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Best .99 store for various foods?

If you need a last minute dash of rosemary, you can pay $4 at Ralphs or you can get the same thing for .99 at you know where. I was wondering if there's an exceptional .99 for this and other foodstuffs. There seems to be some variation at the name .99 cent places, plus the tons of knock-offs of course.

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  1. Believe it or not, some of them sell wine - overstock wine. Just read the year, but some of the Australian wines I've bought have been a-ok. I like the Lincoln location.

    .99 store is not a secret in the chef world... my chef friend drives to the location in Culver City.

    1. I live very close to the Culver City location and frequent it often.

      I always stop at the Lincoln Bl location if near it and find many items that aren't offered in Culver City.

      Remember the long 4 X 15 inch flat, multi-colored taffee of years gone by?

      Lincoln Bl has it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: mar52

        I just opened their Best Foods "Mayonesa", made with lime juice and lemon juice from Canada and it was rancid. Not sure when I purchased it, probably about 3 months ago, but it had a "use by" date of October 2006. Had an experience this week with potato chips from Canada that were rancid but don't know where they were purchased. Also Canadian is that Ana Maria spaghetti sauce from 99¢ store-awful
        it's thickened with modified food starch. Look at the contents of Hunt's and you won't find that ingredient. Starch was used to extend the sauce and it tasted terrible. I'm not buying 99¢ store garlic any more--from China and it's old.

      2. IME there is no 'best' 99 Cent store. Their food 'strength' is the overages purchased from producers as opposed to products tailored for their store. You should check several stores and check them twice a week to catch small batches that fly out.
        My favorites:
        Bread - San Luis Sourdough and other Sara Lee clones of it appear occasionally.
        Mayo - a couple of weeks ago quarts of Best Foods/Hellmans showed up in various varieties (Lite, Canola, Reduced Fat); most were gone in a day or three.
        Frozen pierogies - the Cheemo brand from Canada
        Canned beans - just basic, no wierd spices or sauces
        Wine - best selection happens in spring/summer when wineries sell off slow movers to regain storage for the fall harvest. I suspect that fall/winter is better for wine buys from southern hemisphere producers.
        Mustard - Morehouse is usually there. Grey Poupon shows up periodically.
        As an old cop show often said, Just be careful out there...

        1. Which stores sell the wine? I'm in the west SFV and the stores near here don't. I'm curious to try some for grins.

          I get Rye Krisp at the one on DeSoto/Sherman Way. I was shocked to see my local Gelson's selling Rye Krisp for about $3.50.

          1. Two of the three stores nearest me (13023 and 14901 Hawthorne Blvd) sell wine. The other (11800 block) is in the lowest income neighborhood and may run out quickest :-).
            BTW today I stopped by the 13000 block one and could hardly stop laughing - they are selling an undated, French made wine named OLD FART WHITE! I picked up a bottle and tried it - fairly typical for $1 - not complex but clean finish. Excerpt from the label: 'There really is no substitute for tradition and experience, just ask any OLD FART' ... 'Be bold, go for the old'. ROFL! Brings me back ~35 years to when my dad printed humorous labels like this for some customers.
            I'll be saving This label.

            1. Here's the URL to find locations, the weekly ad, etc.:


              1. If in the Valley there are two .99 Cent ONLY! Store locations that I prefer. Woodland Hills, (Ventura Bl/Corbin-ish)...found hebrew national salami chubs there and Polly-O ricotta in 2 lb containers before. Always well stocked and very quiet even on the weekends. Also like the newer store on Parthenia and Sepulveda...very clean, well stocked and tons of fresh veggies and fruits. Just got a 3 lb bag of huge, red delicious apples for .99.

                2 Replies
                1. re: davinagr

                  No guarantees what sort of produce you'll find at 99, but one day it was beautiful bunches of white asparagus that I later saw selling for $5.99 in Bristol. The fairly frequent large bags of limes, lemons and red and white onions are pretty good deals, nice garlic too. Potatoes, apples, pears and melons vary in quality, so caveat emptor. All in all a great resource when used wisely and selectively.

                  1. re: bernardo

                    I agree with you bernardo....I mentioned the location on Parthenia and Sepulveda in particular for produce because they always have a plentiful selection and it's of higher quality consistantly compared to other 99's. I go out of my way when shopping produce to stop there. It's usually worth it.

                2. Wine selection has been poor to middling the last few months. However, watchful waiting tends to pay off, no one knows when the next treasure will suddenly appear. So start stashing you dollar bills now in anticipation.

                  The last best was Kangaroo Ridge Merlot & Cab-Shiraz mags late summer. Nice flavor and bouquet especially at 2 cents an ounce. Keep a lookout for the Aussies, they tend to be reliable and satisfying.

                  Another 99 wine hint: Look for CA Voigners or blends. Seems like they don't sell well in the wine stores, maybe because of lack of name recognition. Don't be discouraged, CA Voigner is delightfully fruity yet dry with not much tannin like French wines. Loaded up myself on fanatastic Talomas Voigner-Chard at 99 last summer. If and when they appear again pounce quickly.

                  1. The two best 99¢ Onlys in my neck of the woods (Pasadena) are the ones in Highland Park (on York near Figueroa) and on Duarte Rd. in Arcadia. There's one on Huntington Drive in Alhambra that I have not yet checked out. My favorite items: canned beans, canned salmon, weird Knorr Latino sauces (just to try them out), and of course whatever wine there is. My favorite lately has been a pleasant if bland Chardonnay called White Lie, most notable because Gelson's and Whole Foods have both been featuring it at $8.99 and $7.99 respectively!

                    There's also a very good store near Pasadena City College on Colorado, but (I suppose because it's near a school) they don't carry wine or beer.

                    1. Wine from the 99 cent store=cheap drunk.

                      I don't think anything has tasted good, but I've caused my fair share of hangovers!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: therealbigtasty

                        I'll tell you what's often lousy, the house wine at $4 a pop in many restaurants. Patient snoops have bagged beautiful wines in 99 over the years, including some outstanding Warburn Riverina Estates vintage varietals, MacPherson Shirazes, Wild Game Red, Talomas Voigner-Chard, and countless others I've featured in my posts over the years. The misperception that you get what you pay for has greatly benefited us fearless 99 wine warriors.

                        As such, it would be greatly appreciated by the rest of us if you'd keep spreading the word that all the wine at 99 sucks.

                        1. re: bernardo

                          We should start an underground network...telling those within the circle.

                          My experience with 99 cent wine's been pretty bad, but I do believe there are good ones in there.

                          1. re: bernardo

                            Don't forget Big Lots - just had an amazing 2002 Cab which was about $3. Wish I could remember which BL we had bought it would have got a case but it was full, wonderful body and great with lamb stew.

                            1. re: ZoeZ

                              I've always wondered about the wine in places like 99cent and Big Lots. There's gotta be something that's a hidden gem. As for 99 cent stores, there are 2 on Sunset Blvd in the Hollywood area which are HUGE. My eyes light up when I go there - hard to walk away w/o buying something haha.

                        2. this is my absolute favorite store. i bought all my wedding favor candy there (rainbow colored tootsie rolls), which saved me a ton.

                          the garden grove location- on lampson and valley view, is particularly good...and quite huge!

                          1. Foodstuff at .99 is hit or miss. When the fresh fruit and veggies looks good, i buy them and have never been disappointed. I stay away from their frozen and refrigerated food. I think it's asking for gastro-intestinal trouble, which I am prone to and it ain't no fun.
                            Sometimes they carry Passover sweets---Joyva chocolate marshmallow twists and chocolate jelly rings. When they are in stock, I buy the entire lot and freeze them.

                            As for the wine, why bother? Trader Joe's carries immensely quaffable premium wines for under $5 and they are never "corked" or "cooked." It is so disappointing to open a bottle of wine and discover it is swill. It can ruin your entire breakfast. I hate when that happens.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cuppajoe

                              99 Cent Store on Washington Blvd. close to Beethoven has some good food/produce finds. This past Friday they had blueberries and boysenberries for 99 cents and 50 cents. Trader Joe's has them for $2.99. Can't beat that! I like the music video on youtube with the guy who finds food deals at his local .99 cent store. Hilarious!

                              1. re: tatertots

                                Win-win all around. Growers and distributors can quickly unload excess or short shelf life produce with minimal expenses for storage, refrigeration and packaging while the consumer benefits on price. Hey, farmer's markets are nice too but have limited days & hours and can be pricey.
                                Our model combines 99 cents with other resources:
                                -- Check 99 cents first for produce
                                -- Second line for produce include supers such as Wholesome Choice, 99 Ranch and Jon's (excellent cherries @ $1/lb, mangoes 3/$1)
                                -- Wholesome Choice for hummus & middle eastern specialties
                                -- Farmer's markets or farmstands (eg, Smith's) for strawberries, peaches, herbs & green beans
                                -- TJs for dairy, OJ, nuts & cheeses
                                -- WC, Pavillions, Stater Bros for meats & fish special (thick fresh sword at P's this week for $10/lb)
                                -- Wild Oats & Whole Foods for occasional specials or splurges on fresh fish, meat & produce, especially organics
                                -- Bristol Farms after winning the lottery

                            2. I have found great deli deals at the La Tijera location off the 405. From Healthy Choice smoked turkey breast to sliced roast beef, if you act fast enough....

                              1. I read that the two locations around BH, one on Wilshire near La Cienega and the other around Fairfax and 6th are the highest grossing---not sure. Something about millionaires holding onto their money...