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Grocery store comparisons

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FoiGras Jul 22, 2012 04:51 PM

Okay--can we take a consensus on what you believe is the best local grocery store? And, not just best--where do you shop mostly and then go for the specialty items?

I generally shop at Giant and Mars (location and price point). I.E. CONVENIENCE

I love Wegman's and haven't as yet been to the one in Columbia which is more convenient then the one in Hunt Valley, which I love.

My old standbys for small, very expensive, but great little stores--Graul's in Ruxton and Eddie's on Charles Street. Can't beat the service and in and out quickness. I love the staff who empty your cart onto the checkout belt at Eddie's. Then a person carries out your grocery items.

Harris Teeter in Columbia (last time I shopped there was about 2 years ago--it just isn't a conveniently close shopping venue). Their check-out is great. Prices a bit higher then Giant and Mars. Nice selection of prepared foods. I don't live very far from the Locust Point location and have been draggin my feet to get to their newest location. A must on my upcoming shopping day.

Whole Foods--I am very curious as to all of your opinions--have seen some very negative comments. I used to shop at the Mt. Washington location, but am closer to the downtown location. Haven't been in a while and only shop for cheeses and items that aren't available at the general shopping I do at Giant, etc. Stilll, this store intriques me--don't know why--maybe someone can explain.

And, what about Safeway? I haven't shopped at one in several years. I find that store--in comparison to Giant and other larger markets--to be expensive. Of course, it isn't "gourmet" oriented, but very expensive for general everyday shopping.

One store that I haven't been to but an curious to check out--the Fresh Market. Any opinions?
How are they with brands of foods, in house prepared foods (if any)--price point.

Last, but not least--Trader Joe's--I hate to reveal this, but have shopped only once at the Pikesville location and was totally unimpressed. Please tell me what I missed as I want to give that store a second chance. Thanks to all. FoiGras

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  1. agarnett100 RE: FoiGras Jul 22, 2012 06:34 PM

    I shop at Trader Joes in DC for wine
    Wegmans in PG County because I live close by
    Costco - for meat, paper goods, sometimes seafood
    H-mart on Georgia Ave -seafood
    DC Wharf - seafood and crabs
    Safeway - purchase items on sale only

    2 Replies
    1. re: agarnett100
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      FoiGras RE: agarnett100 Jul 22, 2012 06:44 PM

      Wow--I'm impressed with your comprehensive reply. I wasn't aware that Trader Joe's sold wine--do they in the Maryland area?
      Aren't you lucky to live nearby to a Wegmans.
      What about Costco? I've never shopped there but friends of mine really like the selection and prices. what, other then paper products and seafood prompt your shopping support?

      I guess that you agree with the price point at Safeway since you mentioned that you "purchase items on sale only." A good review and awakening from your perspective. FoiGras

      1. re: FoiGras
        agarnett100 RE: FoiGras Jul 23, 2012 05:45 PM

        Trader Joe's- Sells wine in VA and DC I usually visited the DC location once a month and load up.

        Costco - My family go hooked on this store 20 yrs ago when it was called Price Club in SoCal. I like the return policy you can return anything with the receipt - last year I returned a case of lobsters that went bad no questions asked. Its too bad that in the DMV they are not allowed to sell liquid I was in SoCal last week and the price of 1.75 L of Makers was only $28. I also like Costco for wine in VA and electronics( you can return them up until 90 days after purchase)
        I also like shopping at the Amish Market on 29 - for fresh made bake goods, produce and other treats from my youth in PA

    2. d
      drewpbalzac RE: FoiGras Jul 23, 2012 08:44 AM

      In Virginia - Wegman's can be a one-stop shopping Mecca. From meats to national brand dry goods like cereals, they carry it all at a similar price point to Giant and other national retailers. Their cheese selection and olive bars tend to be as well stocked if not better than most Whole Foods and because it is Virginia they have an extensive wine and beer selection.

      For me Trader Joe's is a bit more of a "surrender yourself" experience. You have to trust in their corporate world view and their spin that they source very good products and then slap their brand onto it. You do not get nearly the selection that you get in a major retailer, which lets them keep their stores small and their perishable losses to a minimum. Most of my friends that are regulars at TJ's tend to rave about the "mostly" prepared items that you finish off at home. In my opinion TJ's stuff is not any better that the "prepared" store brand items at Wegman's . . . and Wegman' has a wider selection of stuff . . . .

      By the way if you have access to an H-Mart or Grand Mart or some other Asian supermarket you should start exploring it. You are not going to find any "grass fed" - "organic" stuff there but you will find an incredible amount of produce, seafood, and meats. If you have a big hang-up about industrial farming and sustainable fisheries your head is going to explode when you see these places. But if the occasional industrial produced pork product or mass market beef regularly graces you shopping cart - these places are gems.

      1. m
        mdpilam RE: FoiGras Jul 23, 2012 08:59 AM

        Shop mostly at: Giant (live up the street). I think Giant (atleast this one) is probably my favorite grocer in the District. They consistently have pretty good produce (for a grocer), and their peppers are reliably spicy. Meat selection is ok, but on par with others except for WF, which is overpriced IMO. Deli is fairly solid (except for the workers - they need a math course in fractions). They recently got rid of a couple items that we consistently like and get (Uncle Brutha's, Yogi Tea, Stonyfield frozen yogurt) which is annoying though.

        Best in the area: Wegmans. If we lived near one, we'd do all of our shopping there. Great produce selection (though the nod for spicy peppers still goes to Giant). Great meat selection (we end up driving out there a few times a month almost solely for their air chilled chicken, grass fed beef - among others). Deli underwhelms though. Great cheese selection too.

        Trader Joes I rarely go to because their produce sucks and they are really only good for some things (their prepared Indian meals/naan are good, and a handful of other things), but they are generally pretty competitively priced. But you still need to go elsewhere for staples. TJs is good for a single person though.

        Whole Foods is completely overrated. Their produce always looks good, but just isn't nearly that good. They generally have a wide selection of things most other grocers don't (except Wegmans), but there aren't many standouts, and they're overpriced. I do like their deli though.

        17 Replies
        1. re: mdpilam
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          drewpbalzac RE: mdpilam Jul 23, 2012 10:29 AM

          I'm not arguing - but I am curious. What makes the Whole Foods deli case better than Wegman's in your opinion.

          Wegman’s seems to move a lot more product, they stock a range of items from their house brands to smaller producers and high-end imported stuff. (Get half a pound of the Henry Gay party ham and do ham & biscuits. For all I know it is Smithfield’s Henry Gay ham, but Wegman’s is the only place in the DC area I have ever seen it.) Personally, I think there store brand product is as strong as anything carried at WF.

          What is a problem at their deli case is the crowds of people who either do not know what the want to order when it is their turn or who have a lot of silly questions. It is sliced cold cuts! Just order some and take it home and figure out if you like it or not in the comfort of your own home! And for the love of God Leave you shopping cart back from the case so people can get to the counter!

          1. re: drewpbalzac
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            sas RE: drewpbalzac Jul 23, 2012 01:54 PM

            Wegmans has the worst deli meats and most of there store brands just taste horrible. Shop there every week but not the deli

            1. re: sas
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              drewpbalzac RE: sas Jul 24, 2012 08:00 AM

              What do you buy?

              Prosciutto de Parma or San Danielle is the same everywhere I go. Their Deli carries "cold cut" porchetta which isn't even available at most delis cases in the city, even WF's.

              Hoffman's hot dogs and red-hots sold loose are great. Cittero Capicolla is the same everywhere I go . . . no difference between Wegman’s and other stores.

              Their store brands may not live up to others standards but I can't see any difference between the Wegman’s turkey or roast beef and Boars Head, and I think they are much better than the store brand junk at Safeway or Giant. (To be fair I hate processed Turkey and cold-cut roast beef all tastes funky to me.)

              Wegman's deli case caries more brands, and moves more product than any deli counter I have seen in the area. At the WF's I am most familiar with they have to go in the back or drop down into the low boy to root around for the stuff I want, which doesn't give me any confidence in long the product has been sitting around.

              Short of a trip to Canales' Deli in Eastern Market, I think Wegman's deli case puts other places to shame. . . . Except for the crowds.

              1. re: drewpbalzac
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                mdpilam RE: drewpbalzac Jul 24, 2012 08:13 AM

                The only things I've had from the deli at Wegmans (again, we don't shop there frequently, and just "discovered" it about 3 months ago) were turkey and ham - don't recall the brand, but I didn't care for any of them. I pretty much only stick to Boar's Head from grocers as well (which I've found was better than Wegmans).

                1. re: mdpilam
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                  drewpbalzac RE: mdpilam Jul 24, 2012 08:24 AM

                  By the way - I like Boars Head just fine and when I shop at stores other than Wegman’s, I only get Boar Head or if it is not available Dietz and Watson.

                  Frankly, I don't care for "luncheon meat" much and tend to get prosciutto and specially cold cuts from deli cases, Which is why I find the accusation that Wegman's deli case stinks so remarkable.

                  1. re: drewpbalzac
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                    mdpilam RE: drewpbalzac Jul 24, 2012 08:57 AM

                    I will try and get some cured meats next time I'm there to give them a shot.

              2. re: sas
                m
                MarietteB RE: sas Jul 24, 2012 08:08 AM

                I was glad to see this. I like a lot about Wegman's but find their deli not to my standards. I really don't enjoy pre-cut meats. And I have not enjoyed much of what I have tried at the deli.

              3. re: drewpbalzac
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                mdpilam RE: drewpbalzac Jul 23, 2012 02:29 PM

                Yeah, all of the deli meats I've tried at Wegmans have tasted bad to just ok. Granted, I haven't eaten extensively from WF's deli (and most of my experience comes from the CA WFs), but it has generally been pretty good to very good (for a grocery deli).

                1. re: drewpbalzac
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                  FoiGras RE: drewpbalzac Jul 23, 2012 04:16 PM

                  drewpbalzac--hee hee hee. I got a laugh out of your description of those who stand in lines at deli counters and make a big production out of ordering common place, ordinary lunchmeats. For goodness sakes, those people should just buy prepackaged deli meats. It's not "brain surgery" as they say.

                  My other pet peeve--those standing in line at the deli/prepared salad type foods (I'm referring to Giant--not Wwegman's or Harris Teeter, where those sections are seperate)--but the yakking yakking people talking on their cell phones and holding up the line by saying "ohy wait a minute-and they continue their conversation". I know, I know--this isn't about the food--so I'll switch back so I don't get bumped off by the CH Team--

                  I wish that Giant had more prepared salad-type foods.. Here is my point--the local one I shop at in Baltimore has about five different potato salads and three coleslaws. What about carrot salad--southwest corn salad--chicken/turkey/tunafish salads. Seafood salads. Various fruit salads--pasta salads and rice salads or preparations. Once in a while the Giant will have crabcakes (and the last time I tried one--it really was pretty darn good, espcially considering the price point).

                  I still like to shop at Graul's and Eddie's for prepared foods and salads--Harris Teeter is good--Whole Foods--I've had good and no interest. FoiGras

                2. re: mdpilam
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                  bmorecupcake RE: mdpilam Jul 23, 2012 11:23 AM

                  I like Trader Joe's for many specific items (e.g., their Rice Krispies), but agree that you still have to shop elsewhere. On my last visit I was surprised to learn they don't carry baking soda, baking powder, or cornmeal.

                  1. re: bmorecupcake
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                    drewpbalzac RE: bmorecupcake Jul 23, 2012 12:12 PM

                    I think you need to focus a bit, I have purchased all three items at Trader Joe's. I cannot believe that the store you were shoping at was out of all three items.

                    1. re: drewpbalzac
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                      bmorecupcake RE: drewpbalzac Jul 23, 2012 01:37 PM

                      The Pikesville store was not out of these three items. Rather, I asked staff and the Pikesville store does not carry these three items. You must have purchased these a while back because there isn't much variation from store to store. Which Trader Joe's have you purchased these items from?

                      1. re: bmorecupcake
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                        FoiGras RE: bmorecupcake Jul 23, 2012 04:19 PM

                        I'm ot a fan of Trader Joe's--but will definitely give it another shop-by at sonme point. but, I am under the impression that it is a store that one goes to for specific items--not overall general shopping--i.e., none food items like toilet paper and cleaning products and general boxed typed items or canned prodcuts. I could be very wrong as I only went to the Pikes ville store one time about 5 years ago and walked out without purchasing anything. I am open to being enlightened. FoiGras

                        1. re: bmorecupcake
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                          drewpbalzac RE: bmorecupcake Jul 24, 2012 08:12 AM

                          I found all three items at the TJ's in NW DC just last Thanksgiving.

                          I think you had a bored or unfriendly worker. If they sell flour they are going to sell baking soda, baking powder, and cornmeal.

                          But your accusation that they do not carry these items does have me curious, I am going to take a field trip at lunch to see what I can find.

                          1. re: Dithyramb
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                            bmorecupcake RE: Dithyramb Jul 24, 2012 10:13 AM

                            I actually go out of my way and drive to the Pikesville store from Catonsville specifically because everyone there is extremely helpful.

                            I'm not sure what to tell you guys. Likely the larger Towson store carries items the Pikesville store does not. But I just called both the Pikesville and Towson stores, respectively 410-484-8373 and 410-296-9851. In fact I called the Pikesville store twice an hour apart and spoke to two different workers (and one even went to check the shelves.) At both stores I was told baking soda and baking powder we not in stock and I was told baking soda and baking powder are oddly seasonal items (come in October-Novemberish). Also, at both stores I was told they did not have cornmeal in stock, and furthermore don't even have cornmeal listed in their system anymore, seasonal item or otherwise.

                            1. re: bmorecupcake
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                              drewpbalzac RE: bmorecupcake Jul 24, 2012 10:36 AM

                              I stand corrected - I just came from the DC store and they did not have baking powder, baking soda, or cornmeal. . . . They did however have dozens of stevia products, 3 or four iterations of mesquite honey and almond flower.

                              Obviously, I got these things during the seasonal baking rush. . . . TJ's falls even lower in my estimation.

                              1. re: drewpbalzac
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                                bmorecupcake RE: drewpbalzac Dec 3, 2012 11:55 AM

                                Baking powder and baking soda are back at Trader Joe's.

                                Unfortunately, however, I confirmed a long time suspicion today. I was informed all of Trader Joe's smoked fish arrives frozen. I didn't ask about the caviar. I first discovered this practice at Whole Foods after asking why their smoked mackerel and smoked salmon are sometimes leathery.

                    2. Mulan RE: FoiGras Jul 24, 2012 12:00 PM

                      This is a timely question as I’ve recently retired and am doing a lot more cooking these days.

                      I’m a huge fan of TJ’s. You can’t get everything there but they have stuff there I can’t get elsewhere or tastes better here: no-salt-added spaghetti sauce, shredded gruyere/Swiss combo (great for quiches), great selection of cheap beer/wine, cheap milk, frozen pie crusts that taste much better than Pillsbury, Calabrese salami, bagged cauliflower, mirepoix….

                      Pre-retirement my go-to store was Giant but now that I go there more frequently, I am disappointed with their prices and quality. Their shredded cheese on sale is more expensive than ShopRite’s regular price. Unfortunately, there is no ShopRite near me. Their meat is good, but I’m always worried when I buy fish there because half the time, it smells old. I do love their corn on the cob that I believe they get from local farmers. Some of their staff is surly so the shopping experience is not so pleasant, unlike…

                      My new discovery, Harris Teeter, where they are as friendly as can be. They also have free wifi, which is great, because I no longer have a data service for my Blackberry. However, I have not gotten it to work on the BB yet. Their sales are really good, so I feel that compensates for some other goods being pricier, although at this point I don’t know prices well enough to say which place is more expensive. They have a much wider selection of meat than Giant. For instance, I was looking for Boston butt last month to make pulled pork and only could find it at HT. One time I went to HTand they were not stocked very well: had to ask them to put out more ribeye (there was only one out), only one sad sweet potato (that I begrudgingly bought because I didn’t want to go to another store), and no corn on the cob. I hope that was an anomaly and maybe afternoon shopping is more fruitful than morning shopping?

                      I hardly ever go to Safeway and when I do, the stores near me are invariably old, grungy, and sad-looking. I wanted to buy a baguette and their was no inhouse bakery—I had to buy some national brand. They also don’t have salad bars which is so strange since DC is such a worker-bee town.
                      I hardly ever go to Whole Foods although their strawberry shortcake is really good. I think they are expensive, but never bothered to confirm this. I probably will troll through it one day to see what is good there.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Mulan
                        agarnett100 RE: Mulan Jul 24, 2012 01:11 PM

                        Mulan Shopper Food Warehouses regular sells Boston Butt Aka pork shoulder at reasonable prices

                        1. re: agarnett100
                          Mulan RE: agarnett100 Jul 24, 2012 05:41 PM

                          Actually I had checked Shoppers as well and they didn't have it that day. My theory was that maybe everybody stocks them after 4th of July and I was looking for them mid-June?

                          1. re: Mulan
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                            drewpbalzac RE: Mulan Jul 25, 2012 06:42 AM

                            I have never been to a Wegmans that doesnt have a good supply of pork shoulder in the meat case. It is always one of the cheapest meats per pound, so I make a lot of Carnitas with it.

                      2. m
                        Milocat1 RE: FoiGras Jul 24, 2012 01:03 PM

                        Trader Joe's has great organic chicken. I like TJs for nuts, rice, couscous, olive oil, canned tuna fish, peanut butter. Their turkey burgers and salmon burgers are fabulous. I go to the one in Alexandria but really only every couple of months or so.

                        I go to the Balducci's in Old Town because I live close by. I get reward points and coupons so usually have some sort of discount on my purchases. Great produce and prepared food. Wine selection is great and so is the ice cream selection...... (try Jeni's ice cream, especially the lemon frozen yogurt, fabulous).

                        I go to the Safeway in Old Town for certain brand name products that I get coupons for in the paper.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Milocat1
                          Mulan RE: Milocat1 Jul 24, 2012 05:42 PM

                          Forgot to mention that I also like that TJ has smaller size meat portions, like 1lb. pork tenderloins and 3-4lb. whole chickens. They are usually twice that size at Giant. When cooking for two, it's nice to see the small sizes.

                          1. re: Milocat1
                            tcamp RE: Milocat1 Jul 25, 2012 07:29 AM

                            I'm in OT too but I haven't been to Balducci's in years. Used to love the cheese shop when it was Sutton Place. Will need to revisit and get hooked up with the reward points.

                          2. c
                            CDouglas RE: FoiGras Jul 24, 2012 06:37 PM

                            Love Whole Foods and shop there often. They consistently have the best produce I have found outside of the freshly picked stuff you get at farmer's markets. The seafood counter and meat counter are tops in my book as well. Where else can you get Chilean sea bass, La Quercia prosciutto, Fever Tree ginger ale, veal shanks, dry-aged T-bones, Roquefort Societe Bee, Plugra and the best baguette I have found at any grocery store like I did on my way home from work today?

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: CDouglas
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                              bmorecupcake RE: CDouglas Jul 24, 2012 08:31 PM

                              I like the seafood counter at Whole Foods, but I actually go to Whole Foods pretty much exclusively for goat milk and their 365-brand spaghetti. It's the best affordable spaghetti in my opinion.

                              1. re: CDouglas
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                                drewpbalzac RE: CDouglas Jul 25, 2012 06:46 AM

                                Shame on Whole Foods for even stocking "Chilean Sea Bass", just goes to show that their corperate image is different than their corporate reality.

                                1. re: drewpbalzac
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                                  CDouglas RE: drewpbalzac Jul 25, 2012 07:04 AM

                                  The fishery Whole Foods uses for CSB is certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. Whole Foods follows the guidelines for MSC “Chain of Custody” certification. They will even produce this document when consumers ask.

                                  They banned the sale of CSB for seven years back in the late '90s.

                                  1. re: CDouglas
                                    agarnett100 RE: CDouglas Jul 25, 2012 07:24 AM

                                    "Chilean Sea Bass" You mean the Patagonian Toothfish
                                    http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                    1. re: agarnett100
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                                      CDouglas RE: agarnett100 Jul 25, 2012 07:35 AM

                                      Exactly. From their website:

                                      A portion of this fishery is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). These certified fisheries are not specifically evaluated in the Seafood Watch report and are not covered under the general "Avoid" recommendation.

                                      1. re: CDouglas
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                                        drewpbalzac RE: CDouglas Jul 25, 2012 09:02 AM

                                        Not everybody is copacetic with the MSC.

                                        http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment...

                                        1. re: drewpbalzac
                                          agarnett100 RE: drewpbalzac Jul 25, 2012 09:36 AM

                                          It your really worried about sustainable fish start eating the local fish in our area like croaker, spot, blue fish, rockfish, flounder, perch. Our do what I do catch it yourself

                                          1. re: agarnett100
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                                            bmorecupcake RE: agarnett100 Jul 25, 2012 10:17 AM

                                            We have flounder locally? Where do you catch flounder?

                                            1. re: bmorecupcake
                                              agarnett100 RE: bmorecupcake Jul 25, 2012 10:30 AM

                                              In the Chesapeake Bay
                                              http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/...

                                              1. re: agarnett100
                                                b
                                                bmorecupcake RE: agarnett100 Jul 25, 2012 11:10 AM

                                                Oh, wow! I tried to catch some trout last year at Patapsco State Park in the Baltimore area. I always saw people fishing there, so I got a rod, some tackle, and dug up some worms. Unfortunately, I gave up after quite a few trips with no bites. Flounder is a good incentive to start trying again.

                                                1. re: bmorecupcake
                                                  agarnett100 RE: bmorecupcake Dec 3, 2012 12:19 PM

                                                  bmorecupckae - next time try power bait get a few different colors as trout have very good eye sight
                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Berkley-PowerBa...

                                            2. re: agarnett100
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                                              drewpbalzac RE: agarnett100 Jul 25, 2012 10:27 AM

                                              When I eat fish - I only eat local product except for the occasional New England or West Coast oyster.

                                              For me it’s - Bay Blue Crabs, Rockfish, Blues, Spot, Croaker, and the occasional Spanish Mackerel, once in a while Skate wings and Shad roe if I am feeling particularly freaky.

                                              For the most part I used to try to get down to the water to by from shops that source from Local watermen, but since I got dragged to NOVA hell I have cut back on my fish consumption, because no matter how you market it Salmon is gross and almost all shrimp is farm raised in Asia where it is get goop and dosed with chemicals.

                                              1. re: drewpbalzac
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                                                bmorecupcake RE: drewpbalzac Jul 25, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                I used to get frozen Gulf Shrimp at Giant, but now they have preservatives in it for color retention (or maybe they always did and are now required to list it.)

                                2. a
                                  anakalia RE: FoiGras Jul 24, 2012 07:50 PM

                                  Lotte plaza for vegetables and fruit (great selection, fresh and cheap), and spices
                                  Trader Joes for "prepared" foods like pasta sauce, frozen pizzas, yogurt and cheap cheese
                                  Whole foods for "expensive" cheese and "fancy" milk, and for seafood
                                  Safeway for everything else.
                                  When it comes to wine, I split my shopping between WF, TJ, Safeway and wine shops.

                                  I've actually never stepped foot in a Wegmans or a Harris Teeter... Not really sure why, but I haven't lived in an area where they exist before and just were never really sure what type of grocery store they were!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: anakalia
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                                    drewpbalzac RE: anakalia Jul 25, 2012 06:48 AM

                                    Take all of your grocery stores (except for Lotte Plaza, which I am not familiar with but assume it is an Asian grocer) and mush them into one store and you have a Wegman's.

                                    1. re: drewpbalzac
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                                      anakalia RE: drewpbalzac Jul 25, 2012 07:41 AM

                                      Yes, you're right, Lotte is an Asian store w/ very cheap prices (I recently bought enough kale there for 3 recipes for 84 cents, and it lasted nearly 2 weeks in my fridge).

                                      So, is Wegman's cheap, then, like TJ's or more pricy like WF? I assume they have a mix, but, can you get the 'best of both worlds' there?

                                      1. re: anakalia
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                                        drewpbalzac RE: anakalia Jul 25, 2012 08:49 AM

                                        Wegman’s runs the gamut. It stacks extensive amount of both factory farmed meats and poultry to grass fed and organic, with corresponding prices. Their standard factory farm stuff is priced just like at a Safeway or Giant their organic stuff runs closer to WFs.

                                        Their cheese case is more extensive than most standard sized WFs with similar or better prices.

                                        Much like TJs they will also locate a specific supplier of a product that they like and slap their store label on it.. For instance they have 3 or four levels of "Wegman's" branded Brie cheese, labeled from "milky" to "intense". Their olive bar is one of the best I have ever seen.

                                        They have an entire section of the store devoted to only organic products like cereals, chips, prepared foods, and beauty items. This section is so extensive it rivals the smaller WF's stores in the area.

                                        While their produce cannot touch the local Asian markets, it is by far the best in the area when you couple their variety, prices, and efforts to source locally. I know some people swear by WFs produce, but I think Wegman's has them beat.

                                        The rest of the store frankly doesn't differ from a traditional supermarket much except that they have a much more extensive international foods section and their store brand items are all a notch above other supermarkets brands.

                                  2. tcamp RE: FoiGras Jul 25, 2012 07:36 AM

                                    I like to spread my food dollars around, apparently.

                                    Costco for meat, coffee, certain cheeses, flour tortillas, butter, milk, non-food items.

                                    Fresh World, large asian market, for veggies, meats, seafood, noodles, and condiments. Also, mexican crema, corn tortillas, queso fresco.

                                    MacGruders for low cost veggies, last minute items at good prices. On my way home and near mother-in-law's place.

                                    Safeway, mainly for sale items which are often very good deals. Spouse likes Safeway and goes there alot.

                                    My Organic Market, periodically if I need bulk whole grains or other unique items not found at typical markets.

                                    Mediterranean Bakery, Pickett Street in west end of Alexandria, for fresh pita, feta cheese, olives, spices, lentils, bulgar wheat, etc. And lunch, while I'm at it.

                                    Trader Joe's, sometimes for wine, prepared foods, house brand cereals. The one near me is very crowded after work and weekends so I tend to shy away.

                                    Giant, almost never. I always have bad shopping luck there and I think the veggie selection mostly sucks.

                                    Wegmans, never been but eagerly awaiting opening of one on Beulah and Telegraph.

                                    Whole Foods, closest store to me but I rarely go unless I need a last minute item or 2 for 1 prepared pizza night.

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