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Dec 10, 2008 09:21 AM

best costco in the bay area?

there seems to be a difference from one costco outlet to the next. am curious as to which local costco people feel has the best selection. i usually go to the one in on 10th street in the city, but have noticed that the selection is sometimes lacking. Are there others south, east bay or in marin that are preferred?

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    1. re: wolfe

      selection in general - but specifically specialty items like cheeses, appetizers (not the frozen varieties), dips and spreads, smoked fish, artisan breads, and wines.

      1. re: lenox

        The South City location carries brisket. The SF Costco does not.

    2. I assume you're referring to food selection. In my experience, the Richmond Costco seems to have a somewhat better selection of high-end food (liter tubs of Fage yogurt, interesting cheeses during the holidays, etc.). The Mountain View Costco does as well.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        So does the SF Costco. I do a tub a week of the non-fat Fage (doesn't seem to do any good!). The cheese selections rotate, but they seem to have something new all the time. They may vary a bit from region to region, but they've got a bulk pricing model and a standard 110,000 sf footprint to work within. They can't be all things to all people, but I can't complain about the prices.

        1. re: Xiao Yang

          But only a handful of stores carry the Fage -- for example, the San Leandro store doesn't (and it has a gas station). The product mix does vary slightly from store to store depending on the clientele (actual or perceived). The clientele at the San Leandro store is much less yuppie than, for example, Danville or Mountain View.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            We also love the non-fat Fage; we get it every two weeks or so at the SF store. We came across spectacularly inexpensive chanterelles last month at the Foster City location ($8.99 / lb!), but I think we're coming close to the end of the season for them. Are they available at any of the other locations?

            1. re: drinkmoretang

              This old article suggests that the chanterelle season in the Santa Cruz Mountains is from September to April, depending on rain.
              Any Shroomers out there with more information?

              1. re: wolfe

                oh, that's helpful! i just blindly clicked the first link I saw, and had seen this one instead, also a dated article, but indicating a shorter season from the fall through December:


                In either case, though, I'd still love to be able to get my hands on some more while we still can!

                1. re: drinkmoretang

                  I see the problem. The rainy season in Oregon is very short, yes?

                2. re: wolfe

                  Yes chanttrelle season should be here. Porchini's are becoming more scarce.

                3. re: drinkmoretang

                  My daughter saw them the other day at the El Camino, SSF one but said they did not look that great. I like to buy them at Monterey Mkt in Berkeley and saute in butter then add to risotto with fresh peas. Yum.

                  1. re: drinkmoretang

                    Costco in Richmond had chanterelles on Thursday. Didn't really check them out, but they have ranged, over the years, from pretty much okay to damp and almost gooey.

            2. I've noticed that the bigger and fuller Costcos are the ones that have gas stations with them, so Sunnyvale and Daly City/Colma are south of SF's better bets, but a lot more crowded.

              8 Replies
              1. re: K K

                Costco uses a standard 110,000 square foot footprint for inside sales. (I used to work on Traffic Impact Reports for Costco sites.) If you think the SF Costco isn't crowded, I'd hate to see one that is.

                1. re: Xiao Yang

                  The SF Costco is crowded. The South SF store is more easier to get around in with much shorter checkout lines.

                  1. re: Paul H

                    best one is in Novato 94949. Check it out

                    1. re: Paul H

                      but its definetely not my imagination that the various stores carry different stock/ items? like the example of the fage yogurt above. and i've noticed that the SF 10th street location doesnt have the tzatziki dip or variety of cheeses (for example) i've seen in other stores.

                      1. re: lenox

                        The SF store carries the Tzatziki and has a wide variety of cheeses right now -- the cheese selection in all Costco's varies according to season, with Christmas/New Year's having the largest selection. The SF store also has wines that aren't sold at other stores -- the wine consultant there told me that. And the variety of artisan breads changes according to area with, for example, SF carrying Acme and El Camino (S.S.F.) carrying Semifreddi.The suburban stores carry more gardening, camping, outdoor cooking and pool stuff.

                        1. re: Nancy Berry

                          The other day I was in the El Camino one near Hickey and could not find Gruyere cheese and asked an employee and he said he'd never heard of it so I gave up. I could swear I'd gotten it there before. Any suggestions for where I can find it at a good price? (Making mac n cheese with that and cheddar.)

                          1. re: walker

                            Trader Joe's usually has gruyere. If they have any of their harissa-spiked cheddar, that makes excellent mac 'n cheese with a kick! The horseradish cheese at Costco is also good for that.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              Thanks -- I'll take a closer look next time at TJ -- it's hard to get through the swarm of people.

                2. For the Peninsula Mountain View is the best and in the South Bay I like Santa Clara one.

                  But for a large selection there is there is the Hayward Business center. Much more food and cooking supplies. The same size as most other stores but no books, clothes other non-business items. I would say double the footprint of food.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: yimster

                    People don't read down in the burbs? Actually, a lot lot of the books are cooking or food-related in SF. The EL Bulli Book, Keller's books, etc. show up at about 40-50% off retail.

                    1. re: yimster

                      Yimster, I agree with you. BTW: the S'Clara one has the El Bulli book but the Sunnyvale one does not.

                    2. The Livermore location seems to have a wider selection of items especially wine and clothing. Often times when I can't get what I want in Danville they have it in Livermore. They also have a gas station. Someone once told me that the Livermore store is a distribution center and because of that has an expanded selection. No idea if that is true or not but it seems plausible.

                      I believe that the larger wine selection stems from their location in Livermore wine country and they do have a nice selection of local wines. Wente wines are cheaper there than at the vineyard.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: baseballfan

                        Best wine selection (i.e. largest) is the Novato location.

                        1. re: baron45

                          I can imagine. I'll have to check it out next time I am up that way.