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Buy of the day: Skirt steak for $3/lb at PriceRite in Lynn

Karl S Aug 1, 2009 07:28 AM

Given all the loving comments I've made about the newer Market Basket stores north of Boston (Reading and Chelsea) of late, I thought I'd highlight another option for the frugal quality-oriented shopper: Price Rite, on the west side of the Lynnway just south of Blossom St. This store has been around for a year or two, but I've not been to it before. I've been to the Price Rites in the Rochester area (where it along with Tops acts as a counterpoint to the deservedly fabled Wegmans). They are not typical supermarkets - they are a halfway point between BJs/Costco and regular supermarkets. Things are not laid out in a overly rigorous way (so you will find canned butter beans in more than one aisle, different brands and prices). The store is immaculate, and the staff is friendly. Moreover, practically everyone passing in the aisles says hello to each other (I felt like I was back in college in Virginia) - well it was around 9AM on Saturday morning, not packed at all.

Anyway, they had a lot of Australian free range grass-fed skirt steak for $3/lb, which is a great deal. Skirt and hanger are the two cuts I don't care about select/choice/prime grade as I've not found it relevant to the quality of those cuts (otherwise, I avoid select for steaks; I hope people have noticed how most steak at decent prices these days is select, not choice). Grass fed is chewier, but these are chewy flavorful cuts like this growing up, and I am looking forward to them (I am one of those people who thinks beef filet is best given to the dog).

They have lots of great stuff, great deals: they don't have everything, but do check it out for yourself.

I live in Melrose, so I find the best way to get to that part of Lynn is to cross US1 via Essex Street in Saugus (the exit for Square One Mall), and continue on it to the small rotary at Cliftondale Square, turn left 270 degrees in the rotary, and continue on Lincoln Ave all the way to the Lynn line (passing Kane's Donuts on the way, of course), where Lincoln becomes Boston St. Continue on Boston Street until you hit a Y in the road where Boston tends left and Marion tends right near a vacant lot and industrial building: Marion flows into Federal St along the old GE campus and then Federal leads you to Common St. Take Common St until you hit Blossom St at the Orthodox church - go right on Blossom until you hit the Lynnway, turn right around Wendy's and it's on the right. You can take the Lynnway to Commercial to Common on the return via this route. (I only go through this detail because many people find they get lost in Lynn and it's actually an easy city to get around once you learn the best routes, as is so true for so much of this area.)

  1. threedogs Aug 1, 2009 08:02 AM

    Karl, I was living in Lynn for about 5 yrs (from Malden originally) and now Nahant - I do almost all my shopping at PriceRite, except for the Farmer's Market in the summer. (Try to get to Haymarket, but it's quite a trip for me these days). I save so much money... boneless chicken breast is always 1.99, with an occasional price markdown. Things like their own brand of yogurt, full fat mozzarella cheese are much cheaper. Added bonus for me is I save on gas, too.

    I'm not crazy about their produce - but they have a few things (like salad mix) that's way cheaper than other places, and once in a while they mark down stuff even more.

    1 Reply
    1. re: threedogs
      Karl S Aug 1, 2009 08:04 AM

      The greens are meh. But the fruits and non-green produce on the whole looks good.

    2. a
      ac106 Aug 1, 2009 05:02 PM

      I took a trip from cambridge just to check it out. Makes me want to move to Lynn. Well... maybe not.

      BUT the prices are incredible. Skirt and Flank 2.99/lb. Flank is nearly triple that at the local Shaws. whole beef tenderloin 4.99/lb limes 8/1.00 (Haymarket price). Semi-boneless leg of lamb 4.99 or some foolishness.

      I went to get some skirt and left with $150 worth of stuff. Some things are actually cheaper then Market Basket! Place rocks

      1. 9
        9lives Aug 2, 2009 02:45 PM

        That's a great deal; almost worth me renting a car for..:) Skirt and hangar have become my "go to" steaks; along with the flap steak..uncut steak tips. Even the "select" flap that I bought in the Asian market in Lynn was a great tasting and textured meat.

        1. opinionatedchef Aug 4, 2009 12:29 AM

          o.k. karl, i'm headed there later today. Though "you had me" with your first sentences, it was the beef filet/dogfood comment that clinched my feeling simpatico with you!

          now karl, i possibly have a tip for you. After your next Pricerite trip, make sure to swing by La Fe on union St. for their best takeout: succulent roast pork, rice w/ pigeon peas, habichuelas(beans) and molondrone (okra). The latter three freeze really well(the pork too , if it's mixed with the okra or the saucey beans); we stock up a few times a year!

          7 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef
            threedogs Aug 4, 2009 05:14 AM

            Yes - La Fe!! I've only had the deep fried patties, they were yummy. Plus, eventually they are opening up another one in the plaza right near Price Rite. It's been taking practically forever - now they have the sign up, so hopefully it won't be much longer.

            It's been awhile since I've been to La Fe - but one thing that was weird when I was there was there was no prices on the menu (on the wall). Always wondered if they gave gringos like me a different price.. hehe - my meat patties were all of $1.25 each... going to break the bank. ;-). Seriously, this is a great chow destination.

            I need to make another visit there - in fact, Union St. in Lynn would be a great chowhound crawl destination. There's at least one Cambodian restaurant - maybe two. Haven't tried them yet. Way down the other end of Union (near Chestnut St.) is a decent little Ban Mi place, too.

            1. re: threedogs
              galangatron Aug 4, 2009 11:03 AM

              what is the name of the cambodian restaurant on union street?

              1. re: galangatron
                threedogs Aug 4, 2009 11:18 AM

                I don't know. I will check the next time I drive down there, though. There might be two, if I remember correctly (I seldom do, though, ha). There's a couple of small Hispanic grocery stores, too - Union St. is a good example of Lynn's diverse population. Very cool.

                1. re: threedogs
                  opinionatedchef Aug 4, 2009 12:31 PM

                  cool for food but really gross/filthy.
                  galangatron, i'm headed there soon; i'll look for the names. but i know if you search lynn and cambodian you will find them.there were a couple of lynn/ethnic restnt threads in 07 or 08 i think.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    e
                    El Guapo Aug 4, 2009 01:37 PM

                    Its been a few months since I was in Lynn ( I used to work there) but I don't remember any Cambodian restaurants on Union. There was a Vietnamese place, across from Caruso's Pizza, and the Banh Mi place further up. There are some Cambodian markets on Essex. Also, don't forget Mi Guatemala bakery on Union, a few doors down from La Fe. I miss stopping there on my way to work for some warm rolls.

                    1. re: El Guapo
                      galangatron Aug 4, 2009 02:02 PM

                      i haven't been to union street in well over a year but i don't remember a cambodian restaurant either

                      the only two cambodian restaurants i know about in lynn are mittapheap on western ave and golden lake restaurant on bennett street near GE. there is also pholly express on western ave but it's more of a banh mi shop with a few prepared foods than an actual restaurant

                      the only asian restaurants i know on union street are pho minh ky (the vietnamese place across from caruso's pizza) and cali sandwich (the banh mi shop further down the street). perhaps the poster is mistaking one of them for a cambodian restaurant

                      1. re: galangatron
                        threedogs Aug 4, 2009 03:50 PM

                        You might be right - I was just going on what a friend of mine told me.

                        Only places I ever went to myself, are La Fe and the ban mi place - didn't know the name, but I've been there a couple of times.

                        The OP is right about Union St., though. There are some really interesting food places, but apart from that, it is a sad part of Lynn. You don't want to walk down there at night, by any means (although I've walked there in the past during the day with no problems).

          2. almansa Aug 4, 2009 06:08 PM

            Am I the only hound who sees skirt steak for $3/lb and says, "icky?" Sometimes food costs more or less for good reasons. Ok, it's probably not the end of the world: it's likely from a 2 year-old frozen inventory of select or no-roll skirts that are finally beginning to move due to increased awareness of budget cuts. Full Disclosure: my wholesale cost of skirt steaks is $11.99/lb. You compare.

            3 Replies
            1. re: almansa
              Karl S Aug 5, 2009 02:32 AM

              Actually, mine have been delicious. If you read my OP, you will notice that I said that I have found the issue of beef grade (select vs choice) not very salient to the quality of naturally chewy cuts such as skirt steak as compared to most other cuts. YMMV.

              1. re: Karl S
                almansa Aug 5, 2009 04:23 AM

                I actually tried to delete my post after rereading yours and somehow failed. It must be some sort of karmic punishment. I apologize. You are quite right that grade is not so much a factor in skirt steak as that cut is buried in fat regardless. And Aussie beef is a different story altogether.

                1. re: almansa
                  Karl S Aug 5, 2009 05:39 AM

                  OK. And grass-fed Aussie beef is leaner, not as fatty as American skirt steak. They instruct you to cook it about 10F less than would be typical for our meat. I did a dry rub for 4 hours, and then added some bitter orange for another 4 hours, and grilled to rare (the thinner ends cooked to medium - I didn't butterfly it for even thickness). Anyway, for about the price of ground beef, I had delicious steak.

                  They also offered boneless rib roast at a steal - also grass-fed, Aussie beef. I did not choose that because the skirt cut was an even better deal and the issue of lack of marbling less of an issue.

            2. opinionatedchef Aug 7, 2009 09:33 PM

              we finally got there late today (8:30pm) and there were no skirt steaks,, fyi. We're going to call before we go next time. Apparently Kenny is the head of the meat dept and he's in in the mornings.

              6 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef
                itaunas Aug 8, 2009 05:56 AM

                Hilltop also often has skirt steaks (largely no-roll beef) for $2.99 too, sometimes they have it for less. I think that its important to be able to choose beef cuts and between steaks themselves. Sale meat can be murky waters (particularly when you see a $.75/$1.50 off today -- which could be old, or the butcher really hacked the meat), but a lot of the circular sales are loss-leaders to get you into the store (such as the person above that went for $3 steak and spent $150). And if you are picky enough you can find something that has a bit of marbling, is tender even if its choice... or something that can be prepared so that its palatable even if starts life on the lean side or a bit tough. One other advantage is sometimes different cuts are available -- a sale on strip steaks, might be bone-in instead of boneless and sometimes they are less trimmed so you portion and leave fat as desired (Johnnie's a couple of times a year do sales on whole pieces of flap meat which are not trimmed, I have gotten thick steaks which could be cut crosswise for nice 10-12oz portions). In any case, I have found some interesting things recently: some really nicely marbled pork at Johnnie's for Tonkatsu, really tender and marbled sirloin tips/flap meat from hilltop (grilled with just coarse salt).

                It is worth a trip to this Price Rite, as they do have some unusual offerings. They have some meat cuts which supermarkets (and many butchers don't carry), like coulotte which I have bought there (unfortunately it was severly denuded). And Demoula's tends to mark up some cuts in Chelsea which are popular with latinos, which are less at the Price Rite (oxtail as an example). They also have a huge selection of Mexican cheeses, different sizes of tortillas, although I would give Demoula's the edge for the cheese as they have more varities whereas Price Rite just carries a couple of large manufacturers like Tropico. (There are a few bodega's along Karl's route which might be a better bet for cheeses, although may be named with salvadoran or south american names instead of mexican, etc)

                OC that La Fe near the Price Rite hasn't opened yet? Any idea whats missing as its looked pretty ready for a while?

                1. re: itaunas
                  opinionatedchef Aug 8, 2009 09:56 PM

                  itaunas, it was dark when we went so i didn't notice. will hopefully be going back soon when they get in a new deliv. ,and i can look then.

                  1. re: itaunas
                    opinionatedchef Aug 8, 2009 09:59 PM

                    "coulotte" is 'skirt' in french; might that be what the cut is?

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      almansa Aug 9, 2009 04:50 AM

                      The coulotte is the dorsal muscle on the top sirloin.

                      1. re: almansa
                        Karl S Aug 9, 2009 04:57 AM

                        Is that what is labelled "sirloin cap" at Price Rite?

                    2. re: itaunas
                      threedogs Aug 10, 2009 02:33 PM

                      I've been wondering about that new La Fe location myself. They've taken months to get it ready. I'd def prefer to use that location rather than Union St. (never had a problem with anyone bothering me on Union - but someone younger might...)

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