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Jun 18, 2008 07:32 AM

Best Costco buys for cottage? [moved from Ontario board]

So I went out and bought a Costco membership because I was told it's a great place to stock up on staples (and more) when you're cottage bound. I have to admit to being a bit overwhelmed by the gargantuan containers and industrial size packages of meats etc. But I know there must be some great options there - plus I just forked over $55 and I have to justify this memership. So do CHers have some favourite Costco buys worth picking up? Thanks!

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  1. The hummus is an amazing deal. For just over five bucks you get two huge containers of that really good stuff in the yellow tubs.... I totally forget what it's called. But it's awesome. Especially if you eat it at the rate I do...
    oh also. the cheese is a good deal.
    and the fresh salmon and trout.
    the fresh salsa in the cooler section is amazing.

    1. Stock up on plastic wrap, ziplocs and just portion out those big packages of hamburger, pork tenderloins, sausages, etc. Most warehouses sell a $20 bag of frozen shrimp that's a true bargain. Do some unit/comparison pricing and you'll quickly see the savings. Quality and savings--what's not to like?

      1. I always go through the cookware aisles. There are always one or two clearance buys (something they can't send back to a distributor) . Two Staub casseroles for $129; sets of mixing bowls $10 to $20.; large maple chopping board $20. rice cooker $20. and so on. The Staubs easily covered my membership, and I'd buy it again if it came back in.
        The clearance things end in $.97 and have an asterisk on the price sign.

        As for food, stock up on essentials on your way: 20lb bag of russets (they are steak house size); mussels for a Sat. meal; strip loins; rice, flour, canned goods; dairy products; cheese especially Reggiano; frozen dry pack scallops, ( get some free ice from their seafood kiosk, or the Coke machine in the food court, take a cooler, which they probably sell); knockwurst; roast chicken; fresh chicken; thick cut steaks and chops etc.

        Good prices for paper plates etc.; batteries, whether for flashlights or a boat; outdoor equipment including camping and gardening...
        Their seasonal things are always one full season ahead, so at this time they may start to clear summer clothing, bicycles, outdoor items. I always set aside an hour to browse, early in the week if possible, and I'm always amazed at how much I spend. I don't worry too much because the return policy is longlasting and flexible.

        1. Go check out the meat section. The large quantities are perfect for feeding the masses at the cottage. The baby back ribs are excellent and incredibly well priced. And the 6-packs of good quality striploins or ribeyes are perfect for the grill.

          As mentioned above, the Kirkland products are very good. The nuts, in particular, I find a spectacular value. The big tubs of cashews are full of large, fresh, salted cashews for about 1/3 the price of buying them elsewhere, and for baking, the unsalted almond, pecans and walnuts are great. The bakery section is another good area to explore for cottage staples. Breads, muffins, sweets. Ace Bakery breads, as well.

          14 Replies
          1. re: TorontoJo

            Ahhh! Please no meat from Costco for me.

            They have a caesar salad that should be able to feed 6 at least. Chips and junk food comes in huge "feed 6-8" bags too. Other than that, I really wouldn't venture too far into their food catalogue... I foolishly decided to try their sushi once and it was a miserable, disgusting experience that left me writhing to this day. If you are thinking about a huge BBQ, think twice about the meat from Costco... cheap always comes at a steep price.

            However, like everyone here has said, the nuts are a bargain.

            1. re: abscissa

              Odd, I've always found their meat to be excellent, well trimmed and Choice Grade,

                1. re: abscissa

                  Come on, abscissa. Reverse snobbery not your thing? Costco meat has vastly better QC than Loblaws or any other chain grocer. YMMV but I've never gotten a bum steer(pun intentional)from Costco--ever.

                  1. re: abscissa

                    I asked about the sushi trays one day. They are made the day before in Q.C.
                    They use smoked salmon, and pre-cooked shellfish rather than fresh. They rarely have tuna, though it's on the card. Quality about the same as Loblaws, so I take a pass, when there is good takeout near me at Aoyama if I call ahead.

                    But what is your complaint about meat, abscissa? The quality level is Canada AAA from Alberta or Ontario, and they demand the best from the suppliers, with enormous buying power and ability to pay. As Kagemusha says, the Q.C. is exceptional for a large organization, possibly due to morale and pay rates.

                    1. re: jayt90

                      The meat quality at Costco is great, way better than no frills and pricechopper (of course!), loblaws and even dominion.

                      1. re: cakesncookies

                        Obviously I am in the minority on this one. It may be the paranoid in me wondering how meat can possibly be raised to pander to the masses... considering a flank steak at Whole Foods can go for $30. Maybe I am just spoiled by Bruno's.

                        But one thing is for certain... the meat isn't even in the same league as No Frills etc. I always thought that the meat at No Frills was for decoration... people actually buy it?

                        1. re: abscissa

                          Have to agree witht he masses Ab.
                          I buy my meat at Costco whenever possible.


                          1. re: abscissa

                            Yes, quite a few people city can't afford to shop at Whole Foods and actually buy their meat at No Frills.

                            1. re: abscissa

                              Hey abscissa, I'm a big Bruno's fan myself and get most of my meat there (I think we probably even go to the same one at Avenue and Joicey). But have you tried a steak from Costco? They really are very good -- well marbled and well trimmed. And for cottaging or a big bbq party, you can't beat the quality to price ratio.

                              1. re: abscissa

                                Did it ever occur to you that the reason flank steak at Whole Foods is $30 is because you are being ripped off by huge markups? You can pay full price for a book at Barnes and Noble or get it for 40% less at Amazon, but it is still the same book.

                            2. re: jayt90

                              The sushi was a mistake as evidenced by its short stay in the Mississauga/Brampton warehouses. The fact it was swiftly dropped and never returned told me management was wide awake. Contrast that with Loblaws awful sushi stands that crank out stuff no one buys.

                            3. re: abscissa

                              abs, you must have had some very very bad luck in the meat you got, Most Costco shoppers rave about the meat, and by the way it is in no way that cheap compared to meat sales elsewhere.

                              1. re: malibumike

                                I'm in Mi and over the last several months meat quality at Costco here has been sinking like a rock and their prices have steadilly gone up. I've seen strip loins more than a few times recently as much as $2 a pound more than the other local butchers. I've seen flank steak at Costco more than NY strip and rib eyes and other shops. The Costco butchers here are complete hacks. They also cut the steaks here in mongo portions.
                                Things I do buy;

                                Lamb Chops
                                Lamb Roast
                                Trail MIx
                                Paper Towels
                                Bottled water
                                Columbus brand sliced turkey breast
                                Cottage Cheese
                                Organic Eggs
                                Zip Lock bags
                                Coleman natural hot dogs
                                Kowalski stadium dogs
                                Boudin Sourdough

                          2. The ribeye steaks, whole pork roasts and the burgers are my favorites from the meat dept. always good quality and fairly priced but I agree, pick up some ziplocs for the freezer. Stay away from the sausages, I've found them to be really dry and have a sawdust texture to them. They carry a decent selection of cheeses and they are generally a fair bit cheaper than the grocery store, the St. Andre's and the old chedder (in the black box) are recommended IMHO. I agree that the frozen shrimps and scallops are a good bet as well.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: cheezy1

                              These are great - thanks. Would like to hear which other cheeses people find good. Also all those enormous sacks of pita and bagel chips and any cracker-like things you'd recommend? Many thanks,

                              1. re: sochow

                                Jarlsberg(block), Danish blue, Reggiano(best prices I've ever seen), and Woolwich goat cheese are "best buys." We usually hold a "Costco Dumb-ass Bargain" contest for non-food items. This quarter's winner was a $20 RC helicopter that put a friend's cat into therapy. Life's short...

                                1. re: sochow

                                  I don't cook much but when I go to Costco with my girlfriend who has a membership I always get some fresh mozzarella (other than steak and ribs). It's $7 for a big chunk and I also get a package of tomatoes as well. Comes in handy when I'm watching Top Chef or Hell's Kitchen and I'm craving something decent to eat that I can actually make! Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil (if there's any), salt, fresh pepper, olive oil... doesn't get any easier than that.

                                2. re: cheezy1

                                  Depends on what brand of sausage it is. Precooked ones, I find Aidell's to be excellent - very juicy. But the Amy Lu sausages are not as juicy and are in fact pretty dry.