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Dec 13, 2013 01:05 PM

Chicken Special is really special

I usually buy the Chicken Special at Brachs, used to be $10, now $11 for 1 bbq chicken and one side. Not a bad deal (better in Boro Park but hey, for the 5 towns not bad). Gourmet Glatt charges similar but gives no side, just the chicken for $10+. Today I went to Brachs and did not need chicken since I had left over grilled chicken. Finished shopping and my daughter tells me she still want the diet cole slaw so I ordered it. At the checkout line I noticed that the Cole Slaw was priced at over $6! Thinking there was an err I went back to the deli department to correct the price to which he said the price was correct and that is why he asked me are you sure you don't the chicken? I'm no fool, I told him, take off the $6 price from the cole slaw and I'll take the chicken special.

So here we have it. $6 for 1 lb container of cole slaw or add another $5 for a nice hot fully prepared large bbq chicken. Truly a special (or are they overcharging for the side dishes).

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  1. As long as you're OK with spending $5.00 more than you had planned to, then I guess it's a good deal for you.

    4 Replies
    1. re: queenscook

      Made sense to me, simply shifted my plans for my grilled chicken, I will eat that Sunday for dinner. I just couldn't see myself paying $6 for a small container of cole slaw. When I buy a chicken special I am usually buying the chicken and view the side more of a freeish perk.

      1. re: MartyB

        But cole slaw is the easiest thing in the world to make!

        1. re: SoCal Mother

          I know, that is why I culd not bring myself to pay $6 for that alone. My daughter was supposed to go to Brooklyn for shabbos and got cancelled so she was home and there was no time to patchke. She is forever on a diet and usually makes her own cole slaw but was lazy and wanted the cole slaw. I am always surprised when I see people ordering all sorts of side dishes from Brachs/Gourmet Glatt - a small fortune when it is so easy to make sides to a main. As an example, many times I usually throw in a few cups of brown rice in my rice cooker, add a few cups of water and press a button. Amazing when I see "grown people" ordering rice when it is so easy to make. Same goes for barley - barley and boiled water and simmer.

          1. re: MartyB

            Check out the price for a pound of tuna salad at the local places. Sticker shock to say the least.

    2. MartyB, I also go nuts when I see people buying those overpriced side dishes. Here's a way to re-create, for much less money, the egg barley that many take out places sell: sautee some mushrooms and sliced onion until soft and fragrant. Combine the sauteed mix, in an oven safe dish, with one cup egg barley, onion soup mix, salt and pepper, and some margarine (3 tablespoons is sufficient, though you can use more or less depending on your preferences. Smart Balance works too). Add 2 cups of boiling water. Cover, carefully place the dish in a 350 degree oven, and bake for 30 minutes.

      17 Replies
      1. re: absmiller

        I'm going to take a wild leap of faith here and say that probably just about everyone on this kosher board knows how, and has, made almost all these side dishes at home. When we buy them, it's for the convenience.

        I think the prices charged by many kosher places are price gouging of a captive clientele that doesn't have the option of going to the supermarket and buying the same thing for less than half the cost. But that's not the issue here.

        Of course many of these dishes are easy (and cheaper) to make at home. But if it's Friday, and you don't want to deal with more dirty mixing bowls, sauté pans, cutting boards, ingredients spilled on the counter, keeping and eye on the oven timer, etc. take out is the way to go. How the kosher community should deal with the exorbitant pricing is a valid discussion, and I'm all for cooking it yourself - I almost always do - but that's not always the best possible solution for everyone.

        1. re: helou

          Plus, time is money, and to many, the 15 minutes they save not making the coleslaw or whatever is worth far more than $6.00. Do you make more than $24/hour?

          1. re: queenscook

            Not to sound mean, but even our cleaning lady has been paid more than $24 per hour for the last 7 years.

            Time is money, and as an attorney it is the commodity that I sell and bill.

            That said, I am horrified when I see the food bills when these types of items are purchased and not made, I was in the hospital this past week and my wife certainly has enough to deal with without making everything for Shabbos. There were plenty of cooked food choices in our freezer and out teenage daughter went to the kosher butcher/grocer Friday to pick up the fresh accompiaments. I just was going over the receipts she left on my desk and amexperiencing 'sticker shock.' We don't live in an area with choice. One butcher, period. Daughter meant well and her efforts were appreciated. But now she'll be taught about buying Sally Sherman salads in the supermarket for $1.99 lb instead of the butcher dishing out the same product from the showcase and charging $5.49 lb.
            Convenience costs, sometime it costs dearly

            1. re: bagelman01

              And then sometimes people don't mind the extra cost. But, to each his own. I personally stay away from most of the prepared stuff because I don't like mayo.

              1. re: bagelman01

                The surcharge on produce at kosher stores I agree is outrageous. But I'll admit that if it's only one item that I need, and paying an extra couple dollars means skipping a second store, I'll often buy it for the convenience.

                In terms of prepared food, yes some of the dishes are easy to make at home, but if you're getting home at 11pm or later and your options are start cooking for shabbat and not goint to sleep, or go to the kosher store at 7am on the way to working a full day, then that premium is worth it to have to spend no time beyond shopping for shabbat. That 30 minutes spent cooking Egg Barley may not be a big deal if you're home anyway, but if you don't have 30 waking minutes at home before shabbat then it's money well spent.

                1. re: avitrek

                  In our case buying at the kosher store is an inconvenience, 30 minute drive each way minimum.

                  I don't object to my daughter taking the initiative to help mom out while I was in the hospital. BUT>>>now we'll take the time to teach her what product is also carried in the regulkar supermarket, much closer to home and costs less money. She's a relatively new driver and spreading her wings. Hasn't really had to deal with most food shopping and doesn't know the angles. I know that the kosher store buys Sally Sherman product in 10 pound pails and puts itt in trays in his showcase charging $5.49 lb. In my day in the kosher deli business (35 years ago, we bought the 30 lb pails and charge 99 cents lb). The IGA right in our neighborhood stocks 1lb containers of the same Sally Sherman product for $1.99 or 3lb containers for $4.99. Same product, cheaper, closer and fresher.
                  I don't mind that she bought something made at the kosher store and it's expensive. That's paying for convenience, BUT paying way more for the same thing and having to drive an extra hour doesn't make sense.
                  Living out of town and its shopping situation cannot be compared to living in major Jewish areas. Our kosher butcher wouldn't bother carrying that overpriced produce, no kosher grocery stores have existed here for decades.

              2. re: queenscook

                I suppose it was unnecessary of me to post a relatively simple recipe that everyone knows. I'm well aware that sometimes people don't have time to cook something from scratch and so they pay extra money for the convenience of buying something prepared. I'm often one of those people. I'm also aware that when I buy egg barley, I'm not just paying for ingredients, but also for someone else's labor, the store's operating costs, and so on. Sometimes I'm okay with that. But when I have the time, I'm not, and I make my own egg barley. I'm sorry my post sounded judgmental towards people who don't have time to cook.

                1. re: absmiller

                  I'm not so sure you were wrong. These are impulse purchases. You walk into the store. You have a shopping list, healthy commitments, thrifty intentions, but you're tired, maybe hungry, the display is attractive and it's easy to find yourself picking up a container of this and a lb. of that and perhaps regretting the cost and the calories afterwards.

                  1. re: AdinaA

                    I get the barley. Sometimes chopping and cooking onions is work, sometimes you don't have a real kitchen. I buy packaged soup and frozen kasha varnishkes pretty often.

                    But if you keep the ingredients for regular and "oriental" cole slaw in the house you can grab a bag of cabbage and make a nice salad on Sat. morning before shul. I also keep a bag of deli in the freezer for "emergencies."

                    NearEast boxes of rice pilaf or couscous can even be made in a non kosher oven by pouring the contents and water into a double wrapped pan and baking it.

                    1. re: SoCal Mother

                      Instant couscous (white or whole wheat) doesn't even need a pan, just a bowl and a source of boiling water. Sometimes I top it with thin sliced mushrooms and green onions before pouring the water over, so the heat of the boiling water lightly cooks the veg.

                    2. re: AdinaA

                      I've done that. Few weeks ago I was in pomegranate with my daughter on a Thursday. I was running late, dinner wasn't ready, and when she asked for chicken, the answer was sure no problem. Ended up buying a piece of grilled chicken, some broccoli and a container of tabbouleh. Yes- I could have easily made it at home. But sometimes it's worth it...

                    3. re: absmiller

                      I appreciate the recipe. I've never heard of or tasted egg barley. (I'm not ashkenaz, and my exposure to the food has been bad cholent at parties)

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        i believe that egg barley is not really barley, but rather a pasta shaped like barley. I think it tastes like that large grain Israeli couscous. (those round balls)

                        1. re: SoCal Mother

                          Egg noodles are deeply central European. Eggs are cheap protein. Plus, if you had too many eggs, turning them into "egg barley" was a way to preserve them in a shelf-stable, make-ahead dish. It was not only thrifty, it was close as your great-great-grandmother came to having a convenience food in her pantry.

                          1. re: SoCal Mother

                            You are correct, of course. It's only called barley because it mimics the shape of barley. I'm pretty sure that in Italian "orzo" means barley too, and we know orzo as a pasta.

                            1. re: SoCal Mother

                              Thanks for the explanation. I make israeli couscous often- with onion & chickpeas!

                      2. re: helou

                        What I find perplexing is that the price of raw chickens appear for the most part to be almost the same or more than the Brachs chicken special not even taking into consideration the cost of the side that is being thrown in. I was at Gourmet Glatt today and RAW chickens were $10+ I have a hard time justifying paying $10-$12 for a raw chicken when I get a delicious ready made one (with a side) for $11. So the "special" in question two fold, one not having to cook the bird and getting the "free" side dish.

                    4. What is the difference between regular coleslaw and "diet"?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: CloggieGirl

                        There is something sometimes called "health salad" in which shredded cabbage (sometimes along with shredded carrots, green peppers) is "slawed" with vinegar but no mayonaise is added.

                        1. re: AdinaA

                          That "health salad" is my favorite.
                          I think smitten kitchen has a recipe for it. Made it once, didn't realize how much it would actually make. Husband refused to touch it and I ended up eating it for lunch every day till it was gone!

                        2. re: CloggieGirl

                          It frequently has artificial sweetener.

                          1. re: CloggieGirl

                            Low fat mayo & Splenda or sweet n low instead of mayo & sugar