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Grocery Outlet - April 2015

The Van Duzer rose is crisp, liberally and delicious.
Picked up some of the Minervois as well, but haven't opened one yet.
WS tasting notes sounded yummy. Might just take it camping next weekend.

Friend coming home to Richmond, VA

Hi everyone,

A dear friend is moving back after 10 years in the SF Bay Area with her vegetarian daughter. What are the new "must visit" places for everyday eating for folks on a tight budget? My friend isn't technically veggie, but her kid is pretty serious about it.
Thanks in advance.

Nov 25, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Mid-Atlantic

Old Wine Geek Fest for 4th of July: Tasting Notes (long)

Hello everyone,

One of my regular customers at work (TJ's) asked me if I'd like to have some random wines from the 70's & 80's he had found in someone's basement. I said sure it could be fun to see if any of them held up.

So what appeared was some original Inglenook, a Bourgogne and Ch. La Riviere, a Carneros Saintsbury as well as an obscure Italian varietal from CA and a Retsina (which we didn't open). Got a few multiples including the Saintsbury which I've promised to take up to the winery and share with them.

Invited a few folks who would be into the process, but it worked out to be just myself and my co-worker and fellow wine guy from the El Cerrito store. Since there aren't that many of these bottles out there anymore, I thought it'd be fun to share with y'all. Here goes:

Chateau de la Riviere: 1970
Moldy cork, first time using a two prong opener, unfortunately pushed cork in.
Brick color around edge, vinegar on nose
Red wine vinegar on the palate, but pleasant
Too bad I didn't have a crowd handy so I could make a salad

Inglenook Napa Valley Gamay Beaujolais: 1977
Slightly moldy cork but fairly intact
Brick to burnt orange on edge
Slight fruit on the nose: plum & prune
Musky, earthy, a little burnt toast with a dash of fruit left, not bad

Inglenook Napa Valley Gamay Beaujolais:1981
Less mold on cork but darker brick in color than 1977
Smelled like sherry
Dry sherry with vinegar notes on the palate

Bourgogne Ch. Bardin: Cote d' Or: 1983
(didn't note cork condition)
Brick on the edge to a light red in the middle
Earthy old barnyard on nose
Prune/plum fruit on the palate, surprisingly bright considering its age
Apricot on the finish

Inglenook Napa Valley Zinfandel: 1978
Cork intact and in good shape, no mold
Slight brick around edge
Sherry on the nose
Sherry around the edges on palate, impressive/interesting tannins considering the age of the wine, but not harsh
Prune, plum and slight red fruit on palate with a surprisingly nice finish

Cadenasso California Grignolino: Vintage ???
Cork in good shape, but unfortunately pushed it in
Brick/burnt orange around the edge, but darker in the middle
Sherry on the nose
Tart red fruit (pomegranate/raspberry) slight sherry finish, not bad

Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir: 1987
Cork & bottle in good shape with lots of sediment stuck to the side where had been laying all these years
Brick around the edges
Sherry and earthy on nose
Sherry, cherry, bright fruit on the palate with a earthy/smoky finish
A wee past its prime, but quite tasty
We actually drank the rest of the bottle

Hope y'all had a Happy 4th. I know I did!

Jul 05, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Wine

Grocery Outlet -- April 2014

Hi Ruth,
The Ste. Chappelle was not my favorite. I think I ended up returning it because it was flat & sweet. The Cline Mouvedre Rose for $4.99 is probably gone, but great. At Oakland, Steve recommended a 2007 Maorou Northern Rhone Syrah, Carignan & Grenache Blend: $6.99 and a Maddalena Sauvignon Blanc Paso Robles: $2.99. I also got the Rocland Grenache Barossa Valley: $5.99, a NZ Pinot Noir: $6.99 and a Wolf Blass Dry Riesling: $4.99.
Grand total for 9 bottles after 20% & tax: $41.78. Now I gotta start drinking some so I'll have room for more deals ; )

BBQ Caterer needed in Orinda in May, 65-80 people

Look into Bo's in Lafayette. Close, really tasty and your neck of the woods. (Not cheap)

TRADER JOE'S:Microwave friendly

Here are a few things we did on our last road trip and other suggestions:

Fresh section:
Curried Chicken Salad with Flatbread
Microwave tray of asparagus
Cajun Blackened Chicken Alfredo
Chicken Enchiladas
BBQ Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket or Chicken
Pancetta, Peas and Pasta
Balsamic Chicken breast (the Lemon is good too)
Lemon Chicken Salad
Spinach Salad in a bag with goodies
Just Chicken (you could add it to the above salad, etc.)
Meat lasagna

Indian meals
Mac n cheese
Bean & Cheese burritos

If the store you're shopping at while you visiting has the individual pretzels, use those as buns for the BBQ meats, delicious!

And there's always the option of amazing cheese, salami, crackers and a lovely glass of wine ; )

Mar 26, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Interesting & really tasty regional cusine in Salt Lake City or Provo?

Cool! So it looks like the Comfort Suites at the airport will be our base and we'll drive the 7 miles over to the in-laws' house.
Found a few interesting places I'd like your opinion on: Navajo Hogan, Pat's BBQ, Siegfried's, Hires Big H and Hatch Family Chocolate.

Interesting & really tasty regional cusine in Salt Lake City or Provo?

We're pretty open but need to find things recognizable to an 11 yr old. American, Thai, German, Mexican, Italian (my husband LOVES pizza) BBQ Budget: anywhere from $5-18 or so per person.
Our family lives in South Salt Lake, so closer options would be nice. However if the food is super good, we'd make the effort.
Also looking for a place for a "Meet all of our extended family" dinner. Is Lion House or Big Apple Pizza reasonably eatable or would you suggest something else?

Interesting & really tasty regional cusine in Salt Lake City or Provo?

Howdy folks,

I didn't see a lot of current posts, so I thought I'd create a new thread.

Visiting family this summer (we're from SF Bay Area) and looking for reasonable priced tween friendly places that are unique to the area or too delicious to miss. Mostly lunch and dinner, but if you have a fantastic diner breakfast to recommend, I'm all ears. Thanks!

Do TJ's differ drastically in different regions?

Each region has access to different products. Each Section Order Writer in each store has the ability to select items from their region's Order Guide. There are many agreements which can differ from state to state. As far as wine goes, the availability of certain wines depends on quantity. In N.CA we are close to many wineries and therefore get things folks on the East Coast won't get and vice versa. BTW, the "Chuck-it-in-the-bucket" has been $2.71 including tax since Jan 2013 in CA. It's gross. No good bulk wine goes into it any more. For $2.99 the private label from Chile: Vinas Chilenas is infinitely better.

Feb 23, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay - February 2014! [OLD]

Yeah, our whole Crew love these crackers. Thinking a lovely creamy cheese as well as some delicious bubbly would be an ideal compliment.

Feb 21, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's new app

Easier said than done. Each region has access to different products/price points and each store has the option of carrying items or not. Also, items change out so frequently it would take a good sized team in each region to keep on top of things.

I wish they waited until all platforms were supported and it actually did something useful. Kinda embarrassing on Launch Day when folks were treated to App-etizers (groan) and they wanted us to talk it up but didn't explain what it did.

Feb 12, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Sam Lipp blind-tastes all eight Charles Shaw wines

Wasn't it the Orange County Fair?
Anyways, it still is my nemesis at work and I try to steer those folks towards South America for better quality/value.

Jan 09, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Wine

Trader Joes... Please, just ring up my groceries.

It's company policy to be interactive and pleasant. Everyone has their own way of achieving it and some folks are louder than others about it. If you'd rather be accosted by rudeness or indifferent silence, there are plenty other places to shop.

Which Trader Joe's Holiday Items do you wish they had year-round?

I think the pie crusts are year round now and the chocolate chips definitely are. The Triple Ginger Brew is seasonal but was so popular I heard something about trying to make an everyday version. Keep your eyes open.

Jan 09, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - January 2014!! [OLD]

Watch out and read those labels folks. Many products are more than one serving and some salads including blue cheese can have up to 50 grams of fat.

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - January 2014!! [OLD]

Yeah, the basic policy is that you MUST have a receipt for Alcohol & Vitamins Returns but its not really needed for other items. Helpful and great if you have it, but not really necessary.

Jan 09, 2014
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Oregon Wine Country vs. California Wine Country (Sonoma)

Yeah, especially if you go to King Estate outside of Eugene.
As we went up the quality/price ladder with their Pinot Gris, the difference was amazing. Had a nice tasting and you can do lunch which was tasty and didn't break the bank. It is in the middle of nowhere, so you have to drive for a while, but it's worth it.

Dec 27, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Wine

No Pound Plus 72% at TJs??????

Hi Ruth,
No really, the computer and weekly bulletin only give us minimal information about reasons for a item's availability. When something goes TOS (temporarily out of stock) Corporate rarely has a definite time table of when that item will come back into stock. And Customs does hold things up occasionally.
At least the 72% Pound Plus bar is back, but I'll have to check on the 3 packs.

Dec 05, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's--Best Holiday/Seasonal Items--2013

Oh, I forgot, the Taste Test box of Caramels are in. Intriguing flavors, some better than others, could be a nice stocking stuffer for $5.99(CA)
For my money though, the Dark Chocolate Salted Caramels are still the best and I can't wait for them to finally get here.

Nov 20, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's--Best Holiday/Seasonal Items--2013

Maybe it depends on when you bought it. My 2012 batch is the same as your 2013. Still delicious, but if you'd like it a little more bittersweet, add some of the TJ's cocoa powder.

Nov 20, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

No Pound Plus 72% at TJs??????

Nah, it's just a new seasonal product. Perhaps the 72% chocolate might have been used for a lot of the new dark chocolate seasonal items and its taking a while to make more bars? I'll see what I can find out.

Nov 20, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Tea Tasting in SF or East Bay

+1 on Leland's. If the owner is in and its not too busy, he might help you make your own blend. Best price in town for High Tea as well.

Trader Joe's Beef

Thanks for keeping the facts straight Cathy!

Nov 13, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

You can always call the next nearest store and ask about items. Save yourself the drive if they don't have it.

Nov 13, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

Imagine having to work around them all day...not my favorite.

Nov 13, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Should I get a Costco membership?

Don't forget the about a dollar a pound savings on butter. Yes, you have to buy 4 lbs.at a time, but I just pop the other 3 lbs. in the freezer. I shop for my family of three about once or twice a month, mostly protein, cheese, dairy, eggs, OJ and occasionally juice, toothbrush heads and lunch meat. We do a hospitality room at a convention every year and the savings on the food for it definitely pays for the membership.

Nov 08, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

The Great Pumpkin has descended on TJs!!!!

The bars are usually one of the first things to go. The Cranberry is available now.

Nov 07, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

Best Cheeses from Trader Joes [moved from Los Angeles area board]

The Coastal is really tasty and the Unexpected Cheddar is made to be similar to a Parmesan if it's indeed the cheese I think it is.

Nov 07, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains

What is your favorite Brie cheese at Trader Joe's?

62% Supreme Brie because it's already oozy when its cold and just gets better as it warms up. Creamy, smooth, lick the knife goodness. The Delice de Bourgogne is also excellent. Imagine triple creme meets sour cream, yeah. Made myself sick on this one because it was so good I couldn't stop eating it.

Nov 07, 2013
BigWoodenSpoon in Chains