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What Are Your Favorite Grocery Store Items?

Okay, there are only three rules here:
1. Food products only.
2. Items need to be the best of their kind.
3. Items need to be widely available.

My faves:
1. Colavita olive oil--as good as brands costing twice as much
2. Fage Total 0% yogurt--richer than other brand's full-fat yogurts; perfect with honey, fruit and/or chopped walnuts
3. Kashi Heart-to-Heart Oatmeal--the only instant oatmeal with the taste and texture of slow-cooked oats. (I esp. like the Golden Maple flavor.)
4. Dickinson Purely Fruit strawberry preserves--the name says it all

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  1. Hellman's Mayonaise. I've had homemade and most other brands, and nothing beats it for straight unadulterated mayo

    9 Replies
    1. re: jnk

      here here....that and kewpie mayo. I only use it for one thing: as a dipping condiment for dried squid

      I tried kraft mayo once and I coudn't stand it. In a taste test, hellman's wins hands down

      1. re: jnk

        Hellman's IS the best, IMO. Although southerners are sweet on Duke's.

        1. re: Jeff C.

          Southerner here... Duke's doesn't even come close to Hellman's IMO.

            1. re: Jeff C.

              I agree, although it is Best Foods here

        2. re: jnk

          Funny how we respond so well to the marketing. If you buy such cheap mayo as Banquet and Safeway store brand and other non-famous real mayo made with Saffola oil as is Hellmans etc. and do a blind taste test you will be amazed. Nobody ever can pick out the Best Foods or Hellmans! Why? because they really are the same stuff with different lables. Most of them are, just try it!

          1. re: bushy

            I totally do not agree, just try cooking with it and you will see the difference. My husband can even tell the difference between regular Hellmanns and low fat, which most people say taste the same (yeah I tried to trick him a few times). Some people are just more sensitive to flavors. But Hellmanns is definitely not the same stuff as different labels!

            1. re: coll

              def can tell difference between low fat and regular hellman's. "just say no" to guar gum!

            2. re: bushy

              Clearly you are speak ing for yourself, bushy. I can taste the difference in all mayo, light, canola, Kraft, etc...Hellman's definitely is the best mayo period.

          2. Trio (Nestle) gravy mix. I add 2T to my usual sauce thickener for its browning, and slight spiciness.
            Anchovies, and a bottle of thick Vietnamese fish sauce: one or the other for stew or soup, tho' a little goes a long way.
            Dijon mustard.
            Lea and Perrins Worcestershire.
            Herdez chipotle
            Arctic Surf canned clams
            Niblets corn
            Heinz tomato soup
            Campbells mushroom soup
            Frank's hot sauce
            Sardines or Sprats from EU
            Kikkoman soy sauce

            1 Reply
            1. re: jayt90

              Agreed on the Lea and Perrins... There is no other! :) I have to add Tone's Italian Seasoning. While it may be cheap, there's just no substitute for the way it tastes, with its addition of a few tiny pieces of rosemary mixed throughout. It's generally the base for any Italian meat seasoning that I make at home.

              Recipes, Restaurants, Reviews and More - My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

            2. Good topic, here's my list:
              1. I'm a big fan of the "Roland" brand products, so I have a bunch of those: albacore tuna. They have both water and oil varieties. All of the Roland products are fairly priced and seem better quality.
              2. Roland nicoise olives, as well as other varieties
              3. Roland jarred red peppers
              4. Roland arborio rice
              5. Roland capers, and anchovies
              6. Muir Glen canned tomatoes, especially the fire roasted. LOVE these!
              7. Dunkin Donuts coffee (for a very mild cup of coffee)
              8. Melitta coffee
              9. Barilla pasta and their new (I think) dried tortellini. I like Barilla's dried better than most other brands fresh, at half the price.
              10. Steamfresh frozen vegetables (the kind you cook in the bag, in the microwave), all varieties. If you need to use frozen vegetables, these are noticeably better.
              11. Herdez salsa
              12. Orville Redenbacker "Tender White" microwave popcorn
              13. Thomas Sourdough English Muffins. I usually hate the sourdough taste, but these are quite good.
              14. Progresso Tomato Rotini, and Macaroni and Bean soups
              15. Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream
              16. Hebrew National beef hot dogs
              17. Western French dressing, nostalgic for me
              18. Mezzetti's (?) banana peppers
              19. Georgia Peach juice (I forgot the brand, but I know it's in the organic section)
              20. 15 bean soup packet (don't know the brand)

              13 Replies
              1. re: sophia519

                Great list. Love the Roland red peppers. Do they make pesto, by chance? (I've never seen it, if so.)

                Oh, and Eight O'Clock brand coffee is my favorite--costs half as much as Starbucks, Peet's, etc., and tastes better.

                1. re: Jeff C.

                  Eight O'Clock is one of the best coffees! I absolutely agree. I am always complimented on my coffee and people are surprised when they hear what brand it is.

                  1. re: Jeff C.

                    I am not sure if they make pesto. I'll take a look the next time I am there. They should have all of the Roland stuff together, so I could simply fill up the cart in one place!

                    1. re: sophia519

                      Yes they do, here is what it looks like
                      http://www.amazon.com/Roland-Pesto-23...

                      By the way, they don't make anything, they are importers.

                      They also sell quail eggs, cornichons, every Oriental sauce you every heard of, escargot, blue-green etc cherries for cocktails, lingonberries, truffles, pate; too bad their website is down. I go to a local small grocery just because they have extensive Roland products, although they keep moving them around!

                      \

                  2. re: sophia519

                    Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes have replaced San Marzano in my kitchen. They're that good.

                    One recent discovery of my own... Sabrett spicy brown mustard. Heaven. Not too spicy; will never go back to yellow French's after using this.

                    1. re: jim1126

                      I'm sure glad I posted this. You guys are reminding me of soooo many things I forgot to put on my original list. Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes, for instance. Used the diced ones to make shrimp creole the other night. 'Twas dee-VINE. (They're great in chili, too.) (And ANY pasta dish, naturally.)

                      1. re: Jeff C.

                        I just made a chicken paella with these yesterday. Played nice with the saffron, paprika and red/yellow bell peppers.

                      2. re: jim1126

                        I love their fire roasted tomatoes...I end up eating some straight from the can whenever I cook with them!

                      3. re: sophia519

                        Sophia, is the peach juice After the Fall brand? Curious.

                        1. re: sophia519

                          sophia, I'm not familiar with Roland brand. I'm on the west coast and I don't know that name. Where do you live? Where are Roland brands located or what store carries them?

                          1. re: eartha

                            In So Cal I see them at Smart & Final

                            1. re: eartha

                              I am afraid that I don't know which stores carry them. I live in WI and shop at a grocery store called "Woodman's." I've never looked for the brand in other states. You might check their website to see if there's any info.

                          2. DaVinci Brand Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                            All the Brianna's brand salad dressings

                            1. Best refried (pinto) beans: La Costena
                              Supremo Chihuahua cheese - but sliced from the deli, not prepackaged
                              And ditto on Eight O'Clock coffee.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: poppy1

                                I third the Roland brand jarred red peppers. There isn't a better brand out there.

                                1. re: poppy1

                                  BIG second on La Costena - Eat Nopal got me hooked on these. The black refritos are excellent too!