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Dec 7, 2012 09:28 AM

Let's build a best-of list for grocery store products

Hello --

I would love to know what products (and brands of products) people purchase at the usual grocery stores -- Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods. I often see lists of specialty offerings available by mail order, but I'm curious about the noteworthy items people have found cruising the aisles on their regular shopping trips.

To kick things off: I recently discovered refrigerated almond milk. After doing an informal taste test, I've concluded the best is Harris Teeter's unsweetened vanilla. You can add sugar if you feel it's necessary, though I don't think it is -- it's naturally sweet. It makes a dynamite banana smoothie.


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  1. You know our Giant used to stock Uncle Brutha's hot sauce, but inexplicably quit carrying it. That stuff is delicious. Now whenever we randomly see it, we'll stock up.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mdpilam

      Uncle Brutha's is indeed quite good. he has a website and does mail order if you're really 'jonesing'

      1. re: hill food

        Uncle Brutha's is available at the Whole Foods in Old Town Alexandria. I put that stuff on everything!

        1. re: TMFOtter

          I find a depth in his 'green' that I don't in other commercial sauces. when the storefront (7th and C SE) closed, I was sad. but wholesale distribution is better handled by the pros anyway.

    2. Kerrygold Irish butter and Dubliner cheese
      Berger cookies
      Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
      Wright's applewood smoked slab bacon
      Boar's Head Kosher dill pickles

      All from Harris Teeter.

      18 Replies
      1. re: CDouglas

        For a while I was going to the Harris Teeter near me, on Kalorama in DC, specifically because they carried Berger Cookies. But they don't sell them any more there. I did ask when I first couldn't find them, but it was just somebody working that dept who said, I believe, they were told not to order them any more.

        I'd love to find them somewhere in my normal shopping circuit around here....

        1. re: mselectra

          I go to the Darnestown, MD location and while they stopped carrying them for a time this year they are definitely back now.

          1. re: CDouglas

            I have found that HT is really restricting what they have now. Every time I go now, there are at least one or two items I used to buy there that they no longer carry. And the cheese selection has really gone downhill as well.

            1. re: lalajane

              Wow, this is unfortunate as they used to be my go to for any and all things as they carried a wide variety of most products.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                i have not noticed any changes in harris teeter. product mix (say, hot sauce selection) may vary with poor sellers being dropped (or for some other reason). the product mix does also seem to be tailored to the neighborhood; for example, the harrison street store has a slightly different mix of hot sauces and mustards and pastas than the glebe road store. those stores are no more than three or four miles apart.

                store sizes vary, and the largest store(and therefore best selection in the northern virginia area is the duke street store.

                1. re: alkapal

                  For some reason, most of the grocery stores where I shop have dropped B&M Baked Beans from their shelves and replaced them with the grotesquely sweet line of Bush's beans. This makes me sad and somewhat angry, because Bush's beans suck.

                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                    the bush's vegetarian beans are nice, and not sweet like their other beans.

                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                      that's why I (an admitted control freak) go for the regular plain great northern beans over on the canned vegetable aisle (dried if I have more time) and season/bake them myself.

                      1. re: hill food

                        Me too, black beans usually. But I do like B&M beans now and again and they seem to be disappearing. Life is unfair.

                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                          "nothing ever works in this stinking world"

                          Faye Dunaway's character in 'Barfly' on trying eat stolen green corn.

                          1. re: hill food

                            "A drink for all my frieeeends...!"

                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                              (going OT) She was great, but I can think of so many people that would have been better than him.

                              but that brings up the idea of a small grocer accepting purchases on house account. does anyone do that anymore? there was one in my old 'hood on 4th SE that did for regulars, but they retired and sold to cousins, who I don't think continued the practice. the paperwork/records must have been a pain, but they had a lot of regulars on monthly income who sometimes ran out a few days before the next 'bump' I was surprised as she could be a bit abrupt, If I worked overtime and stopped off for something (and never daily) I was berated "you're late" but then once someone who was clearly a single mom and struggling was dealt with sympathy and tenderness while I did my best to ignore what was going on and 'forget' something I needed to go back and fetch. I'd like to see more of that in stores (I know, ain't gonna happen)

            2. re: mselectra

              Just inside the Beltway, just off Connecticut, is a grocery store called Chevy Chase Supermarket. They sell them - over by the deli counter. Caveat - I haven't been there in three years. But it was a regular item - they always had them.

              I would also try Rodman's.

              1. re: mselectra

                Rocklands Barbecue on Wisconsin Ave. sells Berger Cookies. So does Chevy Chase Market on Connecticut Ave in Bethesda.

                1. re: TMFOtter

                  Chevy Chase Market is SO expensive. Snider's Super Foods (three miles east) is a much better choice.

                  1. re: Mister Big

                    Snider's is a great grocery store -- worth the trip. You never know what you'll find there, at a surprisingly low price. But you always know you'll find first-rate deli (chopped liver, corned beef, roast beef, their own marble rye). They even carry halvah.

                    1. re: Deborah R.

                      They also have great rotisserie chicken.

              2. re: CDouglas

                Sounds like the perfect meal!
                We have a HT nearby in Selbyville DE...thankfully!

              3. harris teeter fried chicken
                giant deli's sesame noodles
                whole foods pizza
                safeway deli's mediterranean orzo salad; safeway store brand cheese-garlic croutons

                1 Reply
                1. re: littlew1ng

                  Costco brand (Aka: Kirkland)
                  Olive Oil
                  Hot Dogs
                  Tequila - available in CA, DE
                  Vodka- "

                2. harris teeter --

                  "brookwood farms" eastern carolina style pork bbq in a pound tub. good stuff. lean and really smoked in siler city, n.c.

                  "honeycup" mustard -- mustard with a hint of honey and a bite. not your typical honey mustard. great with ham on dinner rolls for a party!

                  "eat smart" brand asian salad kit. if you like asian slaws with sesame oil, and crunch from almonds….try this!

                  "amelia springs" *spring* water -- the best bottled water in a gallon jug. giant also has the small cans carbonated, when you want some fizz.

                  1. Hello again --

                    A few more of my faves:

                    * Smuckers line of "Low Sugars" jams. No artificial sweeteners, half the usual amount of sugar but more than sweet enough.
                    * De Cecco olive oil
                    * Silver Palate oatmeal
                    * Wegman's brand whole-wheat pita

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Deborah R.

                      Agree with Wegman's pita.

                      Also reminds me, Wegman's organic air-chilled whole chicken is great (markedly better than any other chicken I've had and that includes at restaurants). Wegman's everything bagels are good for store bought bagels.