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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?

                1. Last Tuesday at Berkeley Grocery Outlet:

                  -- Sevre & Belle Moule a la Louche chevre d'or pasteurized goat cheese, 6 small rounds of about 5 1/3 oz. each in a wooden box, $5.99 for the box. This comes to about $3/lb. for what I think is a very good chevre from Celles sur Belle, France. Fat content is 5.7 grams per ounce which seems lower than most cheeses. Bought two boxes. Below is the link to a Google translation of the Sevre & Belle site.


                  --Joseph Schmidt of SF 9-piece holiday pack chocolate truffles, $4.99 for 5.85 oz. gift wrapped box, exp date June 2008. got 2 boxes to use as gifts.

                  --Sunny D orange strawberry 100% juice with other flavors, 64 oz. carton, 99 cents per carton. No added sugar or syrups, exp. date Dec. 17, 2008.

                  --Hallmark Sugar Free Chocolate, 15-piece box, 5.4 oz. distributed by Maxfield Candy of Salt Lake City. $1.99 per box.

                  -- Minute Maid frozen concentrated orange juice , 12 oz. with added vitamins C and E. 99 cents per can.

                  -- Best Yet frozen sliced strawberries, 24 oz. plastic container with added sugar. 99 cents per container.

                  --LaLa whole milk 32 oz. non-refrigerated cartons, now at 4 cartons for $1 (25 cents per carton), was one or two days past the exp date but seems fine as a substitute for cream in coffee.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: zippo

                    wow, maybe I need to venture to the Berkeley GO. I always go to the Oakland one, but I don't recall seeing most of that stuff there (would have loved to get some of that chevre).

                    They did, however, have some very tasty fuyu persimmons, 5/$1. Can't beat that.

                    1. re: Hunicsz

                      At Giovanni's in El Cerrito persimmons were 10 for $1.

                      A few other items -
                      Pasticceria De Gigli Panettone from Italy – 2lb bread for $4.99

                      Alidoro Panettone from Brazil - over a pound $1.99

                      Pacific foods chicken broth 99 cents for 32oz box

                      1. re: rworange

                        Ok the pannetone roundup for any last minute shoppers.

                        I liked the single-serving Bauducco Panettone (99 cents) the best. Enough that I bought a few more for myself and for mini stocking stuffer type gifts. This is not pannetone greatness but it is a pleasant little treat.

                        Alidoro Panettone in the green bag was next. It was on the dry side which toasting or microwaving pepped up. I wouldn't buy it again, but I felt it was worth the price.

                        Whew, I had the Pasticceria De Gigli Panettone for breakfast this morning. I have an active dislike for this one. It was drier than the Alidoro but it had a bitter taste to it, almost like there was some sort of alcohol in it ... but not in a good way ... and there was no list of alcohol. I think it might be the raisins. No candied fruit that I noticed, just raisins. Butter, microwaving and toasting didn't help. Just intensified the bitterness. If this went on sale for 25 cents I wouldn't buy it. I wouldn't take it free. It does smell nice, FWIW.

                      2. re: Hunicsz

                        Oakland has a lot more items and sometimes is cheaper on the same thing. Berkeley, occasionally, will have some gourmet pieces that Oakland doesn't. Oakland hasn't had frozen orange juice in a while. Berkeley had several kinds of Aidell's sausages ($2.99 for a package of 4?). Last Tuesday was kind of a lucky day after finding De Afghanan Kabob on University Ave.

                        1. re: zippo

                          RWC had a number of Aidell's sausages as well - at $2.99 a pkg, I can't resist trying ones I've never had. The Spinach and Feta I mentioned at the beginning of the month was eh -- the feta was a weird consistency (aka not dryish/crumbly - but what did I expect - it's in a moist sausage!).

                          We had the Habanero and Green Chile last night in a Latin version of the jambalaya recipe I usually use. The sausage itself wasn't "my-mouth-is-on-fire hot" by any stretch.

                          RWC also had the Mango, Pesto and just plain Chicken Apple varieties.

                          1. re: kivarita

                            Tried the $1.99 panettone for breakfast this morning. It is the one in the green foil bag. It as ok, leaning on the dryish side which was helped by toasting and a little butter. The small 99 cent panettone is much better ... good enough that I bought a few as mini-gifts.

                            1. re: kivarita

                              Speaking of sausages, I bought the Chef's Gourmet chicken-apple cocktail links, and my mom bought the Aidells version. I preferred the Chef's Gourmet version, which I believe was also slightly cheaper.

                        2. re: zippo

                          Joseph Schmidt truffles are gone.

                        3. Cruised thru the Redwood City GO store today after a Kaiser visit... Among other things the have Pacific Foods shelf stable quart size boxes of a sweet corn soup for 99 cents. This seemed like something good to have in the pantry and in fact I made a corn chowder with it tonight for dinner. Had red pepper and corn sausages, large scallops and roasted red bells in the freezer and cooked up some diced new potatoes and onions. Dinner on the table in about 20 min. I'll have to get back over there and pick up a few more boxes...

                          1. Found Organic Valley eggnog at the Petaluma GO yesterday. I forget how much I paid, but it tastes GREAT. Not too fakey thick or sweet (no tapioca, and carageenan is the last ingredient). Yum, this is going to be a costly calorie find. Oh, and its expiration date isn't until Dec 29th. Please hurry there and buy the rest so it's all gone when I go back.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: miss louella

                              Should be $.99 for a 32oz carton - Berkeley and Oakland stores are nearly out, but the rest of the Bay Area stores should have it.

                              1. re: David Carlson

                                For whatever reason, the San Pablo store prices things a little differently than the other stores. The eggnog is $1.49. Until recently, it was the only store charging 2 for $1 for the Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. It just recently changed the price to 3 for $1 which is what the other stores were charging.

                                There is also some sort of refrigerated soy nog and another brand of eggnog for 99 cents. I'm forgetting the name but it has something to do with some alcohol company.

                                Thanks miss louella, I have my organic Christmas egg nog.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  Hey does anyone recall the name of the French preserves they got a while back? I tried to google it but couldn't find it. I noticed they had the St. Dalfour pineapple and mango preserves at the Berkeley store. Is this what you guys are talking about? I bought a jar at $2.50 a jar. They also had St. Dalfour lemon teabags which I also got.

                                  1. re: choctastic

                                    According to the helpful Mr. Carlson, the French preserves were a very limited buy. But just FYI they were Les Comtes de Provence Confiture d'or biologique.

                                    1. re: choctastic

                                      The Oakland GO had the St. Dafour preserves in three different flavors: pineapple, cranberry-blueberry and fig (!). I haven't tried them, but they were being highly touted on the General Topics Board a while back, and my local Natural Grocery carries, them which suggests the quality is pretty high.

                                      Both the smoked salmon and the dark chocolate Snickers snowmen were big hits with their respective recipients (including my chocolate-snob mother, who claimed she's never had a Snickers bar!). Thanks, GO!

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        Did you try the Ferrar Roche dark chocolates ... oh knower of all things dark chocolate? Regular or the new dark chocolate were 99 cents. The people in line in front of me were obviously giving these as gifts. They must have had about 20 packages.

                                        Finally used up the last of the one panettone I didn't like by making French toast out of it .. topped with the organic Coombs Family Farms maple syrup. The French toast treatment worked and the maple syrup was good ... but I don't know a lot about maple syrup. It is a nice light pleasant syrup.

                                        A lot of people liked the mini panettone.

                                        1. re: rworange

                                          I did! The quality of the chocolate in the Ferro Roche is not great, but the dark chocolate version (like all dark chocolate versions) is less cloyingly sweet, and thus, preferrable to me.

                                          Speaking of cloyingly sweet, the Oakland GO had lots and lots of the Cadbury Irish Creme bars (the 4 oz. size). Not my cup of tea, but a good deal if you like them. I keep looking because I do like the Cadbury fruit and nut bars, which they had earlier this fall for 79 cents each.

                                    2. re: rworange

                                      That would be the Southern Comfort Egg Nog - although what it has to do with Southern Comfort when it's non-alcoholic I have no idea... Maybe it's flavored with Dr. Pepper?

                                      1. re: David Carlson

                                        I think it's supposed to inspire you to buy Southern Comfort to put in it. Which actually sounds kinda yummy.

                                  2. re: miss louella

                                    No Organic Valley eggnog in Petaluma as of today; thanks to whoever took the calorie hit so I didn't have to.

                                  3. I was in the neighborhood, so I dropped into the Oakland GO today at noon.

                                    NOBLE FIR Xmas trees -- any size $32.99. These are a real bargain -- they start at about four feet and go up to at least seven feet. The larger sizes usually sell for several times this price.

                                    Alaska Smokehouse smoked salmon -- the Oakland store has it back in stock, both the 8 ounce ($4.99) and 16 ounce ($7.99) sizes. RWOrange reported favorably on the quality. The packaging on these is very attractive, and they would make great hostess gifts (a nice change from the usual cookies, sweets, nuts). In the canned goods aisle next to the canned salmon.

                                    Sun Tropics Calamansi lime -- $1.99 a half gallon. Delicious (although not as tart as "regular" lime ades) -- no HFCS.

                                    Lots of German holiday season cookies (variations on gingerbread and pfeffernusse) in the cookie aisle.

                                    Snickers dark chocolate snowmen -- $1.59 for a six-pack. Good for the dark chocolate snobs among us. I like the dark chocolate Snickers better than the regular, and the snowmen are even better, because the chocolate is thicker (so it could be molded). It's still Snickers, though, not to be compared to expensive high cocoa solids chocolate.

                                    1. Fortunately, had the use of a friend's car for the last few days and loaded up at Berkeley and Oakland Grocery Outlets. Before hitting the shopping aisles, had lunch at Green Papaya Deli (International and 2nd Ave. in Oakland) of Moke Pa, $5, boneless catfish with lemongrass, cilantro and spices in banana leaf. Spectacular.

                                      While in West Berkeley, drove by the not-yet-open De Afghanan Kabob House at 1160 University but it does have a menu up on a window. Hours will be 11 am - 10 pm on Sunday through Thursday and 11 am - 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. The telephone listed is 510-549-3781. I called but there was no answer or voice mail.

                                      Also noticed that there is a warehouse for Wine.Com with a shop that is open 7 days/week on the 2200 block of 4th Street in Berkeley, a few blocks south of the corner where Vik's is.

                                      Berkeley Grocery Outlet (saw most of these items at Oakland GO,too)

                                      -- Fancy Chocolate Truffles, $2.99 for a 8.8 oz. red carton. From Chocolat Mathez of France. I'm new to chocolat truffles but they seemed a little chalky and salty but a welcome change from the usual glossy chocolates I'm used to.
                                      -- Haagen-Daazs Coconut Sorbet, 99 cents for a one pint container. Very nice.
                                      -- Strub's Bread and Butter Pickles, $1.99 for a 66 oz. glass jar. From Strub Brothers of Ontario, Canada. Didn't see any artificial flavors or colors on the label. There is also an organic version, $1.99 for a 25 oz. jar.
                                      -- Helados Mexico Tamarindo - natural tamarind flavored popsicles, best by 1/6/08. 6 bars in a box for $1.99. I've had better tasting helados, particularly at La Reina de Michoacan in Fresno, but not bad for 33 cents each. Good enough to make you think of walking along a beach in Cabo San Lucas even though it's December in Berkeley.
                                      -- CFL (compact flourescent) light bulbs, 4 bulbs for 99 cents. Both 'twisty' and globe type bulbs that use 1/4th of the electricity of comparable incandescent bulbs. I know, I know; it's not strictly food-related but if we don't conserve and the glaciers melt, we'll be eating nothing but fish and seaweed.
                                      -- Pumped Fitness Water, 30 oz. hexagon-shaped plastic bottle in kiwi, tangerine or lemon flavors, 4 bottles for 99 cents. About 10 calories for an 8 oz. serving with crystalline fructose and vitamins. From Short Bus Beverage of Encinitas, CA. It is not overly sweet like other energy drinks and the 6-sided shape stops it from rolling on the court after the wind knocks it over.
                                      -- Hansen's Natural Green Tea Soda with extract of African Ginger, 16 oz. can, 4 cans for $1.99. with glucose-fructose syrup and 35 mg. of ECGC ( Epigallo-catechin Gallate, antioxidant) per can.
                                      -- Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap, 99 cents for 8 oz. plastic bottle. from Clean & Company of Minneapolis. with lemongrass, lemon oil, peppermint, clover, geranium and fir needle. Smells great and might be enough to overcome the odor of garlic or fermented shrimp paste that you've been cooking with.

                                      1. Just tried the Vita Soy Holly Nog - 99 cents - not bad at all. And some nice selections of DeCecco pasta: a cool raquette shape pasta for 99 cents and an even better buy of a spaghetti like shape ..... 2 - 16oz boxes for $1.00. there were additonal shapes also.