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Dec 1, 2007 12:13 PM

December 2007 - Grocery Outlet

The cupboards were finally bare after Thanksgiving, so I made a run to the RWC GO to fill 'em up again. Today's finds:

Nestle's Toll House morsels - $1.49
Martha White-brand Yellow Corn Meal - 2 lb. bag - 69 cents
Aidell's Spinach and Feta chicken sausages - $2.99
Hunt's Organic Diced Tomatoes - 14.5 oz. can - 69 cents

Other interesting stuff that I didn't get:
Chef's Gourmet Chicken Cocktail Sausages (never been a big fan, but inevitably they show up at holiday parties)
Newman's Own Caramel Cups and Mint Cups - 2 for $1
Stonehedge cab (I think)
Starbucks mud pie (ice cream bars)
Brown Cow yogurt (the ones with the grain/fruit on the bottom)
Hershey's "Whole Bean" chocolate bars - 60% cacao

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  1. Thanks for starting up this month's thread.

    I've purchased the Hunt's Organic Diced Tomatoes before and they're unacceptable. I wrote to Hunt's complaining about the poor quality of three cans and rec'd a coupon back for one free product.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Thanks for the warning! Too bad I missed that thread the first time around! I'll make sure I've got backup cans of another brand when I go to use them.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        My wife intended to buy S&W diced tomatoes at Costco, but mistakenly got stewed tomatoes. They are really good, packed with herbs and in big chunks. We had a great tomato crop this year, but they are mushy from the cold. These canned tomatoes are great for the winter.

        1. re: OldTimer

          Yes, I like our local S&W brand too. Long ago, i entered and got an honorable mention (and lots of goodies) in an S&W recipe contest. The stewed tomatoes are 69¢ a can at GO.

          I needed some canned tomatoes and cruised by GO to see if there might be any of the Italian ones available now. No such luck, but in Rohnert Park, I found a few stray cans of Muir Glen whole tomatoes for $1.29 - 32 oz on the shelf above the frozen pizzas. I used them to make Bolognese sauce, but I will say I don't like the whole tomatoes as much as the crushed ones from Muir Glen that are packed in puree.

          I'm making spaghetti bolognese tonight for 25 people at a James Bond theme NYE party. Here's the often quoted passage from Thunderball about spaghetti bolognese, one of his most well-known food cravings:

          "James Bond would have been more worried, as day by day the H-cure drew his teeth, if it had not been for three obsessions which belonged to his former life and which would not leave him—a passionate longing for a large dish of Spaghetti Bolognese containing plenty of chopped garlic and accompanied by a whole bottle of the cheapest, rawest Chianti (bulk for his empty stomach and sharp tastes for his starved palate), an overwhelming desire for the strong, smooth body of Patricia Fearing, and a deadly concentration on ways and means to wring the guts out of Count Lippe."

          I bought four pounds of the De Cecco fedelini, a little thin for the application, but priced right at 99¢/lb. for my purposes. Also used the Sandstede diced prosciutto from Germany, 100 g for $1.69 in the sauce. Serving up spaghetti bolognese, garbed in a glittery evening dress and lots of blue eyeshadow and black eyeliner, I should make a fine Bond girl. (g)

          You know, just about every time I go to GO, I look for the Castleberry's corned beef hash that you recommended years ago, but never see it.

          Happy New Year!

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          I much prefer the TJ brand (whole unsalted tomatoes, dice them by hand). It is a comparable price, although they come in 28oz cans, and much tastier.

          1. re: Marc Wallace

            Today the Oakland GO had Del Monte organic crushed tomatoes for 99 cents a 28 oz can.

            A few other organic products:

            Sunspire chocolate chips -- 9oz for 1.29
            Wolfgang Puck organic beef broth -- 1 quart tetrapak for 99 cents
            Vita Soy chocolate peppermint and holly nog soy milks -- ditto

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              After trying them, I wouldn't recommend either of the Vita Soy drinks, although the chocolate peppermint was marginally better than the holly nog (which suffered in comparison to the truly excellent Silk soy nog I also had on hand). The sunspire chips had turned a little gray and seemed reluctant to melt. Once they were melted, though, the flavor and appearance were fine.

              I forgot to mention that the Oakland GO had Christmas trees: noble firs, any size, $32.99 (good price, especially if you want a big one, which will usually run you $60 on up, and they mostly had biggish ones).

        3. The San Pablo store has

          - $1.99 Hormel Natural Choice oven roasted deli turkey (Prepare or freeze by Feb. 16 08)
          - $4.99 22 quarts of Carnation powdered milk (best by Sept 2007)
          - $7.99 Alaska Smokehouse salmon (1lb)
          - 2 for $1 Single serving bottle-ettes of Martinelli's apple juice
          - $3.99 Cardona Coffee (34.5 oz)
          - $3.99 C & W Coffee (34.5 oz)
          - 99 cents cans of smoked oysters and smoked scallops
          - 2 for $1 Quaker Old Fashioned Oats (18 oz)
          - $4.99 2 lbs salted Land O Lakes butter with bonus tub of spreadable LOL with canola oil
          - $2.49 1 lb sweet Land O Lakes butter

          And for cleaning up after all that cooking - Brillo pads 18 for $1.49

          Oakland has
          - $2.99 I forget the name sherry
          - 2 for $1 Del Monte Saurkraut
          - Some sort of pixie clementine-like oranges for about $3 ??

          GO made me a fan of Hormel Natural products, especially the bacon. Usually they sell for about $4.50. Haven't tried the turkey yet and there wasn't much on the shelf. Those Hormel Naturals are the main reason I troll the cold food case at GO. It isn't there often.

          They still have the Tyson chicken. I finally tried the wings $1.99 and they were not bad. They could really be dressed up easily and were lots better than the horrid Wing Stop wings that cost three times the price for 1/2 the quantity. Might not be bad to keep in the freezer for unexpected holiday entertaining. They microwave in about 3 minutes.

          The Carnation milk is a sell out. I've been using it and there is nothing wrong with it despite being past the date.

          I like the Smokehouse salmon. It is not Cap'n Mikes quality but it is miles better than anything at TJ or other markets at much higher prices. It is the boxed salmon that isn't refrigerated.

          Also the smoked oysters and scallops are as good as anything I've paid triple the price. Some of the oysters were Bumble Bee brand.

          The sherry is not a bad cooking sherry. Didn't try the pixie tangeries because the line was backed up too much at the Oakland GO on the day I went.

          I feel compelled to give the story on Chowhound, but my S/O doesn't like better coffee like Graffeo or Pete's ... etc. So I buy the supermarket coffee for him. That Cardona is not a bad coffee. It is your standard coffee shop nothing special coffee. However it is a decent medium blend with no bitterness. Haven't tried the C & W yet.

          Those Quaker Oats are a MAJOR deal. The packaging is in Spanish. Don't remember about the expiration date ... but it's oatmeal which keeps forever. I bought lots and would buy lots more if I had more shelf space.

          The only thing I thought was ... eh ... was the DiGiornio Romano ($3.99 lb). The wedge for $1.21 was too much to pass up. It is cryo-vacked which is not kind to Romano giving it a too moist, rubbery texture. It might be ok melted. I cubed it for salads and it was ok. Wouldn't buy it again though.

          It seems that GO gears up for the new month around mid-week of the first week. Didn't see much new yet. Not finding much wine-wise. There's boxed Hardy's some sort of pink wine for $3.99 but I'm neither a Hardy's or pink wine fan in general.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rworange

            MY S/O finally broke into the C & W coffee this morning and it is good. It isn't going to please anyone who grinds their own beans, but anyone buying canned supermarket coffee might be pleased. It is a medium-bodied inoffensive cup of coffee. No bitterness like some canned coffee might have. Better than most fast food coffee, IMO. Again the price for a big can ... $3.99 (34.5 oz)

          2. Pinebrook 2005 Shiraz $1.99 ... not bad.

            Take this with the qualification that I know nothing about wine and my friend who does know a lot usually disagrees with me.

            However, this was a pleasant table wine with pizza and had a nice smokey note to it.

            I was in a major supermarket today and thinking that the bottles that sell for $2 - $5 at Grocery Outlet are so much better than what is found on an ordinary supermarket shelf in the $6 - $20 range.

            1. Ok, the holiday stuff is arriving.

              Let me tell you the single-serving Bauducco Panettone (99 cents) is swell.

              If you don't mind HFCS, Land O Lakes egg nog (expiration 12/22) is $1.49 for a quart. I've been happy with most of the Land O Lakes products at Grocery Outlet. There is also Producers egg nog for $1.99 a quart ... didn't check the ingrediants but I'm guessing hfcs.

              There's Chai nog ($1.99) ... no eggs and something about that making chickens happy on the package.

              Other stuff

              Those pixie mandarins (3lbs for $2.29) are excellent, very sweet with the perfect tangerine flavor.

              Beautiful halved pecans - 6oz for $2.29

              Clover organic milk (in the fridge) four single serving packs $1.69

              Coombs organic maple syrup (8 oz $4.99). The label says voted #1 by Gourmet magazine.

              Crate & Barrel Spice bottles (2.99). They might make a nice gift. The mixed color peppercorns looked interesting. There's also a bottle of sea salt and a few others.

              Lots of boxed chocolates too. Hallmark chocolates?

              Pretty looking bottles of Cucina Toscana olive oil for $7.99

              Hanson natural soda - six pack $1.99

              7 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                Um ... the more I read about this ... I removed it from the long list above to give it some attention.

                Osoyoos Larose 2003 Boredeaux style wine from ... uh ... Canada . $9.99. BUT it was a heavier bottle that came in a very nice wooden box and the packaging called attention to some sort of care being taken. It sells for $36 dollars ususally.

                This link talks about the 2001 which was the first bottle from this vinyard (and thought the $36 buck price was amazing) and says ...

                "In fact, it is remarkable to produce such a fine wine from a three-year-old vineyard. This can only be attributed to the expertise, terroir, and care lavished to the whole process. "

                From this link ...
                "The partners have spared no expense or effort to produce what they consider the finest red wine in Canada. Comparisons to Napa's Opus One have been made, and I believe they may be on target."

                And ....
                "No doubt, the elegantly long corks will soon be pulled from bottles of the newest release in fine restaurants. In a way, that will be a pity. Osoyoos Larose winemaker Pascal Madevon has crafted a bold red that will age superbly, and get even better, over the next decade. This represents classic Bordeaux winemaking."

                "The Osoyoos Larose style, however, is unmistakeably its own. The Jackson-Triggs reds tend to show an early-drinking juiciness – a yummyness that seduces wine judges and consumers alike."

                "Dark on colour, the wine has notes of blueberry and vanilla on the aroma. On the palate, it is a densely textured wine, with flavours of currants, plums, blueberries and spice. The tannins are ripe and chewy but still quite firm, the clue that this wine is built to age well."

                From this link ....
                "Every now and again you taste a wine that’s really exciting ... it might come from an unexpected region or producer and it might make you rethink some aspect of wine ... Osoyoos Larose sells for $35 a bottle, and that’s inexpensive for an ultra-premium wine of this calibre. There are plenty of wines that are much higher in price and a lower in quality. "

                One more ...
                "it is elegant, yet concentrated on the palate, with flavours of plum and cassis. It has weight and power but also style, elegance, complexity and great finesse. "

                OK ... a final one ...
                "this is a stunning wine. To obtain the quality on display here in Bordeaux you would be looking at paying three or four times the asking price of Osoyoos ... the initial vintage of 2001 was nothing short of breathtaking, the 03 takes the wine to a new level, deeper, broader and more complex with great finesse."

                Some chat on Chowhound but the site is too slow for me to be able to read them.

                Hmmm ... I just talked myself into rushing down tomorrow and buying some.

                At the other end of the spectrum, the $2.99 Federico Bonfio 2003 Il Poggio Chianti was a nice table wine I thought ... but consider the source.

                1. re: rworange

                  About a year and a half ago, I had a chance to try the first vintage of O-L that a friend handcarried back from Canada. It was considered a bit of a rarity and those of us around the table thought it was very good for the price and Bordeaux-like. Actually more like what Bordeaux used to taste like with firm tannins and a slight herbal undertone beneath the ripe cassis fruit. I made a mental note to keep an eye out for this producer.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    After all that, I tried a bottle with a friend who knows wine. His opinion is that it was the equivalent of a $25 bottle of wine with the comment ... $25 doesn't buy much these days. He was not rushing off to Grocery Outlet to stock up.

                    Kind of combined impressions ... mine and his. This is NOT a wine to drink now ... still a lot of tanin which sucked the moisture out of my mouth. If you do drink it now it would need to be paired with a strong dish. His opinion was that it would stand up well to red sauce Italian dishes.

                    It does have a lovely bouquet though. Very little legs. I couldn't get past the tanin but he said there was the taste of new oak. When I tried it the next day, that did come through. To tell you the truth, I was about to take the other bottle I bought back and then I let it sit for a while. After a few hours it opened up the taste and paired with some blue cheese was pretty good ... still wouldn't buy another bottle though for my own personal taste.

                    One thing is ... it is a wine that is slow-sipping ... it took both of us a while to go through a glass.

                    1. re: rworange

                      My experience with the 2001, which is only 2 years older, is that it needs 5+ years to show well, and maybe more. However, it's quality was clear to those of us tasting it, certainly worth more than $35. The 2003 may be different.

                      Tannin is a good thing, as long as the other elements are there in balance and in sufficient quantity to stand up to the aging needed to soften the structure. I would expect new oak and plenty of it for this wine, but again, all things in proportion. Red sauced Italian dishes are absolutely the wrong thing for high tannin wines, as tomatoes with their high umami and sugar turn tannin bitter and sour, but YMMV.

                      I stopped at the Santa Rosa GO hoping to find this wine, the 2003 O-L, but no luck. But spotted some other things that look like good buys -

                      Spice Islands herbs and spices for 79¢
                      Dececco linguine bulk pack, 5 lbs for $3.99
                      Jeremiah Pick organic Andes coffee, 12 oz for $5

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I went down to look for it in Berkeley after reading rworange's post and couldn't find it. Asked the Wine Buyer and apparently we had to pull it. Our distributor wasn't supposed to sell it in the closeout channel...

                        1. re: David Carlson

                          Just curious. After reading about it, a lot of peolpe are fans and it is not easy to find in the US. Will it be available in stores other than Grocery Outlet in the Bay Area and where?

                          1. re: rworange

                            The 2003 O-L is on the shelf at the Rohnert Park store, $9.99, as of Saturday. My first time in this new location, very nice wine display arranged by grape variety, and many that I've not seen in Petaluma or Santa Rosa.

                            Two big tables of import wines in Rohnert Park, most priced at $3.99, from relatively obscure areas. Wish I'd had more time to browse and go through the whole selection, as I'm sure there are some fine buys in that group. I've posted tasting notes on the Wine Board for the first two that I've opened,
                            2005 Fiegl Colli Tocai Friulano
                            2000 Monti Barbera d'Alba

                            There was quite a bit of the Barbera on display. I noticed that some of the bottles had drips from where the corks had leaked, so examine the goods carefully.

                            These and the others I chose were based on the general high quality of the wine producing regions, good vintages, and good reputation of the importers. There were a bunch of Italian wines that I had no idea what they might be, brings to mind again the criticism that Italy has too many appellations to develop a consumer base. Many at the store are too old to be good bets. I did find myself wishing that I knew more about Sicilian wines, as there were several.

                            The other four bottles that I picked up that will be consumed tonight. Doing some research on them, they were all well-regarded at release and should all be interesting if the condition is good. They are:

                            2003 Steininger Kamptal Young Sekt
                            imported by Select Wines, KW Selection

                            1998 La Cappuccina "Campo Buri" Rosso Veneto (90% CF, 10% CS
                            )Imported by House of Burgundy, NY

                            1999 Cantine di Palma "Il Nibbio Grigio" Aglianico del Vulture
                            Importer: Star Industries, Syosset, NY

                            2004 Borgo SanLeo Sangiovese Toscana, $3.99 for 1500ml (magnum), this is my stand-in for the cheap Chianti to accompany James Bond's spaghetti bolognese
                            Imported by Zonin USA, Charlottesville, VA

                            Also stocked up on cutrate priced Zantac and Tums for those who overindulge in food and drink tonight.

              2. a few items from Oakland Grocery Outlet from last Friday afternoon (Dec. 7):

                -Hain Amond Oil, expeller pressed, 12.7 oz. plastic bottle, 99 cents each. exp Feb 8,'08
                -Naked Smoothie, 32 oz, with apple, orange, mango, banana. $1.49 each. 100% juice. exp ...Jan 1, '08
                They also had a protein drink at the same price. From Naked Juice Co of Glendora. A good Odwalla wannabe.
                - Mendocino Brewing of Ukaih Wheat Beer and Ocktoberfest, limited edition. $3.99/6-12 oz. bottles. from the makers of Red Tail Ale and Blue Heron. Have only tried the Wheat Beer so far but I prefer the unfiltered type with the yeast at the bottom, unlike this filtered version.

                A heads up: a 99 Cents Only Store is scheduled to open sometime next month on 7th Street across from the West Oakland BART Station and they probably will carry a few of the same items that GO carries. 99 cent wine anyone?