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Oct 4, 2008 03:15 PM

Grocery Outlet, October '08

I dropped into the Berkeley store today and found some things I haven't seen (yet) at Oakland:

$3.99 Aidell's Charbroilers (chicken burgers, spicy bacon with blue cheese flavor) . I've had these before and like them.

$2.99 Chef's Gourmet chicken sausages with chipotle peppers. They also had a couple of flavors of an organic chicken sausage
3/$1 Horizon organic lowfat yogurt (six ounce containers, exp. 10/16)

99 cents 5.5 ounce can Starkist "gourmet choice" yellowfin marinated in olive oil and roasted garlic (ingredients yellowfin tuna, extra virgin olive oil, water, canola oil, salt, dehydrated garlic, roasted garlic, "other natural flavors" -- I popped it open and it's pretty good (but definitely garlicy).

$7.99 eight-packs of Starkist solid white albacore -- they were also putting out food-service-size cans that he said he thought were $6.99 -- enough to make tuna salad for a crowd!

$1.99 Krusteze muffin mix (several flavors) -- these are good quality mixes and they don't require that you add anything but water (unlike some where by the time you add your own eggs, oil, milk, etc, you might has well have done it from scratch).

In the candy aisle they had Joseph Schmidt chocolate bars -- milk chocolate hazelnut and milk chocolate caramel -- didn't see the price. Also, several different flavors of Starbucks truffles.

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  1. In Santa Rosa today:

    $2.99 Coleman organic chicken sausage – mild Italian. Deli definitely heavier on meat than cheese now.

    Freezer is packed with "natural" frozen foods including Amy's and Whole Foods (4 or 5 choices). I'd not seen latter there before. Big & boring frozen dessert choices unless you like So Delicious soy-based.

    Two types of Terra chips - blue jalenpeno and red bliss with garlic, olive oil and parm

    The flax crackers Melanie mentioned are still there for $.99 and tasty too. :)

    Candy aisle didn't have specialty bars like Lindt, Alter Eco or Scharfenberger. Still waiting for those $1 bars to show up again.

    Lots of Essn juice choices at $.99.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Columba

      did your store get the boxes of Scharf mini-bars? I'm still nursing the last box along.... $1.99 for box of twelve one-ounce bars

    2. from Oakland Grocery Outlet last Thursday, Oct 2:

      - Round Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2003, 750 ml, $2.99;

      - Kerrygold reduced fat aged cheddar from Ireland, $2.49 for 7 oz., really nice low fat cheddar with only 4 grams total fat per ounce (about 1/2 of regular) and best before date of Jan. 15, 2009;

      - Vitasoy Strawberry Banana organic soy milk w/organic banana & strawberry, 99 cents for a 32 oz. carton w/ Feb. 2009 best before date, I put it over cereal or fruit and, don't tell anyone, coffee. also chocolate flavor available;

      - Viride unfiltered organic extra virgin olive oil from Tratorria LIscheto in Italy, $4.99 for a 16.9 oz. bottle, note that it's past its best buy date of July 2008. haven't tried it yet but here's a link to the producer - ;

      - SoDelicious frozen vegan desserts, lemon or raspberry, $1.99 for a 32 oz. carton, from Turtle Mountain of Eugene, Oregon. mostly organic soymilk with fruit flavors. I really like the lemon.

      1. New superfood "Sun Shower" fruit and vegetable smoothies - .79!

        1. In Oakland today:

          $2.99 Coleman organic sausages (note: 9 oz. package, making these over $5/lb.) -- mild Italian and Spinach Feta in natural lamb casings. I tried the mild Italian last night and found it to be nicely flavored with a strong fennel seed note. The selection of sausages was excellent this week with the Chef's Gourmet, a couple of flavors of Aidells, and another brand.

          $1.29 8 oz. package Land O Lakes unsalted butter.

          $1.69 8 oz. brick Anchor butter from New Zealand, both salted and unsalted. This is a high butterfat content butter (83 percent, IIRC) with a clean, neutral taste -- excellent for baking.

          Speaking of baking, they had some nice Ecko baking pans: a 9x13 metal pan with a snap-on clear plastic lid, a 12-cup muffin tin and a tin that made six fluted mini-bundt cakes (well, not really, as the center just has a depression, not an actual tube). $4.99 each. They still have a good selection of various Hershey's baking pieces at $1.49/bag: mint chocolate chips, Reese's chips, toffee bits and Heath bar chips, so this is a good time to stock up if you're planning holiday baking.

          $3.99 20 oz bag of Smithfield real crumbled bacon. I'm almost ashamed to admit I bought these, but they're a handy convenience product when you just want to sprinkle them on something and they should last forever in the fridge ('I'll probably freeze some, though). Shelf stable until opening (purchase by 11/16/08).

          I'm also almost ashamed to say I bought produce -- I don't usually find the produce at Grocery Outlet to be very good quality or particularly reasonably priced (since they sell by the piece -- the checkstands don't have scales). But I walked in the door and saw:

          99 cents -- "medium" artichokes -- these were actually quite large and they were the good kind with thorns
          99 cents -- small head of cauliflower
          2/$1 red peppers
          69 cents russet potatoes
          99 cents 3 lb. bag of onions

          All of these were California grown (even though the sign said "Canada" for the peppers, the boxes they were in were from a local company -- I think they reused the sign for the hothouse BC peppers) and very fresh.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            San Pablo

            4 for $1 - Luna organic mint chocolate tea cakes
            99 cents - 2 frozen Stop & Save pie crusts
            1.29 - Libby's canned pumpkin pie mix 30 oz
            69 cents - Breakstone sour cream (8 oz)
            $1.29 - Grey Poupon mustard
            89 cents - Heinz no salt ketchup
            1.19 - Coeurs artichoke hearts 1.19
            2 for 89 cents - Tree top 100% juice Fruit Dimensions (blueberry/blackberry or black current/raspberry) 10 oz bottles
            1.99 - frozen strawberry Fruit Smiles (16 creme-filled chocolate covered strawberries)
            2.49 - Patty Jean natural rock Cornish game hens (frozen)
            5.99 - 3 pack Spam hot dogs

            While I wouldn't pay more than 25 cents for them, the Luna Tea Cakes weren't bad for a healthy snack ... they tasted healthy ... lots of oats in there ... but the mint and the little squiggle of icing ... not bad. Expired in Aug 08 ... still tasted fresh.

            Those pie shells and pumpkin pie filling are quite the deal. I think there is some sort of company making store-branded pie shells because over at Raley's their brand pie shells had the same ingredient list and were $2.89. The only difference seemed to be the store name. The Libby's pumpkin at Raley's was $3.49. So at GO you could have a pumpkin pie for $1.79 hot from your own oven. Both filling and crusts had a decent ingredient list.

            Those little Tree Top juices are quite good. I use them to make my own jello. I loved the blueberry. The currant was ok but I'll save it until pomegranates get cheaper and add some of those to the jello.

            Similarly sized artichoke hearts at Raleys were $3 - $5.

            Ok ... if they weren't a three pack, I would have gone for the Spam hot dog. The ingredient list wasn't bad. Yeah, I know they are just hot dogs made BY Spam and not made OF Spam ... but still ... it's funny and a sounds bad ... like Crisco olive oil.

            If I wasn't cutting down on the calories in anticipation of impending holiday goodies, I might have went for the Strawberry Smiles,. According to the package, these are hand-made ... a fresh strawberry filled in the center with cream and dipped in chocolate. Let sit at room temp for 5 minutes for optimal eating experience.

            A few thoughts about some other products from last month that might be still kicking around

            $1.99 - Sonoma Jack cheese cubes 8 oz (garlic, habanero, pesto, blue) Sell by Feb 02 09
            First, I saw this same cheese at Sonoma Market for $4.99. I like that blue. Best of the rest was the habanero. Garlic had ok garlic. Didn't like the pesto at all. It was bitter. Much better are the pieces of California Mission pesto jack. I really enjoyed that one.

            Ricotta salata from Italy (sheep’s whey) - awful

            Dofino chili-lime gouda - not good, not good ... really not good. You would think these flavors would go together ... the whole was ... not good. Nothing saved this. Not melting, not hiding it in food ... nothing, nada ... my rec ... skip.

            Good to hear about those Italian sausages. I had some peppers to use up and was too busy to travel far, so I bought Antonio's mild Italian sausage in the fresh meat section. Way too mild and the texture was like hot dogs ... and they weren't organic.

            Good deal on those onions. Thanks for calling attention to them since I don't pay much attention to the produce. They were in nice condition and less expensive than the local Mexican mercardos.

            1. re: rworange

              Could you please say more about what was "awful" about the ricotta salata?

              ETA: Wondering if anyone has tried the Stilton.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                It was really sour. Not spoiled, just sour. It was sort of ok in a green salad with a strong balsamic dressing to stand up to it.

                BTW, that wine you mentioned last month never made it to the San Pablo store.

                One thought about that pumpkin ... weren't large cans once 32 oz and not 30?

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I keep looking at the Stilton -- how bad can it be? I don't think the ricotta salata is terrible -- that cheese is supposed to be dry, salty and tangy/sheepy.

                  Yeah, as I said, the produce was in much better condition than it usually is. They must have gotten some good deals on end-of-the-growing-season surplus.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I've been through one package of the stilton and bought a second. Seems like a good time of year to mix it with fruit (figs, apples, pears) and veggies (chopped salads, crudites). I also spread it on crackers. It's softer than gorgonzola, closer to a brie or triple cream. So many blue choices now. Am enjoying the Sonoma blue jack now, but it isn't as versatile.

                    The stilton won't impress anyone who enjoys $25# cheese, but for feeding yourself at $7#, it's a bargain.

                    Here're more uses for blue cheeses

                    1. re: Columba

                      I had the stilton at a party and I agree with Columba. at $7 a pound, it was pretty good

                      1. re: Columba

                        As discussed in earlier Grocery Outlet threads, the Sonoma blue jack makes excellent cheese burgers since it slices and melts better than traditional blue cheeses. It also make great mac n cheese.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        I think the ricotta salata is of variable quality. The first time I bought it it was pretty good---dry, salty, and tangy/sheepy, as Ruth said. The second time, it was unpleasantly sour, like RW mentions. I think it just depends what batch you get.

                        1. re: Hunicsz

                          Ah, maybe it was going bad or mishandled. I've had icky ricotta salata in the past and I just put it in that category.

                          I finally tried the Ukranian fontina $4.99lb most pieces $2.25 lob sell by feb 11 09

                          What a lovely, lovely cheese. It made an excellent omelet. The stars lined up and I actually made an excellent omelet.

                          I guess the any cheese depends on how it is handled. I'd rather spend $4.99 and take a chance at GO than $10 - $20 plus for the mishandled cheese I bought way too many times at Whole Foods. Yes, I know I can take it back, but that is just too much a hassle. Next to try at GO, the goat milk cheddar. Anyone tried that?

                          1. re: rworange

                            I had the goat milk cheese awhile ago -- it's exactly what it sounds like -- goat cheese flavor with cheddar-like texture. I like goat cheese and I like cheddar, but not together. But try it, you may like it.

                2. Santa Rosa update:

                  Lots of sausages. So-so cheese. Olive medley for $1.99 back in deli. Chocolate at last Newman's organic sweet dark (plain, espresso & orange) and a couple of milk. 2 for $1 1.2 oz bars.

                  Even more "natural" choices in the freezer, must have a new agreement with WF.

                  Artichoke hearts are $1.49 jar, but very on 4th jar, seems to go with everything from salad to pasta to fritatta.

                  Ruth, try the blue jack on toasted cheese sandwiches or veggie melts.