restaurant on the next block for a $1 bag of seven falafel balls.

They were fried beautifully, leaving only a little oil on the paper bag. I ate two of the piping hot falafel immediately, and took the rest home for family members.

A small cup of tahini would be perfect with the delicious falafel, but then they probably wouldn't cost only $1.

My Jewish mother, who was born in Aleppo, Syria, made falafel at home not with chickpeas, but with fava beans, the way it's done in Egypt, where they are called ta'amia.

I prefer fava-bean falafel, but the only place I know that serves it is an expensive restaurant in Tenafly with an Egyptian chef/owner.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wild catfish from Whole Foods, farmed branzino from Costco

Wild-caught catfish fillets poached in sweet-and-savory 365 Everyday Value Al Pastor Salsa, both from Whole Foods Market in Paramus. I served them with organic brown rice prepared with organic diced tomatoes and chopped garlic in an electric cooker.

Editor's note: Cooking fresh fish at home is a snap, whether it is wild-caught or farmed. And fresh spinach is a nice addition to homemade pasta or egg dishes. 

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Whole Foods Market in Paramus has the biggest and best seafood counter in North Jersey so I shouldn't have been surprised to find wild-caught catfish there the other day.

And the boneless and skinless fillets were on sale for $7.99 a pound. Most other stores offer only farmed catfish.

On Monday afternoon, once I had my fillet, I walked over to the store's selection of 365 Every Day Value-brand medium-hot salsas and picked out a 16-ounce jar of Al Pastor, which blends mildly spicy peppers with sweet pineapple ($2.99).

At home, I poured about three-quarters of the salsa into a non-stick pan, squeezed some fresh lime juice into it and brought it to a boil.

Then, I placed five lightly salted serving pieces of the catfish into the salsa and covered the pan. They were ready in under 10 minutes.


This branzino is dynamite


Fishing with dynamite or blast fishing has been common in Greece for decades, and that is probably why a farmed Mediterranean sea bass started showing up on U.S. menus in the past decade.

In 2006, the restaurant reviewer for The Times complained farmed branzino, also called sea bass or loup de mer, was so common on Manhattan menus "it's the fish that ate New York."

A few years after that, the fish started appearing on North Jersey menus, especially in upscale Greek fish houses that sell fresh wild fish displayed on ice in their dining rooms for $30 to $40 a pound.

When Costco Wholesale in Hackensack started offering farmed whole branzino from Greece, the fish was sold with the scales still on it.

Now, farmed branzino comes scaled and ready to cook.

At Costco a week ago, I paid $8.99 a pound or $32.27 for three whole fish shrink wrapped on a tray.

At home, my wife cut each fish into two pieces and seasoned them.

I cooked them with olive oil, white wine, organic chicken stock and fresh lime juice in a covered non-stick pan.

I sauteed them in the oil, then added the other ingredients. The whole fish took about 15 minutes to cook through with the cover on.

Branzino is a great eating fish that flakes beautifully and doesn't have too many bones.


I prepared 1 pound of Luigi Vitelli-brand Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli in bottled Victoria Marinara Sauce with added anchovies, red wine, extra-virgin olive oil, dried Italian herbs and fresh spinach. The dried pasta is available at ShopRite for $1.25 a pound; the sauce in 40-ounce bottles and most of the other ingredients are from Costco.

A two-colander pasta dish

I used one colander when two would have been better in preparing organic whole-wheat pasta with spinach.

Pouring hot pasta water over fresh spinach in its own colander would have allowed me to press out excess moisture before adding pasta and spinach to the sauce.

Then, I could have drained the pasta and the remaining water in a second colander.


I put the fresh spinach in the colander I used to drain the hot water and fusilli or corkscrews, which I cooked for 8 minutes, 1 minute less than the cooking time listed on the package. Then, I transferred the pasta and spinach to the pan with the heated sauce, mixed them well and added shredded Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese from Costco. 
This morning, I used leftover Victoria Marinara Sauce from the pasta-and-spinach dish to poach two organic eggs from Costco and wilt more fresh spinach. I wanted soft yolks, but I covered the pan and they cooked through, below. 

For a filling breakfast, I ate the two eggs with leftover whole wheat fusilli and spinach. Wonderful.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

A world of flavors in N.J.-N.Y.C.: Italian, Korean, Chinese, Jewish

A wood-burning oven at A Mano, 24 Franklin Ave., Ridgewood, gives its deliciously smoky flavor to more than the authentic Neapolitan pizzas.

Editor's note: I had hoped to bring you more photos with this post, but a bug in my iPhone continues to prevent me from uploading images to my computer via Google+.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

When a friend suggested lunch at a Neapolitan-style pizzeria in Ridgewood, I figured I could order a nice salad instead of a pie.

I've been on a successful no-bread, no-pizza diet for years, and didn't want to break it.

On Friday, A Mano in Ridgewood came through with a salad of one of my favorite greens, peppery arugula, topped with a little cheese, and fresh artichokes imported from Italy and wood grilled in the restaurant ($11.99).

Delicious.

My friend had a Garlic and Shrimp Pizza ($18.99) washed down with a large bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water ($4.99).

Ridgewood probably has more restaurants than any other town in North Jersey, and we walked by several that were empty or had only a few customers at lunchtime Friday.

That was the case at A Mano, where the staff outnumbered the customers. 



Soft Tofu with Pork, prepared Medium Spicy, at So Gong Dong, 118 Broad Ave., Second Floor, in Palisades Park. The stew is bubbling and steaming when it comes to the table, hot enough to poach a fresh egg that is included with your complete meal. You also get rice and side dishes ($9.99)

Seafood pancake and side dishes

What's not to like about a complete meal centered around a healthy soft tofu stew with vegetable side dishes, steamed rice and a fresh egg, all for just $9.99?

For a change of pace on Saturday night at So Gong Dong, I ordered a Pajun, a non-spicy grilled seafood-and-scallion rice-flour pancake with side dishes, including seaweed in gochujang, a spicy red-pepper sauce ($11.99).

The pancake is made with tender squid and shrimp, and served with a dipping sauce.

My wife and mother-in-law each had tofu stew -- one Medium Spicy and the other Little Spicy -- and shared an order of Steamed Dumplings, which contain pork ($8.99).

In the years we've been patronizing So Gong Dong, the food and service have been great, the menu has been expanded and the prices have stayed reasonable.

But on Saturday, when we ordered a tofu stew to take home, we discovered the restaurant has switched to a cheap, flimsy plastic container for the hot stew that can easily open, if the bag tips over in your car.

We narrowly averted that mess; others may not be so lucky.



Crunchy cabbage kimchi, above, and non-spicy bean sprouts, below, are two of the five side dishes at So Gong Dong, and second and third helpings are served willingly, if you have the room. You also get a stone bowl filled with steamed white rice.

Originally called So Gong Dong, the popular tofu house also is known as So Gong Dong Tofu & BBQ and SGD Dubu, with branches in East Hanover, Cherry Hill, Hartsdale, N.Y.; and Glenview, Ill.

On the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Grand Street, between Eldridge and Allen streets, above and below, once was part of a district of dry goods stores selling sheets, curtains, bedspreads and lace tablecloths. Today, the neighborhood is part of a widely expanded Chinatown.

This afternoon, at the Chinese-owned Great Bakery, 303 Grand St., I purchased two Macau-style Egg Tarts for $1.10 each. They were topped with a little burnt sugar in contrast to plain Egg Tarts.

Nearby Sara Delano Roosevelt Park is a magnet for the homeless.

At Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, 137 E. Houston St., you can get a Sweet Potato, Spinach or Vegetable Knish, in addition to the traditional Potato and Kasah knishes. But at $3.75 each, you're in for sticker shock. Cash only. Outside, the big sign over the doors spells "Schimmel" without the "c," so maybe it should be Yonah Schlemiel Knish Bakery.

Take a number at Russ & Daughters, a popular appetizer shop at 179 E. Houston St. I saw a young couple sitting on a bench outside and working their way through a bagel stuffed with an inch-thick layer of cream cheese and a little smoked salmon. Hold the bagel and revolting amount of cream cheese, and give me the salmon, but I'll bet this famous shop doesn't offer the wild-caught variety that is available at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack. 

At home, I keep it simple and rely on great ingredients from Costco, including 100% Egg Whites and Mateo's Gourmet Salsa for this omelet stuffed with fresh spinach.  

Home cooking with Costco

I've really gotten to like the 32-ounce jar of Mateo's Gourmet Salsa ($4.97) I buy at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack as a garnish for omelets, baked sweet potatoes and organic brown rice, and to mix with guacamole.

Another great Costco ingredient for egg and pasta dishes is Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano, an aged cheese made with part skim milk that is sold shredded in 16-ounce plastic containers ($8.49, that's $3 off, until May 3).

Om Wednesday, my wife also picked up our usual 1-pound package of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix, and it rang up at $4.29, the lowest price I've seen in a couple of years.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Restaurant-quality takeout, espresso beans from Italy and more

A Stuffed Tiger Shrimp Dinner with Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, Broccoli and Roasted Potatoes from Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St., Englewood.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

At Jerry's in Englewood, the price of roasted coffee beans from Italy goes up and down more frequently than the stock market.

On Wednesday afternoon, I stopped at the discount Italian food and wine store, looking for Jerry's wonderful restaurant-quality takeout dinners, which are reduced to $5.99 after 4 p.m.

I found three shrimp dinners, then walked into the back room to look at the prices for roasted espresso beans from Italy.

A 2.2-pound bag of Gimoka Gran Gala beans were labeled $9.99, which I thought was a misprint. 

Other 2.2-pound bags from Italy were priced as high as $24.99.

But at the register, the two bags of Gimoka beans rang up at $9.99 each.



Jerry's Meals To Go are reduced to $5.99 after 4 p.m., though the selection often is limited. On Wednesday afternoon, I got the last three dinners, all with crab-stuffed shrimp.

On Sunday, two heads of red-leaf lettuce were on sale for 98 cents at H Mart in Little Ferry, and part of one head made a nice salad on Wednesday night with tomatoes and cucumbers from Costco Wholesale. The Korean supermarket also had fresh wild-caught whole porgy for $1.49 a pound, allowing us to put a fish dinner for four on the table for under $10.

I've been making egg-white omelets stuffed with fresh spinach, salsa and reduced-fat cheese, but taking short cuts results in a mess, above. It's best to use two pans, one for the omelet and one to precook and season the spinach before transferring it to the omelet and folding it. At Costco Wholesale, six 16-ounce cartons of Kirkland Signature 100% egg whites were $7.49.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ignore huge Lan Garden menu, but embrace delicious dim sum

Super Har Gow Jumbo Shrimp Dumplings ($6.95) are among 50 items on the dim sum menu at Lan Garden 88 in Ridgefield. 


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Slow service and pricing fresh fish by the pound are two of my complaints about Lan Garden 88, but I am totally won over by the restaurant's delicious selection of Hong Kong-style dim sum.

I can recall my first taste of dim sum in Hong Kong in 1979, when I had lunch in a restaurant so popular a customer waiting to eat stood behind each occupied chair as carts circulated in the dining room.

There and at dim sum lunches I had in later years in San Francisco and Manhattan Chinatowns, servers sang out in Chinese the names of the freshly prepared items displayed on the carts they pushed.

At Lan Garden, the atmosphere isn't as colorful and no carts appear in the dining room.

But the Ridgefield restaurant makes up for that by serving dim sum all day long (until 1 in the morning). 

Dim sum is also referred to as "yum cha," which means "eat tea." 



Beef Dumplings at Lan Garden ($4.95).

Fried Canton Carp Ball ($5.95).


Hard to top these dim sum

Lan Garden's freshly prepared array of dim sum eclipses what's available at any other Chinese restaurant in North Jersey, including Silver Pond Seafood Restaurant in Fort Lee.

In contrast to the large bound menu, Lan Garden's dim sum menu is a piece of paper on which you can check off which of the 50 items you want and how many you want.

The menu also includes Egg Custard Tart and other desserts, as well as Steamed Rice Noodle Rolls and Congee.

The items are labeled "Small" ($3.50), "Medium" ($4.95), "Large" ($5.95), "X Large" ($6.95) and "Super" ($8.95), and usually include two to four dumplings and so forth. 


Filling meal for $15 a person

On Tuesday afternoon, four of us ordered two Super Har Gow Jumbo Shrimp Dumpling, one of my favorites for the stuffing of minced shrimp and the garnish of tiny fish eggs.

We also ordered a Seafood Dumpling with Spinach, a Beef Dumpling, two Mini-Sized Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf ($5.95 each), Chicken Feet with Gluten in Chu-Hou Sauce, two Fried Canton Carp Ball and Pan Fried Chive Cake ($4.95).

The sticky rice and chive cake put the meal over the top, and we washed it all down with cup after cup of hot Chinese tea.

I was stuffed, and when the check came, we spent about $15 a person before tax and tip.



Chicken Feet with Gluten in Chu-Hou Sauce ($4.95).

Inside a Seafood Dumpling with Spinach ($5.95).

Eleven years ago, I celebrated the purchase of a new Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid with a meal at China 46, the Chinese soup-dumpling restaurant that preceded Lan Garden 88. On Tuesday, it was time to celebrate the purchase of my latest green car, an all-electric Tesla Model S.



Lan Garden, 88 Route 46 west (near Grand Avenue), Ridgefield; 201-840-8688. Restaurant hasn't received its liquor license yet, meaning you can bring your own wine or beer.

Open seven days for lunch and dinner, but closed weekdays between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A walk on the salty side at Lan Sheng Szechaun Restaurant

Whole Fish in Szechuan Chili Miso Sauce at Lan Sheng Restaurant.

Editor's note: Technical problems with my iPhone camera resulted in gauzy photos of the food we ordered at Lan Sheng in Wallington, and only one of the photos I took uploaded to my computer.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

On our second visit to Lan Sheng Szechaun Restaurant in Wallington, the three dishes we ordered made us feel like we were working in a salt mine.

On our first visit, the kitchen overcooked our whole red snapper, which was grilled and served in a cumin-flavored sauce.

The restaurant wasn't busy on our two visits, so Lan Sheng isn't living up to last year's 3-star rating (out of 4 stars) from a reviewer for a North Jersey daily newspaper.

And it certainly doesn't sound anything like the Manhattan original, which received a coveted star from a Michelin inspector who ordered the same miso- and chili-simmered whole fish we tried in Wallington last weekend.

Salt trail

We started with Szechuan Pickled Vegetables ($5.95), the spicy cold appetizer we loved on our first visit for its crunchy cabbage and diced carrots, but this time we also noted the modest size of the portion and the pronounced salty taste.

The Whole Fish in Szechuan Chili Miso Sauce ($22.95) was recommended by the manager, and the meaty red snapper we choose couldn't have tasted fresher.

But the sodium-laden sauce, which I spooned over white rice, was a shock.

The salt assault continued in our second entree, Prawns with Mixed Vegetables ($16.95), which came swimming in one of those ubiquitous brown sauces Chinese restaurants of every price level seem to push on American customers.

Liquor license

The Lan Sheng in Wallington has a liquor license and full bar, but surely that isn't the reason the food is so salty -- to encourage customers to order $5 bottles of Chinese beer.

We got goblets of ice water along with a pot of tea, and the servers did a great job keeping those glasses full.

I'd be happy with fish, vegetables and other dishes prepared with garlic and chili peppers -- I don't need sauce.

Rice bowl

As a final blow, Lan Sheng charged us $3 for two small bowls of white rice after we finished the small complimentary portions we got with our entrees.

That's reason enough not to return.

Here's a link to our first visit:

A serene setting for spicy Chinese food


Lan Sheng Szechuan Restaurant, 209 Paterson Ave., Wallington; 1-973-773-7100. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner, but closed between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

Reservations taken. American Express credit cards are not accepted. Limited street parking. Free municipal lot across the street.



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Costco Wholesale, ShopRite trounce Walmart in shopping survey

A quiet day at the Costco Wholesale in Hackensack, above, where members think nothing of leaving milk behind near the checkout counters, below.





By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

A nationwide survey of more than 62,000 supermarket shoppers ranks Costco Wholesale sixth and ShopRite 26th among 68 stores.

The top-rated store in Consumer Reports' 2014 Supermarket Survey is Wegmans, but they are few and far between in New Jersey.

Trader Joe's finishes third, even though the stores are smaller and the selection is more limited than at Costco and ShopRite.

Walmart Supercenter, such as the one opening in Teterboro soon, is next to last, just above 68th-place Waldbaum's.

The stores were ranked on a scale of 0-100 for the quality of produce, meats and poultry, bakery and prepared food, as well as staff courtesy and store cleanliness.

Time-pressed shoppers told the magazine freshly prepared meals that can be taken home are important to them.

Here is a link to a post describing a 2011 visit to a Wegmans and trying the store's prepared food:

Biggest Supermarket in New Jersey?

The Consumer Reports article, "The Best Supermarkets in America," appears in the May 2015 issue.