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roasted chickens in the east bay

I want to make a chicken mole for a big party. Cutting corners, I may buy chickens and add shredded meat to the sauce. What are the best places to buy roasted chickens in the East Bay?

The price is right @ Costco, but the sodium/seasoning pitch is not a happiness. Which is to say, I'm interested in a flavorful, moist bird that doesn't break the bank.

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  1. Colusa Market in Kensington has a very good version. Not always available, so call ahead. Mi Tierra's is ok -- pre-packaged like Costco's and probably the cheapest around. There's also Magnani and Poulet, but I haven't tried either of those in years.

    1. Ver Brugge on College Ave has roasted chickens daily and also sells the leftover birds the following day in the cold case--not sure but those might be less expensive. I have liked their roast chickens quite a bit, although Berkeley Bowl's are my favorite. But BB's are smaller and I think cost more, so may not meet your needs.

      1. Cafe Rouge has a tasty one but herbs under the skin might be odd with mole.

        1. The ones I've tried are all pretty middling. Costco gets top marks for moistness and price but they are salty. Mi Tierra is probably #2 for me: Rocky but also on the salty side. BB is #3: flabby skin but meat has flavor and isn't dry. The ones I wouldn't recommend are: Whole Foods, Ver Brugge, Magnani--dry meat, little flavor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rubadubgdub

            Also to be avoided (unfortunately) is Smokey J's - way way too salty.

          2. How many chickens do you need? Because it seems to me that it's not much more work to roast four chickens (or however many your oven(s) will hold) than it is one, and not much more time consuming than driving somewhere to buy the chickens.

            1. Market Hall in Rockridge. They may seem pricey but are a much bigger bird than Cafe Rouge and taste better. Salt level is just right.

              1. Seconding the Market Hall recommendation. I've had these and Ver Brugge ones a couple of times and the Market Hall ones were better. I don't even try the Whole Foods birds anymore--always really disappointing.

                Now that I've lead with that and everyone has had a chance to fetch their pitchforks and spark their torches... Safeway's roast chickens are pretty tasty and the price is hard to beat. The skin is salty but the rest is fine--seems like it doesn't seep in too much. Leftovers make a great soup. I've bought often from Grand Ave. and Rockridge locations, once in Alameda, and the quality has always been good. Make sure to not grab a herb-seasoned one by accident!

                2 Replies
                1. re: lakemerritter

                  Safeway has two levels of chickens. The cheaper one is good, better than Costco, about $7 but occasionally on sale for $5. It has a lot of herb seasoning but is not too salty.
                  The more expensive one is called "Open Nature" -- it is less seasoned than the regular one, tastes great. I think it is about $10 but is occasionally on sale.
                  I am a big fan of these birds; they taste better than Whole Foods' and I buy them when they are on sale.

                2. I drove past Au Poulet today in Berkeley. I used to enjoy their birds, but it's been a while.

                  Any recent reports?