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Costco Strategy For Ist Experience

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We were thinking of trying out Costco for the first time. Can you suggest particular items that are really excellent? I've heard some people talk about seafood and beef. Any paricular types? Any prepared products or bakery items we shouldn't miss? We have a huge basement with shelving for dry items and an additional freezer. We're ready to buy for the winter. Any suggestions for any great products would be appreciated. Thank you!

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  1. We stock up on tinned tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Also bulk detergent and tooth paste. These, however, are mostly due to cost and not necessarily taste as they carry brands we already like.

    1. Oh Boy!
      1) strip steaks.
      2) Hamburger beef
      3) Stew Beef
      4) Whole chickens (fresh)

      Prepared:
      1) 4star fresh loaves of bread (their garlic bread is a treat).
      Lotta other stuff we love, but a lot are skippable.
      Buttermilk Naan!

      DryGoods:
      Basmati Rice

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chowrin

        That roasted garlic bread in the 2-pack is straight from the devil. I could eat a whole loaf in one sitting (with a whole stick of butter).

      2. I really like the green tea. Next time I go I'm planning on buying a six pack of chicken broth and one of beef broth as well. I'm a fan of their dual pack of chuck roasts. Frozen shrimp would be nice, and crabcakes too.
        The other day I saw a large bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and they always have big bags of walnuts and pecans.

        13 Replies
        1. re: givemecarbs

          How does the quality compare to Trader Joe's?

          1. re: DaisyM

            As good or better across the board. They have extremely high turnover on most items so freshness is rarely a concern and their return policy is excellent if something fails to meet your expectations.

            1. re: DaisyM

              I shop at both places, it works really well for me as long as I watch my budget. Costco seems to be mostly for large families or people with stand alone freezers or friends to split with, while tjs is fantastic for one or two person households.
              For example a costco vat of salsa would never get used up so I love buying a couple different kinds of salsa at tjs. I prefer the produce at Costco but every once in awhile tjs scores a crit with thomcord grapes or blood oranges in small packages.

              1. re: givemecarbs

                two people here, routinely finish off costco salsa.

                1. re: Chowrin

                  Which one? The "fresh" one in the cold section or the packaged kind with preservatives? I just bought the "fresh" on this weekend for the firs time but cannot recall the brand name.

                  1. re: Dax

                    the one that's on the shelf, not refridgerated.

            2. re: givemecarbs

              What kind of green tea is it? I don't remember seeing green tea at Costco. Are we talking loose leaf, tea bags or matcha ?

              1. re: rasputina

                It is matcha blend tea bags, kirkland brand. You get a hundred bags for around fifteen dollars or so. I have seen this tea in the coffee aisle, the healthy beverages section with the coconut water and such, and sometimes even with the canned soda. It comes in a distinctive large green box.

                1. re: givemecarbs

                  Mr. Pine is a tea snob, and he loves the Kirkland brand green tea at Costco.

                  I go for the ultra-big bags of Stacy's Naked Pita chips--they're thicker than the grocery stores ones and just sooooo delicious.

                  1. re: pine time

                    those green tea bags are a must-buy for me. LOVE them.

                    and my sis adores the Stacy's Chips, but *only* from Costco because she figured out that theirs are darker, more well-done batches than the ones sold in smaller bags at other retailers. she's right - we did a comparison :)

                    1. re: pine time

                      I love the giant bags of Stacey's Pita Chips. They do seem better than the smaller bags sold in supermarkets.

                      1. re: Disneyfreak

                        Funny thing about Stacey's Pita Chips. We had a bag from Costco and a bag from B.J.'s and when we were done with the bag from Costco, we noticed that the chips from B.J.'s were i/2 the thickness!. I called the folks at Stacey's and sure enough, they make the single thickness for B.J.'s and the double for Costco (and I thought it was a manufacturing error)

                        1. re: jnk

                          Believe me, I've eaten many a bag of CostCo vs. grocery Stacey's for...research, and the double-thick CostCo ones win by a mile.

              2. If you use canned tune, the Kirkland albacore is consistently very very good

                Tillamook cheese blocks are a fantastic buy

                I buy beef and pork there, but not chicken (prefer Millers Amish which Costco doesn't carry, at least not here).

                Right now, they have the Christmas stuff--the European cookie assortment is good but we tend to gobble it up.

                The pumpkin pie is both tasty and cheap.

                1. Mixed nuts, pistachios (but beware of the flavored ones), milk, yogurt, coffee, canned tomatoes, broth, dish detergent, laundry detergent, salmon, pork ribs, chicken parts, tortilla chips, salsa, pastas (in fridge section), Venus razor blades, berries, beer, and butter. These are our staples. Check the coupons for some really good deals.

                  1. First I'd get a coupon book when you get to Costco, see what's on special. Next, I'd scout the isles, incuding seasonal clothing, for discontinued items, generally the price ends in.97. Follow up with products you're familiar with from regular super market trips, milk, cheese, dairy, bakery, fruit, meat fish etc. Then hit canned products like tuna, PB, jelly, speciality items. Lastly, paper goods, cleaning products, auto tires etc. Finally, get a flu shot, it's only 16.99 vs 29.99 at most mega pharmacy stores.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: treb

                      Wow....I just got a flu shot or I would have done that. Thank you!

                    2. If your store has uncooked tortillas (in the refrigerated food section) they're definitely worth a try.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ferret

                        Oh, forgot about these--they are good, as are the uncooked chappatis.

                      2. Sorry, this is a long response...
                        Welcome to the club! First off, if you are looking to browse and can go on a week day please do so. On the weekends it can be a suburban nightmare. We were there last night and it was not crowded but I know on Friday nights it can be a little busy.
                        I second getting the coupon book.
                        And if you want to see what was on coupon in the past to know what to expect coming up, go here: http://www.adamcos.com/

                        Dehydrated hash brown potatoes, quick and easy weekend breakfast.
                        Sun Dried Tomatoes
                        EVOO - Kirkland Signature Brand
                        Kirkland Signature whole bean coffee - roasted by Starbucks.
                        Milk prices are competitive
                        Kirkland signature egg beaters
                        Balsamic Vinegar
                        Nutella - Will go on coupon in November for the holidays
                        Stacy’s pita chips - double thick only found at Costco. These go on coupon regularly.
                        Garofalo pasta - we get our spaghetti noodles here. Each pack is 1kg which equals about 17 ounces and change versus the downsizing of many packages to 14 and 12 oz.

                        Jullian Waffles - these are in the front near the dry goods and non bakery bread racks. They are in a clamshell package possibly on an endcap or near the cookie section of chips/junkfood isle. YUM! Heat in microwave or toaster oven and put a scoop of ice cream and you are in heaven. These are liege waffles so a little different from what you are used to but the closest thing to a true liege waffle without going to Belgium. A MUST TRY!

                        Torta Rolls in the back bakery section make great sandwiches

                        Pumpkin pie and apple pie are very solid. I've brought the 14" apple pie to a family gathering and the package almost looked like it was licked clean. Not a crumb to take home. The pumpkin pie never made it to a family gathering but it seemed to disappear and it is only the husband and myself!

                        Spinach, romaine lettuce are always at a decent price

                        Dog food - we used the puppy food and that was good. Now we use KS Nature's Domain salmon based formula which is similar to Taste of the Wild and much cheaper.

                        Pizza crust – for a while in the summer they were carrying a 3 pack of Boboli crusts with sauce for $7 ish. I haven’t seen them in a while but 1 pizza crust at Kroger costs $5. Makes a quick and easy dinner on a night you are too busy or tired for anything else. Now they are carrying

                        Mama May’s brand on an endcap. 4 think pizza crusts with sauce for under $5. We prefer the boboli but this works in a pinch too.

                        Cheese - don't ever buy cheese from a regular supermarket again. The KS brand is comparable to kraft and beats most prices I've seen that combine sales and coupons. If you want something higher end Costco has that too.

                        KS tortilla chips.

                        I'm also including some non food good things that Costco has:
                        Garbage bags - KS brand.
                        Flowers - 2 dozen fresh roses for $16, a great way to spoil yourself. The price for mother's day and Valentine's day is $16 for one dozen but still that is pretty reasonable for these holidays as flowers are more expensive then.
                        Borghese Makeup brushes are very similar to MAC brushes. These will come out soon for the holidays about $25 for a set of 10 brushes.
                        Cutting boards - Kitchenaid brand, good deal through this weekend. 3 for $16 in the center home goods section.
                        Light bulbs - right now they are ridiculously cheap in Ohio due to AEP Ohio rebates. Perhaps a similar rebate is going on in your part of the country.
                        Kirkland Signature Sheets - if/when you need your next set, try these first as you can always return them if you don't like. This is the first set of sheets that I have bought since 2001 that I actually like. They are crisp and of good quality. The run about $60 maybe but go on sale for black Friday I think. Comparable sheets would be a couple hundred dollars.
                        Parchment paper, $6 for a 15" x 164' roll. Awesome price!
                        Flameless candles, on coupon through Sunday.

                        Things we weren't so hot on:
                        Apple muffins back in the bakery section - stick with the chocolate or the blueberry.
                        The European cookie assortment is ok, but I probably won't repurchase. I prefer Milanos or other shortbread cookies instead and with the holidays coming one has to be choosy on how to spend their daily calorie intake.
                        Kirkland Signature Macaroni and Cheese

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: dobs737

                          Hi... I agree with many of the items you recommend but a kg is 2.2 lbs or about 34 oz.

                          1. re: debbypo

                            Sorry, I meant each individual package in the bunch is 1/2 kg.

                          2. re: dobs737

                            Thanks for the link! Have you found that the sales regularly repeat on a predictable basis?

                            1. re: meatn3

                              costco doesn't do sales. they do coupons, and closeouts. sometimes the closeout foods come back next year...

                              1. re: Chowrin

                                My phrasing wasn't clear. I was referring to the site dob737 listed and her advise of "And if you want to see what was on coupon in the past to know what to expect coming up, go here:" That phrasing could indicate that she has seen a cyclical pattern in the promotions.

                                My Costco has promos on many levels. Some require a coupon. Some are listed in the coupon book but the coupon is not needed at the register (rings up automatically). Others you find through signage in the store - recently there have been many in the meat dept. of an amount deducted per package at the register. I have also found non-couponed sales tied in with products being demo'd.

                                Perhaps it varies by area?

                                1. re: meatn3

                                  hmm... i'll have to watch more carefully. I don't go often enough to notice non-couponed sales!

                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    they did this, unadvertised coupon, with lamb legs about a month ago.

                                    1. re: treb

                                      I've caught this with lamb rib roast and catfish lately. The lamb was $5 off/pkg iirc. The catfish was $2.50 off/pkg. Deducts at the register. Even nicer for me since I cook for one and get the smallest package I can find!

                                      Now I make it a point to walk through and look carefully since it is just a white laminated 8.5 X 11 paper sign which is easy to miss. FWIW, I usually shop during the week.

                                    2. re: meatn3

                                      Things on coupon / rebate do tend to be cyclical. For example, we were out of semi sweet chocolate chips and I was waiting for the November coupon book because they are a couple of bucks cheaper in November. And I'm waiting for December to stock up on Nutella.

                                      1. re: dobs737

                                        Thanks. I'll study the past circulars. I invariably run out of kitty litter and buy more. A few weeks later it goes on coupon...sigh...somehow the the output exceeds the food consumed with the beasties if you know what I mean!

                              2. Vanilla ice cream

                                And one bit of advice. Don't overbuy. It's so tempting. But honestly, Costco will be there next week.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  2nd the ice cream, unbelievably smooth and creamy.

                                  1. re: cstr

                                    ... and an unbelievable bargain.

                                2. Parmigiano Reggiano wedges (best price anywhere)
                                  Flap meat (great price and it's always so tender and juicy, plus hard to find elsewhere)
                                  Thick-cut choice or prime ribeyes (they don't always have the 2" thick ones, but if they do, grab em)
                                  Leg of lamb ($5 a pound for boneless lamb? Amazing)
                                  Kirkland super-premium vanilla ice cream (better than Haagen Dazs and $5/half gallon)
                                  Mayorga coffee (I can't find this in NY, but if you see it, grab a bag - it's excellent)
                                  Roasted garlic bread (makes the best BLT ever)
                                  Nina brand canned tomatoes (best price on San Marzanos you'll ever find)
                                  Brussels Sprouts (they have a 2 lb bag for $3.79, which will buy you about 10 sprouts in my hood)
                                  Amylu brand chicken sausages and/or chicken burgers (all the flavors are good, IMO)

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                    Wow! Thanks, everyone! Can I ask...do you basically do all your grocery shopping here? Or do you also go to vegetable stands, Trader Joe's etc?

                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                      I'd say my family of 2 does most of the grocery shopping there. We buy the big bags of spinach and lettuce and salad fixins there and though only 2 people it forces us to be a little healthy and have a salad every day to eat up the fresh produce before it goes bad.

                                      It all just depends what is on sale at the various supermarkets and what we have in the freezer and what we could fit into the fridge after a costco trip. I'm fortunate to live in a city with Kroger, Meijer, Giant Eagle, and other independent stores so there is a good bit of competition for grocers.

                                      1. re: dobs737

                                        Where's that? gegal only here.

                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                          Columbus, Ohio

                                      2. re: DaisyM

                                        Our family of two does a good bit of shopping at Costco but not everything. I buy all of my meat and most of my cheeses/dairy there (except for very special items that Costco doesn't carry), but there are certain things that simply come in too large a quantity for us to use. We eat fairly low-carb, so we don't eat a ton of fruit (or potatoes, rice, bread, grains, etc.). Therefore, I rarely buy fruit at Costco - most of their fruits (with the exception of things that come in singles, like pineapple) come in packages too large for us to use. We also have some very cheap ethnic grocers nearby who have better prices on certain produce items. I would say we go to Costco every 2-3 weeks and spend 75% of our grocery/household item budget there, and supplement with fresh produce and special items from local stores 2x a week.

                                      3. re: biondanonima

                                        Where is the Roasted Garlic Bread? I am in SoCal and here we have LaBrea Bakery bread.

                                        1. re: phxjcc

                                          it's fresh in the baked good section

                                      4. Blue Agave Sweetener. It's the best I've had. If you like whole dill pickles - Gedney 1gallon dills for like $5.00. Kirkland canned albacore tuna is really good. Kirkland 1/2 gallon EVOO. 8 packs of chicken thighs... Also to avoid the Costco annual membership fee - get an AMEX / Costco card. No fees, plus (I think) 2% cash back each year on purchases .... a screaming good deal. On your way out of the store, get a raspberry smoothie ... and then stop at the travel desk and get their latest travel deals ... Have fun.

                                        1. I can't believe no one has mentioned the chicken pot pie! YUM

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: lewinters

                                            The fresh one you take home and bake? Awesome.

                                          2. Laundry detergent ( we use the free and clear one), toilet paper ( we use Charmin ultra soft) , dishwasher detergent, trash bags, ziplocs.

                                            In the butcher section, I stay away from the farmed fish ( their salmon is usually farmed) but we love the vacuum sealed chicken parts, pork shoulder, pork tenderloin, lamb, steaks and brisket. The steaks, brisket and pork shoulder we divide up and vacuum seal before putting it in the chest freezer. We stock up on meat there as our dogs are on a raw food diet.

                                            Check out the cheese section, also this is the place to buy batteries and light bulbs great prices. As far as canned we usually only buy tomatoes. They had unbleached AP flour last time I was there. Bulk yeast is very well priced, generally about 3 dollars for about 3 cups worth. I buy a different brand elsewhere though.

                                            Their polish dogs are very good, Kirkland brand. Unsalted butter, Kerrygold butter, check out whatever holiday seasonal stuff is in.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: rasputina

                                              Sometimes I have to go to Costco just for my dogs. I buy the legs and thighs and if we are having a good month financially I splurge and get them the whole organic chickens. Chewing on the raw bones makes their teeth so clean!

                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                We feed the legs and thighs from Costco too, the quality is great and the vacuum packages are perfect serving size for our dogs per meal.

                                                1. re: rasputina

                                                  Is it a myth that dogs should not have chicken bones because they splinter?

                                                  1. re: justicenow

                                                    Chicken bones should never be given to dogs.

                                                    1. re: justicenow

                                                      Don't give a dog cooked bones. Raw bones are flexible and digest easily. My dogs love them and they are so good for their teeth too. Animals are designed to eat raw. So are humans but that can be easier said than done.

                                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                                        yeah, our dog counter-surfed the remnants of a pork roast with one of those large bones that you'd think were safe for dogs to gnaw on. She managed to chew it up and swallow the pieces--we were VERY fortunate she didn't have internal damage as we found little bits of bone later...

                                              2. Oh and their cupcakes are good and freeze well. I just put the whole package in the freezer and we pull one out at a time to eat. Same with the muffins and croissant.

                                                1. drygoods:
                                                  flour
                                                  sugar
                                                  YEAST! such a fine deal!
                                                  pouch idahoan mashed potatoes.
                                                  Nutella
                                                  The Xtra Large Peanuts! so fab!

                                                  Cold stuff:
                                                  carrot juice
                                                  heavy cream
                                                  sour cream
                                                  potstickers

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                    Ooh, I forgot about those peanuts - they are SO good. All of their nuts are a great deal, actually.

                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                      Jelly Belly Jellybeans -- a better deal than seconds from the factory itself!

                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                        Oh indeed, the yeast is an awesome deal!

                                                        Keep it in the fridge and you won't get just one year from it, you'll get two or three...

                                                        1. re: happybaker

                                                          Also the brown sugar and vanilla (it's not super high quality...)
                                                          Organic peanut butter is good too...

                                                          If and Only If you have a good local bakefactory, the sliced bread will be good. (midstate Pa superawesome, Pittsburgh much sadder).

                                                          Get Yancy's Cheddar

                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                            Dang, you are right - the vanilla is fab!

                                                            Is it as good as vanillas that sell for $8 per oz?

                                                            Probably not.

                                                            But way better than most supermarket vanillas and way cheaper!

                                                            1. re: happybaker

                                                              Right now, for the holidays, my Costco has whole vanilla beans. I don't remember what I paid, but it was a great price for real vanilla beans. Perfect for holiday baking!

                                                      2. I'm in LA and some of the Costco's roast their own coffee - Sierra Mountain something. All I know is that it's very well priced for the quality and uber fresh.

                                                        I love Calrose rice and theirs works out to 50¢ a pound versus $1.

                                                        The Kirkland Brand paper towels are awesome and better than many store brand towels. They leave Bounty in the dust!

                                                        And Dairywise - big savings. Their cheeses are about half the price you'd find at supermarkets. Killer deals on fage yogurt, store brand butter and eggs. And during the holidays they have the best price for half and half in town!

                                                        Their lox is also very well priced, but not everyone eats it : )

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: happybaker

                                                          If you're ever on holidays in Hawaii, the Costco in Honolulu roasts Kona coffee on site and it is far cheaper than anywhere else you could get 100% Kona.

                                                          1. re: mpad

                                                            Great to know!

                                                            I know that Costco is where my friend always gets her macadamia nuts - says they are way cheaper than anywhere else!

                                                          2. re: happybaker

                                                            A recall on their smoked salmon!

                                                            1. re: Mother of four

                                                              And your point is?

                                                              1. re: treb

                                                                Exactly what I said. There is a recall on their smoked salmon!

                                                                1. re: Mother of four

                                                                  Mother of four, when you make a statement like that, specifics are really important.

                                                                  Are you referring to their Atlantic smoked salmon? The wild? Or the honey smoked?

                                                                  Since you did not say, I did a quick search, which gave me this link, which referred to only one type of smoked salmon - and said that all the questionable salmon had been pulled.

                                                                  http://newyork.newsday.com/news/healt...

                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                    It was discussed here starting October 2: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871792

                                                          3. aah! forgot produce:
                                                            1) buy garlic
                                                            2) onions
                                                            3) carrots
                                                            (we get local white mushrooms, which i recommend if you're within a state of PA)

                                                            the industrial size cans of beans and tomaters are great for chili

                                                            how could I forget their olive oil?
                                                            Abuelita chips are fab too...

                                                            Oh, and their honey...(such a great deal!!!)

                                                            1. #1. Ipse is correct: Costco will be there next week. Don't buy everything.

                                                              #2. Great prices on gallon/supersize jars of condiments, beans, salsa, etc. are no bargain to small households. If you won't use 20# of rice or flour before the bugs find it, not a deal. Buy only if it's a freezable/storable. Only times I've had Costco regrets were when I overbought perishables or things that needed refrig after opening, that were more than we could eat quickly and couldn't freeze. Extra-fuzzy artichokes, giardiniera, or queso just make me sad.

                                                              That said, we love:
                                                              Country breads, 2 pk (bakery)
                                                              Tortillas, flour, 10,000-pack (bakery) (perhaps I recall actual # incorrectly; still a deal)

                                                              Rotisserie chix (prepared) (pick and chill/freeze; stock)

                                                              Spanakopitas (frozen) (my homemade are still better but these are sooooo easy)
                                                              Samosas (frozen)

                                                              Grape/cherry tomatoes, red and yellow (produce)
                                                              Baby bok choy (produce) (didn't see last time in store)
                                                              Romaine heads x6 (produce) (big salad EVERY day until gone, WTH were we thinking)
                                                              Avocadoes (produce)

                                                              Cheese (refrig) go crazy here
                                                              Carrot juice, Bolthouse x3 (refrig) (I also juice their 10# bulk carrots but this is convenient)
                                                              Kalamata olives (refrig)
                                                              White queso (refrig) (I know! I said we don't eat fast enough! but so good)
                                                              Lobster bisque (refrig) (seasonal; freeze when get home; use for wondrous risotto or pasta sauce)

                                                              Paper plates, bowls (household)
                                                              Paper towels (household)
                                                              TP (household)
                                                              Bottled water (household)

                                                              Coffee beans (dry goods)
                                                              Canned veg, flats (dry goods)
                                                              Biscotti (dry goods)
                                                              Nuts (dry goods, usually in front of store: cashews, pistachios, marconas, etc)
                                                              Trail mix (dry goods)

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                You've got samosas? Where?Where? *jealous*

                                                                That said, 50lb bags of flour and sugar are easy to go through if you're at all industrious. That, and if you repack them in ziplocs to keep the bugs/moisture out.

                                                                Definitely know what you'll eat, and eat in quantity. "to try" quinoa turned out to be a real bust...
                                                                Yancey cheeses keep for most of a year (refridgerated) so you'll be fine there.

                                                                See the people above recommending Paper towels and Toilet paper? it's not just the price. they're really good!

                                                                Foodsaver is your friend. Buy a foodsaver. (also in costco! don't forget to glance at the not-food aisles. remember for later!)

                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                  (Chowrin: Samosas -- North Texas. Nom. :)

                                                                  Daisy: I bought my delightful FoodSaver at Costco also, great for storage. When you're perusing the non-food/device/kitchen/home aisles, bring pen & paper to write down brand, model #, key specs, price; you will find many models are strictly produced just for Costco but can find analogues to comparison-shop online.

                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                    My husband would love a foodsaver. We'll check it out. Thank you!

                                                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                                                      When I rejoined Costco, the Foodsaver was the first thing I put in my cart. It is a must when buying more than you can consume in a week. I'm amazed at how cheese doesn't mold once opened and resealed for months. Meats have no freezer burn. I even put a cut avocado in a bag and sealed it. No browning after two weeks. I just left it in the fridge to see how it would hold up. Tasted fresh when opened

                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                        Never though of the avocado ...will have to give it a try!

                                                                  2. re: Chowrin

                                                                    Twice now we've gone through a huge bag of jasmine rice, the kind with the elephant on it, by putting the rice in plastic containers, making sure the lids are on tight. The containers do take up a lot of cabinet space but no infestations yet.
                                                                    Our Costco has had meatloaf and mashed potatoes in the refrigerated food section for a coupla weeks now. I grabbed one tonight along with a big bag of broccoli crowns from the produce area for a ridiculously easy tasty supper. I still have plenty leftover.

                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                      They have samosas in WA - Kirkland& Woodinville

                                                                  3. Basmati rice, saffron (they only have it off and on, though), Kirkland vanilla.
                                                                    Large jars of Maranatha Almond Butter, about 1/2 the price of a smaller jar at my health food store.

                                                                    1. If you are a Member, you can order other, 'fancier' food items available at www.costco.com; most prices include shipping.

                                                                      Just like the store, the selection changes so you need to check back often, especially at Holiday time.

                                                                      I'm not going to tell you what to buy, there are thousands of items in the store and quite a few online and your own needs and likes may be completely different than mine.

                                                                      1. 1. Take a cooler with you so your chilled/frozen foods don't get too hot in your car.
                                                                        2. If your warehouse has a gas station, note the prices. My local warehouse is extremely competitive and usually beats my local gas stations BUT you should know per costco.com FAQs on gas purchases: "The Gas Station is entirely self-serve, with pay-at-the-pump technology. We accept: American Express, most PIN Debit Cards, Costco Credit, and Costco Cash Cards. (Exceptions: Oregon and New Jersey are full-service per law)."

                                                                        3. Enjoy yourself at the food demo stations. Some folks shop during their lunch breaks & snack at the demo stateions.

                                                                        4. If you want, you can pay for your to-go foods at the check-out registers and then go to the prepaid line to pick-up (usually faster service, but not always). The ice cream bars dipped in chocolate & encrusted with almonds are so big, I go with a zip-loc bag to save the left-over in the cooler in the car for the trip home.

                                                                        4. Holiday gift packs are now in stock -- time to stock up on your holiday gift-giving and parties as in cookies, chocolates, nuts & cheeses, wine & hard-liquor, gift-wrapping.

                                                                        This will be a good exercise in self-restraint! Weekends & after-school hours can be a zoo as some families shop as a group to share a membership and their bulk purchases. Have some patience and fun; don't rush and watch out for the flat-bed dollies!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                                                          This is why 90% of the time I shop at Costco on weekdays preferably before noon. It's horrible on the weekends, so I avoid it at all costs then.

                                                                        2. I looked through these replies quickly, but don't think anyone mentioned the wine. Top notch labels are very reasonably priced, and the Kirland label wines are made by top California wineries.
                                                                          Cheese
                                                                          toilet paper
                                                                          soap
                                                                          prime steaks when available (not all the time)
                                                                          roasted chickens
                                                                          chicken salad
                                                                          the $1.50 hot dog and Coke combo
                                                                          vegetables, particularly the bags of small multi-colored peppers
                                                                          big bags of potatoes
                                                                          limes
                                                                          tomatoes

                                                                          19 Replies
                                                                          1. re: steakman55

                                                                            Thanks, everyone! I've made a list from what you suggested and we're going for the 1st time this am. I'll report back!

                                                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                                                              Okay...I LOVE this place! As expected, DH went immediately for the foodsaver that he has always talked about. I bought many things suggested, including the apple pie, large peanuts, garlic bread...etc, etc....total...over $900. We have enough toilet paper to get us through a dysentery outbreak and enough ziplock bags for the rest of our lives. Our freezer is now filled with rack of lamb and prime NY steaks. Thanks to everyone for all suggestion. I wish I had thought of going sooner.

                                                                              1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                Wow! We call it the $100 club (i.e., can't get out without spending that much), but you waaaaaay overdid us! Hope you find everything to your liking.

                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                  I honestly was shocked at how great the prices were and the quality of the samples I had. We had the whitefish salad for lunch and it was excellent. It was a little overwhelming when I first walked in and it was a real effort not to grab huge bags of goodies. What a great place to go if you are having a party.

                                                                                  1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                    One of my favs is the boneless leg of lamb for$4.99 pp, no super market comes close. Sounds like you're stocked up!

                                                                                    1. re: treb

                                                                                      You know, it feels good when the shelves in the basement and the freezer are full. I just get such an uneasy feeling everytime I check out at the grocery store. I've never seen prices for groceries and gas this high and it worries me.

                                                                                    2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                      It's a must if you entertain regularly. We have a number of large barbecue gatherings over the summer and the savings through Costco are substantial.

                                                                                    3. re: pine time

                                                                                      I quit my membership a long time ago because I couldn't walk out without spending over $200.

                                                                                      I've learned to not over buy this time around.

                                                                                    4. re: DaisyM

                                                                                      wow, you really do have a big pantry!
                                                                                      Gonna take you a few months to get back, isn't it?
                                                                                      (no worries, people drive from well over 100 miles away to get to my Costco -- clear from another state. They're the folks that buy 500lbs of flour at once...farmers know when prices are heading up, and they've got plenty of place to store 'em!)

                                                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                        250 miles for me,Last time was in July and am ready for another trip before Thanksgiving,around the Holidays Daisy they really bring in the goodies so stock up on your money,I also bought the new foodsaver really love the newer one,I left Costco with 3 of the rotisserie chicken's cut them up in portions and froze them,just as good as when I bought them,so next time will buy more, I love all there meats ,when I go I bring a huge huge cooler.I so miss my Costco.I also order the meats on line.

                                                                                        1. re: mutti

                                                                                          I was talking to a man who was from Maine (we're in Philly) and he and is family were buying everything for a wedding tomorrow. He showed me the cake, cheese, and deli platters. I thought that was just fantastic that they could have a little family wedding "catered" by Costco.

                                                                                          1. re: mutti

                                                                                            My husband told me to thank the chowhounds for telling me about the apple pie. Also...steaks were far superior to what I've found at Whole Foods. Thanks for that info too!

                                                                                            1. re: mutti

                                                                                              i'm surprised in july ithe food survived the trip!

                                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                sorry for not getting back to you,when I travel to Costco in the summer month's I always put frozen gel pack's in my cooler,plus also buy some of the frozen food's,have a really huge and good cooler as a matter of fact even after arrriving home my gel pack's are still pretty much frozen.

                                                                                                1. re: mutti

                                                                                                  I keep a couple of foam coolers in my trunk at all times. I just came back and had tossed 4 foam ice packs in them on the way there. Kept everything very well chilled on the ride home.

                                                                                          2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                            Oh my gosh - you got me! I totally forgot to list the Ziplock bags - and it's where I stock up once a year. Cannot beat it for the quality and the price : )

                                                                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                              Daisy! David's cookies is sampling their fine cheesecakes and such at our Costco this weekend. Went to the Montco Pa Costco today and lo and behold the cheesecakes are baaack! This week only thru sunday but I am sure they will make a coupla more visits this year yet. The chocolate truffle is my favorite but the pear is very good too. And they let you sample each offering.
                                                                                              It is so hard to keep their cheesecakes in the freezer and take out one small slice to defrost. Got a pear tart slice defrosting now. The crust is buttery with some almond that blooms nicely. Can't believe I only bought one tart. Once I bought three but that was in feb. here in the NE. That is my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

                                                                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                At the Costco in my 'hood, they're around a lot during the holiday season.

                                                                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                  Thank you! I didn't even know that they made cheesecakes. I'll try to get there.

                                                                                          3. Kerrygold grass fed butter-great price and quality. Organic hummus without any nasty oils-only olive oil. Almond butter is a great price and quality. Organic EVOO is high quality and a great price.
                                                                                            If you buy produce and it goes bad-just take it back. They are very easy for returns.

                                                                                            1. I'm single and vegetarian. My Costco essentials:

                                                                                              1. Household products - paper towel, toilet paper, laundry detergent and dish soap
                                                                                              2. Medicine - my insurance covers prescriptions, but Costco is really cheap for OTC drugs as well. My mom buys her Moisturel (moisturizer) OTC there for half of what you'd pay off the shelf at a normal drug store. I've been told you don't need a membership to use the Costco pharmacy.
                                                                                              3. Food - I'm in Canada so it may differ, but my staples include Babybel cheese, parmesan cheese, fat-free plain Greek yogurt, a specific frozen vegetable mix (I'm guessing it's Canadian- Prince Edward Island Blend of beans and carrots, which I roast to styrofoamy perfection), olive oil and green tea.

                                                                                              I have yet to see an incentive to renew my Costco membership in advance (except maybe convenience?), so I always do a big shop right before it expires and then renew it two months later or so, when I need to buy more stuff.

                                                                                              Also, as a Costco virgin, you might want to go at lunch. The samples might just be worth fighting the crowds!

                                                                                              1. I'm not sure if anyone mentioned the vanilla beans? This is a Christmas season product, but I buy enough to last me through the year.

                                                                                                We always buy the big packs of berries when they're in season - way more affordable than any grocery store. They're always good. Probably not as good as farmers markets, but it's hard for us to get to those in the last couple years. In the summer we also buy brisket and pork ribs for bbq.

                                                                                                And we do take the kids on the weekend and make sure to hit all the samples. Then we give them cash to buy an ice cream parfait while I'm waiting to pay for everything, and it's the highlight of their weekend :)

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                  Food: pork tenderloin, wild caught salmon or halibut, chicken breasts, steaks (if we're having a BBQ), 2 lb Brussels sprout bags, pomegranates (already seeded!), blackberries (when not in season), unsweetened almond or coconut milk beverage, organic quinoa, big bags of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans... Wish they had cashews.). Kirkland organic olive oil.

                                                                                                  Fruit and veg trays are great for parties.

                                                                                                  Didn't like: Kirkland plain Greek yogurt. It replaced my favourite Liberte brand :(

                                                                                                  Non- food: contact lenses solution, wrapping paper (Christmas), novels, eye drops, Aveeno body lotion.

                                                                                                  (Edit: Oops, this was meant to be a reply to the OP!)

                                                                                                  1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                    frozen 3berries are great for pies!

                                                                                                  2. Lots of replies covering so many good tips. In Portland, OR, our Costcos carry Oregon-grown organic frozen fruit. The fruit has also been individually frozen, which is a bonus in taste and portioning. Just bought a five pound bag of DELICIOUS frozen, organic Oregon cherries for $5.99. The cherries were so tasty baked in muffins, I'm almost afraid to re-visit the bag of fruit for fear I'll bake up a cherry pie and eat way too much (I love a good cherry pie). I'm sorry I don't remember the brand name (and I've re-bagged it because I don't care for those thin bags frozen fruit often comes in), but it was not Kirkland. Anyway, I've heard really good things about their other frozen fruit, too. All the frozen fruit I've seen there is at amazing prices. My bf loves muffins with fruit in them, and fruit crisps, so the cherries are a treat by themselves in these things or mixed with fresh fruit -- I just threw some of the cherries in with an apple crisp I made with fresh Pink Pearl apples. Thumb's up on frozen items. We also just got into their frozen pizzas, which at four for about $10, are a bargain for decent pizza with a crust that actually tasted like pizza crust (and not cardboard). We don't do a lot of pre-made frozen food, but pizzas are something we often have on standby.

                                                                                                    As other posters mentioned, jugs of olive oil and tinned tomatoes and tomato paste. Dried mushrooms! Excellent price on big jars of tasty dried mushrooms (although not as inexpensive or as many choices as at a lot of Asian grocery stores, but much less expensive than dried mushrooms at a mainstream grocery chain). I have giant jugs of honey from Costco, too, that I use as a general-purpose honey. Oh, and white vinegar -- just grabbed a two-pack of 128 oz. bottles for less than $2.

                                                                                                    For food storage, restaurant-sized rolls of Stretch-Tite food wrap and aluminum foil. Great price for big rolls of parchment paper for baking, too.

                                                                                                    This isn't a food item, but Kirkland dish-washer detergent! Giant bottles, often a coupon in the flyer. And if you need any over-the-counter pain or allergy meds, Costco has dinosaur-sized jars for good prices. I need to go back there at get the million-pill bottle of Allegra for $17.99 soon....

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: team_cake

                                                                                                      "dinosaur-sized jars" will replace my usual "a vat of [product]"! Good one.

                                                                                                    2. Your basic Costco strategy:
                                                                                                      1. If you don't already have one, buy the biggest freezer you can afford/have room for. Yeah, Costco sells those, too.
                                                                                                      2. Empty the trunk of the car.
                                                                                                      3. Bring more money than you would normally take to a store.

                                                                                                      Costco sells heavy-duty zip freezer bags, in quart and gallon sizes, cheaper than anybody. They should be among your first purchases. That way you can take advantage of the rather large meat packages, repacking them into meal-size portions and freezing them.

                                                                                                      Consider the Executive Membership. The refund it gets you each year will pay your membership fee, even though it's double the usual annual fee. You just need to spend $2,000 a year ... not hard, considering that Costco sells gasoline, tires, eyeglasses, major appliances, cabinetry, vacations and vehicles along with the usual stuff.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: emu48

                                                                                                        At check out we were told it would be a good idea to upgrade so we did. I have to mention that the prime NY strip steaks were excellent. The roasted red peppers were superior to TJ.

                                                                                                        1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                          gotta tell you daisey you don't have to buy the prime steaks the regular ones are just as good,never had a bad one,and the flavor is there,also don't forget the toilettries,I got the Kirkland natural citrus body wash,fantasic,plus it comes from Canada not from China, will buy more next trip,plus check out the spices,kirklands brand,most are from the U.S.A.

                                                                                                          Im very vigilant about buying from China,wont do it unless I have to.The Kirkland 4 cheese ravioli are also very good.

                                                                                                          1. re: mutti

                                                                                                            Totally agree with you re China!

                                                                                                        2. re: emu48

                                                                                                          we just bought a car through their auto buying program, and it was terrific! We did tons of research beforehand, so we knew a good deal when we got one through CostCo.

                                                                                                        3. The Castalvetrano olives are a great deal and the pitted Kalamata are good, too.

                                                                                                          The beef is good quality. Boneless short ribs are great. I have grilled them for work functions is various marinades and they are a huge hit. My usual by is the sirloin as they are much better than the Seattle area grocery store quality and still at a good price. Prime rib roasts are usually around for the Holidays and are so good. The prime New York and Rib Eyes or Sirloins are all excellent. Great lamb prices and the pork tenderloins and ribs are both really good.

                                                                                                          Cheeses: sliced havarti, sliced muenster, jarlsberg, bergen ost, cambozola, coastal cheddar. The delice de Bourgogne is pretty amazing if you like triple cream.

                                                                                                          The Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive oil or the Tuscan is even better. The Balsamic Vinegar is excellent.

                                                                                                          If you see Gertie's Artichoke Tapenade it is great stuff.

                                                                                                          The jarred oysters are really good and so is the pickled herring.

                                                                                                          We get the fresh pack boneless skinless chicken breasts. 2 breasts per pack and freeze well. They have the best price in town on organic or regular.

                                                                                                          Lundgren Organic brown rice is a favorite.

                                                                                                          As already mentioned Garafolo pastas are really good and cheaper than I saw them at Eataly :)

                                                                                                          The organic carrot juice is great. Heavy cream and half and half have really good prices.

                                                                                                          With freezer space the scallops sold frozen in the seafood department are worth getting. Nice large scallops wild caught just thaw and cook as you like. The frozen portioned cod and other fish are really good. They are individually packaged 6 ounce portions so very convenient and the quality is really good. We usually go cod but the wild salmon is also good.

                                                                                                          The Wild Planet albacore tuna is excellent and the Kirkland is also really good. The Kirkland canned sockeye is another item worth getting. It makes a great spread with a little sour cream, dill and lemon pepper.

                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: knowspicker

                                                                                                            Should I be ashamed to tell you that we went back to Costco today? It was my husband's idea, so I'll just blame him. We got more of that fantastic whitefish salad and feta. A huge bag of mixed mini chocolate bars for Halloween. We also got a platter of shrimp....very good quality. And my husband snuck in a large box of "tomato pie". We had some for lunch and froze the rest. More steaks that my husband used his now beloved foodsaver on. I took more suggestions and got frozen scallops, 3 berry mix and olives. We now have enough household cleaners, paper towels, plastic bags, etc for a couple of years. Tomorrow we plant the bag of 90 daffodil bulbs. I think they were $9. Have I mentioned that I love Costco?

                                                                                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                              I hope you have their exec membership and AMEX card, both will get you cash back. Last year the cash back paid for my membership and a set of 4 tires.

                                                                                                              1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                The gal at check out was kind enough to tell us to upgrade when she saw how big our first order was. Honestly, I don't enjoy shopping, particuarly in huge stores. The reason I decided to go the first time was when I heard Mrs. Romney talking about how great Costco was. She was right...what an amazing place especially if you have kids or are entertaining.

                                                                                                              2. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                What pray tell is tomato pie?
                                                                                                                and, no, don't be ashamed.

                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                  I'd describe it as a square pizza....without the cheese. Do they serve this in other parts of the country or is it just a Philly thing?

                                                                                                                  1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                    Daisy the first time I heard the term tomato pie was in trenton nj. Did you get your bulbs planted? Lovely day for it. Do you go to the Montgomeryville Costco? If so have you tried the meatloaf and mashed in the refrigerated section?
                                                                                                                    The people at Montco are awesome! One of the "baggers" caught a moldy lemon in our net bag of lemons and another dude ran to get a replacement bag for us. Now that is service! Try the turkey provolone from the food court. Very solid value

                                                                                                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                      Yes, today we planted the bulbs and gave some to the neighbors, too. We are going to the Montgomeryville Costoc. I'll be on the look out for the meatloaf. Please let me know if there is anything else you love there!

                                                                                                                      1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                        Ha-Ha sounds like you and hubby are hooked,wanted to also tell you if ever you get something that's not to your liking you can return it without any problem's,and If you guy's like Colombian coffee I highly recommend Kirklands 3 pound can a hell of a deal.Also around the Holiday's look for the Swift bone in frenched pork roast,I stock up on them and portion them off,really a must get.
                                                                                                                        And may I suggest you all look for the pint size food saver bags 9.4 inches long and 4 inches wide really good for smaller portions plus the perforated bags,I couldn't find it around my area ,so had to send of for them,hopefully you'll have more luck.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                          Soon they will be having the peppermint bark at the Montco Costco I hope, and also stuffed brie, usually found in the refrigerated cheese section. I like the price on the presidente brie found year round also. The tiramisu is available all year in fthe frozen dessert section near the vat of frozen creme puffs which I also buy sometimes.

                                                                                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                            How are the frozen cream puffs?

                                                                                                                            1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                              I love the cream puffs. I can get out just two for an indulgent snack just plain or drizzled with chocolate syrup. I used them this summer with berries. Very handy convenient and tasty.

                                                                                                                              1. re: DaisyM

                                                                                                                                with the storm coming your way you need to run to costco to buy yourself's a generator,hopefully your not in harms way,but it will keep your investments from spoiling,
                                                                                                                                wish you the best let us know how you all are.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mutti

                                                                                                                                  Was thinking about laying in a case of bottled water and a case of canned soup or beans myself. Someone on the radio was advising people to make sure they had a manual can opener. Good thought. I smiled because I hate electric can openers and love my manual wall mounted opener.
                                                                                                                                  Costco is so nice about returns that they would likely take back anything that went bad. But it's not that warm here in the NE so a few bags of ice would probably keep your frozen foods frozen and your refrigerated foods cool Just watch out for basement flooding.

                                                                                                                  2. re: knowspicker

                                                                                                                    Jarred oysters? Tell me more. Are these like smoked or just shucked oysters? Does costco sell tubs of shucked oysters to use for frying? If so, any idea on price?

                                                                                                                  3. I just picked up a small jar of saffron at Costco. Not too expensive, but more than I'd spend (unbudgeted) at the grocery store. I'm excited to experiment!

                                                                                                                    And my local store has the vanilla beans already! I'll be stocking up!

                                                                                                                    1. Can you browse Costco before you join?

                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                        Yes, just go to the service desk and ask.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                          or in most--maybe all--states, the pharmacy is available to non members, I believe (there's a thread somewhere that discusses), so you can tell them you're going to the pharmacy.

                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                            why say that? they have no issues with browsers who are thinking of getting a membership.

                                                                                                                            1. re: treb

                                                                                                                              yes they do in Vancouver BC downtown at the stadium location (an urban use the elevator type of location) -- it's a no-go --- cannot browse w/o membership - i tested it once after reading it on Chowhd. the front door greeter had issue so i tested further (all while on video, i know!) - the service counter said same NO.

                                                                                                                              that said, because it's next to the big pro sports stadium they do let you go in and get cheap hot dogs and pop (soda) and pizza slices or something like that. But that's right at the main entry, a bit diff than i've seen in suburban Costco locations.

                                                                                                                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                          Maybe this goes without asking, but if you browse and see an item or two that you like do you have the option of purchasing them with an added fee without purchasing the membership? If memory serves me correctly Sam's Club used to let non-members shop and purchase items but then added on a 10 percent charge to the final bill.

                                                                                                                          1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                            no, this is not allowed. $50 is a small price compared to how much most people shop at costco (buying gas, buying tires, buying cars...)

                                                                                                                            1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                              If you know someone with a Costco membership, have them purchase a gift card for you. You can then visit the store, make purchases, and I am pretty sure you can purchase more than the value of the gift card. Just remember that Costco doesn't accept most credit cards (just the ones issued through them), but accepts debit cards and cash.

                                                                                                                              1. re: littleflower

                                                                                                                                After my membership expired a couple of years ago, Sam's club wouldn't let me purchase without first renewing.

                                                                                                                              2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                Remember too that if you are dissatisfied you can have your membership refunded. So if you end up deciding toward the end of the year that the membership cost wasn't worth it to you, you can have the membership cancelled and fees refunded. It's pretty risk-free to try it out -- unless you wt addicted ;)

                                                                                                                              3. Their Kirkland brand diet green tea is pretty tasty too. I also seeing they are restocking their roast pepper tomato soup.

                                                                                                                                1. Our Costco was out of pumpkin pies today Daisy! It was strange to see the two huge empty refrigerated bins in Montgomeryville Pa. People were traumatized. One unhappy member took a bakery dude over to show him the yawning abyss where the pies used to be. The dude was in disbelief. He said they had baked hundreds today.
                                                                                                                                  Later during my perilous mission I heard someone on his cell phone claiming that they were baking more.
                                                                                                                                  I did pay a dollar more a pound for a seasoned rack of pork all ready in a roasting pan, right next to the regular racks of pork. People were pawing through the rib roasts as well. They were not gargantuan so the prices for them were less heart stopping. Plus I think people were making a bird and a roast for the big day.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                                                                    Those pies are a deal anytime of the year, not to mention Thanksgiving! Gota be fast.. Actually, most of their bakery is a good value. I'd hate to be there today.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                                      The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest grocery shopping day of the year. /tremble. And I'm almost out of birdseed which I like to buy from Costco. And kitty littler. Oh well, at least there will be samples. /dons heavy armor. Hmm maybe the birds and kitty can make due til friday beach chick. That way momma gets a cookbook!

                                                                                                                                  2. Don't forget the fab cookbooks they give out while supplies last on the Friday after Thanksgiving...
                                                                                                                                    Cooking the Costco way...great cookbook using items bought in Costco..