Grocery outlet June/July 2017

TCHO 400g milk chocolate sampler pack, $10

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400g? how many bars were there? Regular sized bars?

Niman Ranch uncured- $2, 3oz (PA):

soppressata,
pepperoni

Scored some really good wine values at the Costa Mesa store during a 20% off sale last month. A new location just opened in Tustin, which is a bit closer to me, so I need to check it out. Some of the reviews I’ve read are not all that compimentary re regular grocery items. Any thoughts?

If they are there all the time, they can’t really be good stuff at great prices. Either good stuff at decent price (e.g. I sometimes get Dave’s Killer Bread there since I pass by a GO almost every day), or meh stuff at their regular price.

Mini TCHO, 7.5g per bar (mocha, regular milk chocolate , and a Third flavor I can’t recall). This was at the S Van Ness location. It’s a good deal but for the pile of wrappers now on the floor.

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Could you re-state that? I’m not really sure what you mean. If ‘who’ or ‘what’ is there “all the time”? What does how often something or someone is there have to do with its quality or value?

GO specializes in closeout deals - products that were slow sellers, random odd lots, perishables getting close to their sell by date, etc. These appear in the store and then go out of stock, usually within a month or less. They are often deeply discounted items of medium to high quality. They are why people interested in gourmet products shop there, but they disappear pretty fast because the quality/price ratio is so high that everyone cleans them out.

But GO also fills out its store with other items so people can shop there for regular grocery needs too - stuff like bread, canned goods, dry beans, probably most of the frozen foods, produce, etc. These are usually of middling quality at best and are usually not odd lots - you see them in stock all the time at GO. The prices are usually often lower than Safeway, but are not an especially good value relative to the odd lots above.

Thus usually the products found on GO’s shelves fall into a few categories:

-Limited-time items that are great values and disappear quickly
-Regular items that are meh values and don’t disappear
-Occasionally, limited-time items that turn out to be still overpriced, or turn out to be crappy products nobody wants - these can take longer to vanish from the store. (For instance, the Mr. Beer homebrew kit I bought on a lark in December at 75% off turned out to be total junk, to the point where I am probably going to call the manufacturer and ask for a refund. The Geary GO still had a few on the shelves in May.)

So… in short, the best deals there are on close-outs that don’t last long in stock. Otherwise it’s just product on which they’re competing with every other market? My experience there has only been with wine, so that may be a strong suit for them.

It is - and that wine is usually on closeout! They have a handful of brands that seem to be regularly on the shelves (I see Michel-Schlumberger California wines all the time) but in general, it’s not like Trader Joe’s or Safeway, which have a regular stable of brands that are consistently available year-round. I personally prefer the GO approach because the wines are interesting enough and cheap enough to be worth the gamble - at GO you’ll see stuff like Slovenian pinot grigio or discounted Pineau des Charentes or random huge pouches of wine for dirt cheap.

(GO actually doesn’t usually have great deals on beer - I suspect because the shelf life is too short to make beer closeouts a viable business. They did have a 24-pack of cheap suds for $7 the last time I wandered in, though.)

Just picked up 8 bottles of different wines around $5-$7. We’ll see. This is a brand new store that just opened a few days ago so I wasn’t sure what I’d find. Almost everything looked like obscure ‘joker’ wines to me (produced at large facilities and labeled for whoever orders them) but I could be wrong. What I didn’t see were labels that looked like the closeouts my son found at their Costa Mesa store a month or so ago. Those were older vintages than what I found today and included labels I could Google and find original retails many times the marked price.

We try these unknowns all the time at Trader Joe’s in search of gems, so I took a chance, but am not expecting much more than a good $10 bottle for $5. That’ll be OK if a few are worth repeating. The Costa Mesa buy included a few things that sold at 20% or less of original retail. I don’t know if this new store couldn’t get wines like that or just chose to go with jokers. Maybe we’ll get lucky.

The stores are franchises and GO franchise owners have some control over the products. I’ve noticed some variability between the SF stores in terms of which wines are sold at each - seems like the stores in wealthier neighborhoods might think their customers are more risk-tolerant with their wine purchases. You might want to ask your local store if they have anyone in charge of the wine section. Also, check out the bloggers at https://grossoutwine.wordpress.com/ for an idea of what might hit your store.

I have had some busts at GO in terms of wine buys, but most of the bottles I’ve tried were at least drinkable, and interesting to boot. GO in SF seems to get quite a lot of decent Spanish and Portuguese wine - perhaps we’re benefiting from Europe’s long-running wine lake.

Bought a bunch of stuff today. But the item that made me post:

Steuve organic pastured eggs, dozen. $4.99 @ Palo Alto. usually goes for $4 more elsewhere. The hens must be laying a lot these days with the warm weather.

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Random things I’ve bought over the last month or so…

  • Tillamook ice cream, lots of flavors, $1.99/pint. I bought 4 pints and so far have tried the hazelnut fudge gelato and the california peach cobbler frozen custard. Thought both were pretty good despite containing stabilizers like guar gum. Has anyone tried the California pistachio flavor?
  • North Coast passion fruit/peach berliner weisse, $4.99. I thought this was excellent, and my friend who only enjoys sour beers liked it too. It’s only about 50 cents cheaper at GO than at Trader Joe’s, though.
  • Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, almond/regular varieties, $3.99 for value size (24 oz? It’s a big box). Fine, but the almond flavor at least has a prominent cinnamony taste that I’m not crazy about.
    *Pepperidge Farm Milanos, various prices. The double chocolate variety are good. Do NOT get the Boston Cream Pie “Milano Melts” - these are hideous, one of the worst products I’ve tried in years.
  • Rizzoli brand anchovies, multiple varieties, can’t remember the price but didn’t seem expensive compared to Roland anchovies in the jar. Tried the Adriatic anchovies, pretty good. Also bought the Cantabrian and spicy varieties.
  • La Croix apricot sparkling water (also consistently have lemon/grapefruit/tangerine flavors in stock) - good but they raised the price from $3.99/12 to $4.59/12, which is often not as cheap as the sale price at Target and maybe Safeway as well

Bought but not yet sampled:

  • an 80/20 blend of sunflower and grapeseed oil, something like $6 for 1.5L.
  • Wise potato chips, barbacoa tacos flavor, 99 cents for a big bag (they also have chili cheese dog flavor)
  • Inexpensive gouda and blue stilton cheeses
  • Weird SprinJene brand toothpaste with “black seed oil” (I guess nigella aka black caraway seed?), 99 cents for about 5 oz
  • Pacific brand almond milk, something like $1.50/quart which is slightly cheaper than TJs store brand

They have the Vallee de l’Ourthe jams again, but since I still haven’t opened the ones I bought a couple months ago in the same strawberry and raspberry/rhubarb flavors, I passed. Also spotted lots of McCann’s oatmeal for cheap. The Krave jerky types they carry are getting fancier and fancier - now they have a whole bunch of the “artisanal” flavors, including cabernet sauvignon/rosemary.

So far, I like the Mission location but feel like one can still find slightly more gourmet items at the Geary store - and there is occasionally weird variation in price between the two.

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I just ate some Tillamook Oregon hazelnut chocolate icecream and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Agreed. Cheese and meat selection is especially weak at the Mission location.

Oh, how were the regular Pepperidge Farm Milanos? The ones I got a month ago were stale.

Still working in my wine buy but so far only one of the three we’ve tried is worthy of s possible repeat. On a second visit I bought a New Zealand Sauv Blanc for$3.99 that had a large screen-printed deer on the bottle. Took it to the kids’ but never drank it. They had it a couple days later and said it was as good as the $6-$8 SBs they get at TJ’s.

We DID find large jars of Nalley’s whole garlic dill pickles for $2.99. Pickles are kindof a personal taste thing but we love them and went back for four more jars. Noticed that the large stacks of wine specials that had been there a few weeks before were replaced by new ones. Must be doin’ some wine biz.

I bought some of those Wise Barbacoa chips too. $.99 seemed like a steal! Unfortunately, I didn’t like them all. Weird flavor and slightly stale. I put them in the green bin

Mission:

Green and black, assorted bar collection $8.99
Gastronomiche arcobaleno or orecchiette $1.99

Grocery Outlet, Richmond CA on July 17

2:35 slideshow with music

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I don’t but much prepared food, rather veggies are my go to… Last Thursday the Redwood City GO had some fabulous buys including live lettuce trios for 99 cents!!! Incredibly fresh, delicate & tasty. Not the best photo, but you get the idea! Wish they had them all the time…

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold