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Aug 31, 2010 06:23 PM

Are you a brand slave?

Which food brands are you committed to?
Can you eat another brand or would you just go without the food altogether?

For me, its splenda. I carry it with me, because if a coffee shop/breakfast restaurant doesnt have it, I just wont have my tea. I can't do the sweet and low, twin sugar, etc.

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    1. re: Quine

      Me too, until I heard that Wegmans store brand beat Helmans in a blind taste test. If you're lucky enough to be in Wegmans territory, try it : same taste, save $1/qt!

      1. re: WNYamateur

        +1 for Wegman's products. Their mustards are fantastic and a great deal too. I also love the Wegman's brand Fresca.

        1. re: WNYamateur

          Totally agree that Wegmans is better than Hellmans. But DUKE beats them both. Yessssss.

        2. re: Quine

          On another topic a poster mentioned Miracle Whip and then said that he prefered 'REAL' mayo ie Hellmans. Now don't get me wrong, Hellmans is fine for a bought product in a jar but surely REAL mayo is the stuff you make at home with an e yolk, mustard etc
          Is this being OTT snobby?

          1. re: justlizikaria

            Not to me. If I use mayonnaise in something, which is rare, I make my own.

        3. Provided that a brand delivers for me, I will go with it. Now, if another gives me the same results, I do not have an issue changing. However, when I find something that I really, really like, I will stick with it, as long as it is produced. Then - I will try to move on.


          1. Coca Cola...Coke. I will never drink a Pepsi. Never. I'm from Atlanta, home of Co-Cola. I got seriously annoyed recently cause Costco switched from Coke to Pepsi for their food court or whatever it's called. When we get the retirees' cheap hot dog and soda, I make a BIG deal about the switch and huff and puff when I get water :)

            20 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              I am the exact opposite - Pepsi only for me, no Coke, ever.

              1. re: jeanmarieok

                I'm not sure I'd call myself a brand slave. but I do have preferred brands of a lot of things, one I like enough that I will go out of my way to get my hands on them and often will go without rather than substitute. This can on ocassion cause a little cofusion in some stores, particualry if the item is an "ethnic" one, As a lot of ethnic supermarkets don't stock any brand of a lot of items particualry, waht they have is basically whatever brand happened to be availabe and was the best price, and (based on the reaction I get) few, if any of theyre customers seem to mind this (maybe they're more used to tinkering with recipies or are so grateful that there is somewhere that carries the item that the don't feel it's right to be picky. For example there is a kind of baked cheese snack I make that requires two Greek cheeses Manouri and Kefalotyri (preferred) or Kefalograviera (in a pinch). When I go to Yarranush, they usally have a few brands of each, and it always seems to baffle them a little that I specify brand (I like Byzantino for the Manouri, and the other one has to be Roussos (at least now that the stores that carries Olympus no longer do so) even when one of the others is a better deal. But I have my reasons as many of the others just dont work, they're too salty, or have that acetone like taste sheep cheeses can get or in the case of one Tyri brand, cause my stomach great pain. At least the good thing is that most Greek cheeses are salted enough that so long as you dont open the package they have refrigerator lives of many months, so when they do have the right kind in, it is possible to stock up against lean times (I do the same thing there with Haloumi, I wait till they get in the CheeseEU brand, then pick up 8-10 blocks and keep them in the downstairs fridge.

                1. re: jumpingmonk

                  Cheese brands/producers are important to me too, jumpingmonk.

              2. re: c oliver

                Only Coke, won't touch Pepsi. But in particular I started drinking Coke Zero a year back, and can't even go back to Diet Coke now. Funny though, many places in US don't stock Coke Zero, it seems ubiquitous in Australia.

                1. re: ozinboz

                  i like coke zero, but it is not as fizzy as regular coke. ;-(.

                  my aunt martha, when she lived in atlanta (and anywhere else in the south) would only drink coke from the original LITTLE bottles. she wouldn't even drink coke from another kind of bottle -- she said that it didn't taste the same.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    well some things don't. Back when I drank the Lipton bottled iced tea regularly (the green version with the honey) it had to come from the glass bottles, not the helf gallon orange juice box size, the latter tasted chemically to me. Similarly there is a brand of Goat gouda I like to snack on that one of my stores sells in both a version packed in cryovac and a version wrapped in ordinary plastic. once again one tastes umpleasant but in this case it's the cellophaned one (the one that is presumably sliced in store.) , also at least to me Phadelphia cream cheese in the bar form tastes totally different from in the tub (I like the bar)

                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                      oh, the tub cream cheese "spread" has more vegetable gums to make it spreadable! that's why it is better to make your own cream cheese-combos (i love veggie cream cheese).

                    2. re: alkapal

                      When I visited a Mexican restaurant in Corona, NY, I noticed they had both "normal" Coke and "Mexican" Coke on the menu. I asked what the difference was and they said that the Mexican Coke didn't have high fructose corn syrup in it, and used cane syrup instead. It came in glass bottles. A visit to some nearby delis confirmed that they seemed to sell these special versions of Coke in glass bottles.

                        1. re: ozinboz

                          I don't know if it's across the country, but on the Left Coast, Wal-Mart and Costco sells Mexican Coca-Cola.

                        2. re: alkapal

                          The wife of one Canada's prime ministers - who held the job for a very short time - was infamous for throwing fits on Air Canada if she didn't get her Coke fix from the small bottles instead of cans.

                          I've never tested this, but I just feel that Coke in plastic bottles never gets as cold in the fridge as Coke in cans or glass bottles. I'll drink it, but it never tastes as good as a can pulled out of bucket of ice water.

                          1. re: FrankD

                            I would have guessed Maggie Trudeau, but it can't be.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Nope, you're both wrong. Mrs. Geills Turner.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Only Coke, only "Mexican" coke (or Kosher--i.e. real sugar, not HFCS), and only from a glass bottle (preferably--I'll take a can if its absolutely all I can get, NEVER a plastic bottle). Of course, I only drink soda 3 or 4 times a year, so I can afford to be persnickety.

                            2. re: ozinboz

                              I was recently in a company meeting with Coca Cola of Croatia and heard an explanation of this. In many parts of Europe, only one diet product is available- Coke Zero. In these areas, pop is still considered a novelty or treat and people feel the need to do it "right." Products like Coke Zero are rarely consumed but, when they are, it is ually as an alternative to the original for people who can't drink the original for whatever reason.

                              There, we also found it very interesting that it was much more expensive to drink pop than beer (or most other alcoholic beverages), it truly is a beverage for kids/teens and plays a very different role in diets.

                            3. re: c oliver

                              Oh no, both Coke and Pepsi for me but they are NOT interchangeable, as stupid restaurants seem to think. When I feel like Coke, I want Coke, not Pepsi and vice versa. I hate places that will give you the other without even asking.

                              1. re: hillsbilly

                                Why, that's like thinking Scotch Whiskey and Kentucky Bourbon are interchangeable! Horrors!

                                ; D

                                1. re: hillsbilly

                                  Ususally their soda gun system is installed by one or the other, so they can only have one brand. Unless they are selling cans, then you may be in luck. But at a restaurant, I want soda from the fountains.

                                  1. re: hillsbilly

                                    Pepsi drinkin' Slavegirl checking in to agree 100% w/ hillsbilly. I want what I ask for, not necessarily what you interpret that as. And I'm not knocking RC per se, but if they bring me that, it's even worse than Coke.

                                2. There are only a few items which we reference by name or symbol and only buy by brand like Sriracha or Huy Fong sambal oelek. Dreamfields low carb pasta takes up a lot of space in my cupboard, but then again, they have cornered the market. I've tried off-brand cereals, but they have never been much good. Pretty much everything else I'm willing to go generic if need be.

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: JungMann

                                    There's a brand of sriracha called Sriracha? Where is it made?

                                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                                        Know the sauce well but always thought sri racha was the generic name. The one most of us here in NA seem to end up with is the Huy Fong brand pictured in Zen's link, but I have at least two others in my fridge. I was curious about JungMann's reference to the "brand like Sriracha"

                                        1. re: grayelf

                                          Ah. Sorry, I had translated "Sriracha or Huy Fong sambal oelek" to "Huy Fong Sriracha or sambal oelek".

                                          On the other hand I can see where someone just looking at the label might think "Sriracha" was the brand on a bottle of hot chili sauce. It does seem to be the ubiquitous brand (Huy Fong I mean) here in the states, kind of like Jello becoming the generic name for all flavored gelatin; in this case its that rooster that's become the iconic identifier rather than the brand name itself.

                                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                                            Kind of like the old dude on the Longevity condensed milk, or the squid or the baby on the fish sauce :-).

                                            I was mildly horrified when I realized not too long ago that the rooster brand is made in the US, Rosemead CA to be specific.

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              Yeah, apparently it's not quite the same recipe as used in Thailand. I don't know if it's because of something FDA required about the manufacturing process or just different availability of ingredients/preservatives here.

                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                Huy Fong Sriracha was created in California by a Vietnamese immigrant of Chinese ancestry who wanted to mimic what he used to have in Viet Nam


                                        2. re: grayelf

                                          I meant the Huy Fong sriracha. The rooster really does seem to dominate the brand as Zen said. In college we knew it as "crazy cock sauce."

                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                              I didn't mean to be pedantic, I really wanted to know. And double LOL on the CCS, JungMann.

                                              The reason I have several sriracha variants in the fridge is that I recently did a taste comparo. We have a local blogger who is a Thai national and he was waxing rhapsodic about the "real" thing. I'm going to blow my CH cred all to hell but I think I like the CCS the best.

                                            2. re: JungMann

                                              isn't the rooster sriracha the original "sriracha" that was created in california by a vietnamese ex-pat? (not that sriracha -- the place -- itself doesn't have similar thai chili-based sauces).

                                              >>>"""For Mr. Tran, of Chinese heritage but born in Vietnam, neither sriracha-spiked hollandaise nor sriracha-topped tacos with kimchi translate easily.

                                              “I made this sauce for the Asian community,” Mr. Tran said one recent afternoon, seated at headquarters, near a rooster-shaped crystal sculpture.

                                              “I knew, after the Vietnamese resettled here, that they would want their hot sauce for their pho,” a beef broth and noodle soup that is a de facto national dish of Vietnam. “But I wanted something that I could sell to more than just the Vietnamese,” he continued.

                                              “After I came to America, after I came to Los Angeles, I remember seeing Heinz 57 ketchup and thinking: ‘The 1984 Olympics are coming. How about I come up with a Tran 84, something I can sell to everyone?’ ”

                                              What Mr. Tran developed in Los Angeles in the early 1980s was his own take on a traditional Asian chili sauce. In Sriracha, a town in Chonburi Province, Thailand, where homemade chili pastes are favored, natives do not recognize Mr. Tran’s purée as their own."""<<<<


                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                "Sriracha (Thai: ศรีราชา [sǐrātɕʰā]) is the name for a Thai hot sauce named after the seaside city of Si Racha, in the Chonburi Province of central Thailand, where it was first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. It is a paste of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. The puree pronounced /sɪˈrɑːtʃə/ is primarily produced by Huy Fong Foods[1] and is different from the Thai paste from which it takes its name."

                                                "The first mass marketed Thai-produced Sriracha, and widely regarded as the original, is made by Sriracha Panich (Thai: ศรีราชาพานิช)[4]. Sriracha Panich was eventually taken over by the Thai Theparos Food Products Public Company Limited of Thailand which continues to market the sauce under the label "Golden Mountain Sriracha Panich". Panich is Thai for commercial."

                                                So yes, it's diffferent than the stuff made in Thailand, and no, it's not the "original" Sriracha sauce, unless you are ignoring all versions of sriracha made outside the US and pre-dating the foundation of Huy Fong Foods in the US.

                                                1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                  >>>"""(not that sriracha -- the place -- itself doesn't have similar thai chili-based sauces)."""<<<

                                                  and thanks for quoting the wikipedia; you might want to cite it, though. < i notice, too, that many blogs quote it without accreditation, and many note the "city" of sriracha -- which isn't correct, as far as i can tell. also notably, the sauce is often cited for use on "meats" when it was probably focused -- in that area -- on seafood, since it is right there on the water.>

                                                  i wonder when the first commercial use of the name was done in thailand?

                                                  >>""If you've seen this fiery Asian chili sauce in Asian supermarkets, and likely in North America the brand you've seen is the Huy Fong "Rooster" Sriracha sauce, the bottle in the picture shows the Golden Mountain version of the widely-regarded original version of Sriracha. Sriracha Panich (panich means "commercial" in Thai), now called Golden Mountain Sriracha Panich"""<<<

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    I "cited" it at the beginning of this thread somewhere.

                                          1. re: JungMann

                                            Huy Fong makes a variety of sauces. We like the Vietnamese Chili Garlic sauce better than the Sriracha. It'w the one with the seeds.

                                            BTW, a few years back there was a load of knockoff Huy Fong product smuggled in from China.

                                          2. Brand slave? Absolutely. Dukes. Thomas'. Penzeys. Tabasco. Lea & Perrins. Nellie & Joes. Ben and Jerry's. Goya .Stubbs. Heinz. Dunkin Donuts. Mission. Mancini. Vigo. La Costena. Goya. Jumex. Lenders. Angostura. Cabot. Vita. Giovanni's. Pepperidge Farm. Land O Lakes. Tecate. El Yucateco.
                                            Just warming up. Don't most of us have favorites for most stuff?

                                            31 Replies
                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                Frozen bagels from West Haven, CT. A hound chewed me out only this morning for my daily habit of a Lenders onion bagel with cream cheese, Vita smoked salmon, and Goya capers.

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  With a little chopped red onion, that sounds like a perfect breakfast to me.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    LOL yes, I know what Lenders is. Since you seem to have such good taste, I wondered how Lenders slipped in there. 8>D

                                                    Not a big fan. I see no difference between their bagels and Thomas's bagels. But cover one with cc, salmon, and capers (and red onion), and you could do a lot worse.

                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                      DS is big on the Thomas's bagels. Big time. They're the only ones he wants.

                                                      1. re: JerryMe

                                                        I'll give the Thomas' a try. That and Lenders is about all that's available in this part of Florida, it's a wasteland for bakeries and jewish delis around here. I grew up in CT and knew a few of the Lenders so I tend to patronize their product.

                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                          veggo, try publix's freezer section -- there is a pretty decent NY BAGEL there (at least there was in my store in n. ft. myers). it is less bready than so many grocery store offerings. i think the name might even be "NY BAGEL".

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            It is indeed Ray's New York Bagel. My sister claims it's the closest grocery store bagel she's found to what she used to be able to get from the bakery down the street when she lived in Queens.

                                                            1. re: beachmouse

                                                              cool! i thought they were quite nice myself, and i'm glad you've confirmed the name and quality.

                                                              the shelf-stable bagels are always WAY too bready for me. i like a lean and chewy bagel. the frozen "ny bagels" at publix toast up really nicely, too.

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                Thanks. I'll be on the lookout as I'm down to my last Lenders as I wait for the occasional buy one get one free at Publix. I hope the hound who chewed me out doesn't notice this.

                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                  What was the basis of the chewing out? The brand or the bagel? We're finally out of the two dozen we brought back from NYC a year ago. We really were quite frugal with them. This thread reminded me that H&H does mailorder so I went to their site. Two dozen bagels would be $28. Okay, that's about what they are in the store. But the shipping would be $59!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think I'll be ordering any. Maybe I'll see if we have Lender's here. I'm certainly familiar with the brand name.

                                                              2. re: beachmouse

                                                                Yes, Ray's NY bagel is the only frozen bagel I buy!

                                                            2. re: Veggo

                                                              Veggo, Are you in Sarasota area? If so, there is a good boiled not steamed bagel bakery on S. 41, Tamiami Trail.

                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                osprey, do you recall it's name? I would like to try fresh again. I'm near Sarasota.
                                                                CO, I was read the riot act about the calorie and carb count of the bagel and cream cheese, as a % of a recommended daily diet. I said every 2000 calorie journey must begin with a first bite. It didn't fly.

                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                  Veggo, South 41, it was a a franchised bagel place now it is called "Lox & Eggs. Just south of Bee Ridge Road on the east (left) side of the street. Get there in the A.M. as it closes after lunch and he usually sells out of the popular bagels (rye, poppy, whole wheat(several varieties of WW) , everything, etc. They make a taylor ham, egg and cheese on the bagel of your choice....Excellent!!!!!

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    But probably not much sugar :) And there are the health benefits from the lox, the onion and, of course, the capers can be considered a green vegetable. I looked at Safeway for Lenders today but they had no frozen bagels.

                                                                    I'd rather have a colorful and shorter journey than a long and boring one :)

                                                          2. re: Veggo

                                                            I like Lender's onion bagels as well. It's the only bagel I'll go out of my way to buy.

                                                            Fresh "deli" bagels may be better but they're generally too hard to find and not necessarily all that fresh once I do find them. Lenders are good enough for me.

                                                            Other than that, there's no particular brand I insist on, though there are some I'll avoid.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              why would someone chew you out for that??

                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                She thinks my diet is too rich and I should be eating oatmeal. But this morning was onion bagel, smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, and I have at least 4 more days of inventory.

                                                            2. re: Bob W

                                                              ha! that was the one thing that jumped out at me someone who was raised on real NYC bagels, the idea of eating a Lender's bagel is horrifying :) and i've gotta say, i could never stomach that packaged Vita smoked salmon either...sorry Veggo!

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                It's a deli wasteland here on the Florida gulf, and the pizza is even worse.
                                                                But I'm compensating with great grouper and shrimp at obscenely low prices, and stone crab season opens in 11 days.
                                                                Is the Vita salmon really that bad? I'm laughing because I eat quite a lot of it, and the pickled herring, also.

                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                  it's been many years since i had either. i do recall thinking the herring was passable in a pinch, but i couldn't eat the smoked salmon. i'm spoiled - i was raised on the best sliced-to-order nova from Zabar's in NYC.

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    As a German who's used to an abundance of herring incarnations (cream sauce, red wine, pickled, smoked - you name it), that Vita stuff is no acceptable substitute. It's a bummer, really.

                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                      The herring, also? Bummer. I guess I have nowhere to go but up, if I can find "up".

                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        OK Veggo, i did some quick research for you. two Sarasota sources for pickled herring that HAVE to be better than Vita...

                                                                        Scandinavian Gifts, Baked Goods & Grocery in Gulf Gate Village

                                                                        Captain Brian's Seafood Market & Restaurant

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          Hey, thanks! I checked the sites and I will have better holiday fare.
                                                                          Meanwhile....9 days 'til stone crabs!

                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                            great. let me know how you like it if you end up trying some *real* pickled herring ;)

                                                                            have some stone crabs for me - i love those things!

                                                                      2. re: linguafood

                                                                        well, in my defense, back in the days when i ate the Vita herring i was in college in Atlanta, where the deli/appetizing situation was as bad as Veggo's locale. the "bagels" from the neighborhood bagel shop were barely a step up from Lender's, and from what i can recall, the herring was consumed straight from the jar standing in the kitchen at about 3 a.m. after a night of partying...quality may not have been the top priority ;)

                                                                        of course now this discussion has me craving Zabar's pickled herring & onions in cream sauce!!

                                                                      3. re: Veggo

                                                                        the reason the west coast of florida is a deli-desert: I-75.

                                                                        I-75 carries snowbirds and retirees from illinois and indiana down to sarasota and fort myers, bonita (naples is a little different, but not in many respects).

                                                                        now, it is I-95 -- going down the east coast -- that takes new yorkers to miami, where delis are galore. see.

                                                                        i call it the "theory of interstate food migration."

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          And I-10 is the Southerners.

                                                                          Though the lines and migration patterns of both people and food have started to blur in recent years and Florida probably isn't that far away from a New York style deli that also serves proper sweet tea.

                                                                      4. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        I could do Vita as long as it was mixed in with cream cheese, onions, capers... Straight from the pack? Maybe. I don't know how desperate I would be for smoked salmon.

                                                                        I like Safeway bagels. Satisfyingly chewy and good open texture. I just wish they were not the size of a house.