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My Aldi experience!

Aldi is not the best for paper goods, or at least in my experience.

Do they even have almond butter?

Butter is decently priced and fine for baking.

May 21, 2015
Dax in Chains

The Cloisters at Sea Island

Thread jack but about to do the annual pilgrimage to SSI. Any new places on SSI that are not to miss beetez? I saw Del Sur and Ember on Yelp. Are they good?

And Erica, I think some of the places on SSI are definitely chowhound worthy. You note Southern Soul, but Tramici, Tuptim, Delaney's, Sal's, Halyard's, CJ's Pizza, etc. are all pretty good albeit not say up to NYC standards by any means. Sure there is a lot of tourist crap that somehow stays afloat, but for such a small coastal island, I think SSI offers some good options

May 21, 2015
Dax in Southeast

My Aldi experience!

Fat Tire is made by New Belgium and is a Red Ale. I'm not a huge fan of reds. Was the Boot Tread good?

May 12, 2015
Dax in Chains

My Aldi experience!

The thin, frozen string beans? They always come out too watery when I cook them. How do you prepare them? They are priced well so I would love to buy them more but so far meh.

Apr 16, 2015
Dax in Chains

My Aldi experience!

Aldi also has gluten free products as well as their own label of organic products (both produce and packaged). This does not fit with your hypothesis "It is about brand x sauce in a can, cheap."

With that said, they have never professed to be farm to table with an emphasis on sustainability. While I think that is important, I can't afford to always pay for that model so Aldi has its place in the world too.

As far as "squeezing their vendors," basic economics suggest that nearly all retail stores squeeze vendors and suppliers in some manner and this includes everyone from the box stores down to your specialty grocer to the extent they can. If the specialty grocer was the size of say Whole Foods, do you think they would just accept their supplier's prices with no regard for cost savings to lure in more customers?

Expensive does not always equal the best quality in my mind either.

I typically shop Publix, Piggly Wiggly, Sam's and Costco, plus Aldi. I frequent Aldi about once every two weeks. We don't have a Trader Joe's yet in Birmingham,AL although I shop at the Athens, GA one on occasion. What do I get at Aldi? A lot. Sometimes it's their $1.50 loaves of multigrain bread, sometimes it's their well priced produce if I plan to use it within a few days, always enjoy their dairy products albeit not specialty (although their aged white cheddar is pretty good) and specifically get a great deal on lactose free milk for $2.79 per half gallon for our 14 month old daughter who goes through 3 per week. That alone saves me well over $4.50/week when compared with Lactaid from my local grocery stores. Also love their unsalted butter for cooking, copy cat girl scout cookies, washed organic greens, some spices (garlic salt, black pepper, crushed pepper, etc), Italian dressing mixes for $50 in a pinch, chocolate, specialty non-grocery items (6 inch Japanese maple for $7???), organic marinara as a base for daughter's pasta dishes, eggs, etc.

With that said, I don't buy much of their frozen products.

Don't like it? Don't go. It has its purpose although it certainly will not replace all of the other places and even the farmers market which we frequent when its open.

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

That's a long way from Alabama.

Mar 30, 2015
Dax in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

Yeah, I was snookered (no tasting station) and bought the large clamshell of strawberries this weekend and they underripe and bitter.

Mar 30, 2015
Dax in Chains

I-59 and I-10 Food Recs? Check this new Chowhound's itinerary.

Urban Standard is not a donut place but possibly it has donuts? What day of the week will you be in BHM?

Mar 17, 2015
Dax in Central South

BHM - Red Bowl

http://redbowlbham.strikingly.com/

Located at the top of the hill on Green Springs (by Pizza Hut), this is a totally different restaurant since it was previously named Korean Barbecue or something like that. While the menu has expanded to include Chinese as well as the historical Korean fare, the focus appears to be more on Chinese, both Americanized and more in the stratosphere of Red Pearl and the new and improved Great Wall.

I stopped in for lunch last Friday and ordered the squid bibimbap which was a huge hot pot filled with plenty of squid, rice, vegetables, etc. plus an array of banchan for enhancing the dish. The food was good even if the squid was likely straight from the freezer. This is when I noticed they also have more traditional Chinese dishes including whole fried fish options, Xiao Long Bao, and ... they serve dim sum on weekends from 10:30 to 3:30. Hot damn!

So we returned on Sunday at 11:30 to try the dim sum offerings. A pic of the menu is attached but on Sunday they had a few more dishes written on the menu as well. They do have cart service, but only two carts, one with the steamed dishes and another with the buns, scallion pancakes, chicken wings, etc. (which were lukewarm at best). This was a drawback as while not crowded, we were apparently the last table to get the cart so it had been picked mostly clean multiple times. Perhaps it would be best if you don't speak Cantonese to order directly from the menu to tell the wait staff what you would like. Anyway, in order of preference, we had the following dishes:

1) braised sparerib with sauce. These actually seemed more fried than braised but they were our favorites. They seemed to be more like the cut of boneless spareribs as you may find on a typical Chinese menu but much better prepared. Ordered off of the dim sum menu.

2) XLBs - thick skin but good amount of soup and seemingly house made. The waitress Friday had stated as such. Ordered off the main menu.

3) thai style chicken (wings). These were excellent but only 3 to the order and only lukewarm by the time the cart came around.

4) a fried eggplant with bean sauce. If this had been hot out of the fryer, it would have been a tie for #2 but it was cold from the cart.

5) A vegetable bun/dumpling from the cart which was still hot and amazing. Our one year old loved this. Spinach and mushrooms.

6) Shanghai spring roll. Ehh.

7) coldish mushroom and something shu mai.

We must have had two more forgettable dishes plus drinks and our total came out to about $48 for 2 adults and a baby. Dim sum is best with a group so everyone tries lots of dishes and gets a bit or two then orders more of the favorites. Still, it's nice to have in town and we will be back.

Service was typical but there was definitely a language barrier asking about some of the items on the cart. Eventually, we just asked them to point them out on the menu if we did not recognize them.

Mar 16, 2015
Dax in Central South

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

We asked someone in the bakery if we could order mixed cake and he said yes, just fill out this form and be specific, which we did. However, we just dropped the form in the box. It's such a deal that we will likely order one again, but call in advance too I guess.

Mar 03, 2015
Dax in Chains
1

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

No doubt they did the right thing with the refund but the right thing would have been to make it as ordered the first time.

Yes, Publix is twice as much here and the specialty bakeries are much higher.

It's just frustrating. Treb or JNK have you ordered mixed chocolate and vanilla like I described? Maybe they just cannot do it and I was advised incorrectly ...

Mar 02, 2015
Dax in Chains

Costco To End Relationship With American Express

I think Sam's Club only takes MasterCard credit cards, not Visas. I could be wrong but that is what all of the signage suggests ...

Mar 02, 2015
Dax in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

Has anyone tried their sheet cakes? We ordered one in a week in advance and asked someone in the bakery department if you were limited to completely chocolate or completely vanilla (with butter cream frosting) and they said no, just make sure you specify how you want the cake made on the order form. The order form has only two options so we wrote "see back" and specified that we wanted a chocolate cake but with vanilla butter cream frosting. We also noted a variation in a standard design. Finally, we also left our cell number on the order form as requested and asked them to call with any questions.

When we picked it up Saturday the day of our daughter's bday party, the whole cake appeared to be 100% chocolate. The lady there pointed out that they changed the design for us (they only had to put her name on it rather than "Princess") so clearly they read the form. Since we had no other choice at that time, we took it home and served it for the party.

When we cut into it, it was definitely chocolate on chocolate.
It was actually quite good and the buttercream was excellent. However, we felt let down as the cake was not what we ordered. I saved a portion and took it back and they agreed to refund the whole price of the cake ($20 for a 1/2 sheet which is excellent) but I am not sure we would order another due to this.

Mar 02, 2015
Dax in Chains

Do you shop at Aldi's?

Agree. Ours has the large jars of Duke's for about $3.50 which is always better than the price at the supermarket.

I sometimes buy their reduced calorie Burmann's or something like that and it's fine added to items, but not on it's own as a condiment.

This is also Coffeebandit's first post on CH. Sounds like an ax is getting ground along with the coffee.

Feb 06, 2015
Dax in Chains

Your disappointing purchases from Costco

I think their farmed trout are pretty good. We portion and freeze and have never had a problem with them tasting fishy. They do not have a ton of taste but are great with a little marinade or glaze.

Feb 02, 2015
Dax in Chains

Your disappointing purchases from Costco

Regional rules must vary as I have been told on multiple occasions that they require the return of a good portion of the product and original packaging. The last time, I was told this about a moldy jar of roasted red peppers when I only had pictures. They basically told me that yes, they expected me to hang on to the jar of moldy product and bring it in when I came for the refund. Ultimately, they provided the refund but not until after they gave me the spiel about needing product back. I realize that some people abuse the system but for the annual fee and amount I spend, I would prefer a little less attitude. I do not imagine that their perishable goods providers require much in the way of physical inventory for their returns and allowances as that would be a logistical nightmare.

Feb 02, 2015
Dax in Chains

Hot chicken in Birmingham, AL

I don't think it exists but I would be glad to be wrong!

Jan 28, 2015
Dax in Central South

Costco prepared entrees in refrigerated section

The chicken alfredo is very rich and good or at least per my multiple samples on site.

Dec 04, 2014
Dax in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014 [OLD]

I wondered if their "soyaki" was just rebranded Soy Vay!

Dec 03, 2014
Dax in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014 [OLD]

NAYYYYYY - Saturday we picked up some of the spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms and thought they were horrible. Wet, mushy and bland with an overwhelming earthy/kale taste. I realize stuffed mushrooms are easy to make but we were in a hurry and figured we would try them for just under $5. I will definitely be asking for a refund as we only ate less than half and tossed the rest.

YAY - dark chocolate and almond bars. What you would expect but they threw in a pack of three since our total came out even at $94.00. I would buy them again.

YAY/MEH - Various wines to since then. Fine but aside from the reserves and the Petite Syrah Reserve, nothing jumps out yet.

Dec 01, 2014
Dax in Chains
1

Declining quality at Costco?

Well, yeah, obviously I do that too.

Nov 25, 2014
Dax in Chains

Costco Food Finds - 4th Quarter 2014

Sadly, not all locations have the pork jerky.

Nov 24, 2014
Dax in Chains

Declining quality at Costco?

I have had the slimy lettuce issue from both Costco and Sam's and the spring mix box could be the exact same supplier. Both are just under $5M for the large plastic clamshell.

Nov 24, 2014
Dax in Chains

Food Scars - Things you will never eat again.

Wow on the Hostess cupcakes. That would squick me out big time.

Nov 14, 2014
Dax in Not About Food

ALDI Stores: Quality Products at Deep Discount??

It has been a while so perhaps I need to give them another shot.

Nov 03, 2014
Dax in Chains

ALDI Stores: Quality Products at Deep Discount??

Hmm, we like their butter ok but tend to freeze a few sticks immediately.

And I thought the sauce on their Mama Cozi pizza was atrocious a few years back but have not tried it again.

Their meats are mostly all brined which I don't like. I do like their "fresh" turkey Italian sausages for use in pastas and such.

Otherwise I mostly agree with you.

Oct 31, 2014
Dax in Chains

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

No, I will have to check it out. The last time I checked mine only had the mush. I will check again soon as it seems I drive the 15 minutes there once a week now.

I noticed they are doing flu shots for $14.99 which is half the price through my work but not as cheap as free through my wife's insurance.

Also, if anyone cares, their price on name brand baby food is comparable to Target's and other's. They accept those manufacturer rebate checks for $5 which the mfgs mail and while the same cost as elsewhere, Costco's Similac, etc. is a larger size. I only wish our baby was not lactose sensitive as their Kirkland formula is the best price for store brand but they do not sell a lactose sensitive one.

Oct 16, 2014
Dax in Chains

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

I agree. My dogs refuse eat plain dry kibble so we typically add a spoonful of wet food (or steel cut oats, or unsalted beef or chicken) to the top to get them interested and then they eat it all. They refuse to eat the canned mush Kirkland brand (although they eat the Kirkland dry lamb) but they love the chunks from alpo prime cuts even though Alpo is anything but prime.

Oct 15, 2014
Dax in Chains

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

Different flavors have different shape. I tend to get the lamb which is tiny flatish discs while the chicken is baked into a larger shape. I have not tried the grain free versions.

Costco now carries the Made in the USA chicken jerky but it's spendy while Sam's has Made in the USA chicken jerky for about $10 but it has a weird feel/consistency. My dogs love them all. They also like those lamb and beef strips which are reconstituted.

Oct 13, 2014
Dax in Chains

Not many gripes about Costco . Is it worth it for one ?

Their Kirkland brand dry dog food is also very solid according to various sites. My lab mutts have eaten it for 3-4 years (mainly the lamb one). It does include brewers yeast and white rice which are questionable fillers but otherwise seems good.

Oct 13, 2014
Dax in Chains