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My Aldi experience!

I make my own pasta at home, 90% of the time. Eat only eggs (at home) from my mom's free ranging chickens and turkeys, and buy from local farmers markets during the season.

That doesn't mean I don't like to keep staples in my pantry for my sweetie who doesn't have the time to or like to cook, and isn't as fussy about food as I am. That doesn't mean there aren't basic products I'm perfectly happy to save money on when I can. Sorry I can't always live up to 100% artisanal-organic-farm-to-table-epicurian for ya, but that doesn't make me someone who only wants and knows "cheap and good enough". It's not a black-and-white division, here.

about 19 hours ago
sockii in Chains
3

My Aldi experience!

So as promised I finally ventured into the local Aldi's I've driven past for 4 years now but never ventured into before. The photo here is what I managed to get for $98 - plus a 24-pack of water bottles.

Lots and lots of stuff that's perfect for me to stock up on for my sweetie, who loves having snack stuff for long days at the office (and also easy/quick pasta/frozen stuff for when I'm away for a few days and he has to fend for himself in the kitchen.) Some definitely interesting stuff in the frozen section to try out - had to get the artichoke strudel, 'Pub ravioli' with beer, and the taquitos which I need to compare to TJs (one of MY favorite at-home lunch fixes.) Whole bean coffee $3.99/pound when the best I can usually get at ShopRite is $7.99. We'll see how it tastes tomorrow morning.

Not the variety that would get me in there more regularly but I can definitely see making this a once-a-month stop to see what's on the shelves and try out some new things. I also found the clientele oddly endearing compared to the local ShopRite or ACME. Lots of older folks enjoying socializing and randomly coming up to strangers to recommend products, talk about how they shop here first "and then go to Shop Rite for what I can't find here", helping to unload my cart on their own, insisting other people get ahead of them in line and offering "blessed day" to anyone in earshot. Nice to leave a market feeling like I've had a pleasant encounter with humanity instead of being ready to bitch about shopping carts littering parking lots and people with too many items in the express lane ;)

Only thing I wasn't thrilled about was the produce. I could see picking up some things if I were going to be sure to use them in the next day or two at best, but very limited to basics and pretty close to the verge of turning.

Apr 15, 2015
sockii in Chains
1

What is the worst wedding reception dinner you've ever had?

Oh, that would be awkward, agreed.

Apr 15, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Celebrity Chef Homaro Cantu Found Dead in Chicago

Just saw the news. What a shock. I had dinner at iNG once and it was a wonderfully creative and fun experience, Moto was on my list for my next trip to Chicago...

Apr 15, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

What is the worst wedding reception dinner you've ever had?

I was in a bridal party for a friend's wedding a few years back. This was actually the first wedding in my life I'd ever been to, let alone involved in. I knew she and the hubby to be didn't have a lot of money, but even so...

It was in Texas in July, sweltering heat to begin with. With all of the bridal party prep work in the morning I think I had eaten a quarter of a subway sandwich all day while getting hair done. Obviously famished by the time it's 3-4 pm and we get to the strip mall rental room where the reception was being held.

I had no idea it was going to be BYOB in a dry town; basically lemonade and water were all otherwise available, and others who knew better were bringing in six packs from over the township line. Food consisted of cocktail shrimp salsa, chips, cheese and veggie sticks. I sort of knew to expect nothing but finger-food but my Italian sweetie used to big Jersey weddings felt like he'd stepped into the Twilight Zone.

I don't think the reception lasted more than 90 minutes max? Besides the food the bride was also big into swing dance so that was the only - only - kind of music being played. Which very few people actually wanted to dance to. Most waited for the cake to be cut, grab a slice, and hightail it out for a real meal and something to drink - which was exactly what we did.

Still love my friend dearly, but it was pretty far from a fabulous introduction to the world of weddings... (honestly just a little more information on the invites in the first place would have been appreciated...)

Apr 15, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Recommendations for fancy Italian restaurant

Zeppoli definitely has the best Italian/Sicilian food I've tasted anywhere in the Philadelphia region, hands down. Especially their seafood and the pasta (look up past threads; there are dishes to ask for even if you don't see them on the menu.)

Just be warned it's a small, tight space. If you want quieter atmosphere be sure to arrive early as it can get L.O.U.D.

Apr 14, 2015
sockii in Philadelphia
1

What's your favorite food blog?

Thanks for the rec! Just a quick look at the venison recipes and I've bookmarked the site for future reference.

Apr 14, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

My Aldi experience!

Yes, I've been capable of reading the thread up to this point to be fully aware of these factors.

Apr 14, 2015
sockii in Chains

Do you hold Grudges against Restaurants? And for how long?

One up that was worse than that for me: a popular nicer Chinese restaurant in Cambrige, MA back in the 90s. Was out with a group of friends for one of our rare better dinners out (we were all poor college students at the time). Halfway through our meal - and halfway through the large platter of fried rice in the center of the table - one of our group noticed a fried cockroach decorating the rice.

We flagged over a server immediately. All plates were quickly rushed off the table, we were rushed out the door, at least they didn't ask us to pay for any of it. None of us set foot in there again.

Apr 14, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Don't let your Debit/Credit Card out of your sight when dining. .

I get email statements from my main bank every day, free of charge. Easy to set up and makes sure that my debit charges are only those that I've authorized.

Apr 13, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Complain or Shut Up?

I definitely think microwaved reheated food is dishonest prep, especially if a restaurant is promising fresh food made to order.

I've had this experience at numerous "Italian-American" establishments that brag about their pasta dishes "everything homemade" and "fresh"...and yet a plate comes out with uneven temperatures throughout indicative of being quickly nuked from a (much) earlier preparation. These are the places I will not revisit and will leave negative reviews for. I won't say anything at the time because if they are just nuking food it's not like I can get a fresh plate made up, really.

My Aldi experience!

This thread has encouraged me to finally check out the local Aldis this week! I could use some stocking up on pantry staples. Will have to report back...

Apr 13, 2015
sockii in Chains

Complain or Shut Up?

It definitely depends on the circumstances. I'll speak up if an order is outright incorrect and not edible at all or what I wanted: being brought the completely wrong dish, a request to leave off an ingredient I'm allergic to has been forgotten, meat at severely the wrong temperature (undercooked chicken, well done steak if I asked for medium rare).

If it's just a mediocre or poor dish, I generally won't say anything at the time, especially if it's at a gathering with other people where I don't want to interrupt the flow and enjoyment of the meal for others. (My mother often used to be a complainer/send plates back kind of person in restaurants and it always made me feel so awkward. Dining out with her always would stress me out worrying if she'd be happy or be sending everything back.)

I know today I can be fussier than some others about noticing reheated meals, overcooked fish, things like that so I don't want to bring things down if everyone else thinks things are okay. But then I will probably give my thoughts on the restaurant on a review website or other venue so that others may be aware of these issues in the future. I don't see anything wrong with that, and I do think it reflects poorly on an owner to challenge such reviews simply with "Well you didn't complain at the time!"

That said if everyone at the table is having a poor experience, I think that's when you ask to speak with a manager on the spot.

Apr 13, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Are you the main shopper/cook at home?

I do probably 95% of the cooking and 90% of the shopping. I generally don't mind at all because cooking is my favorite hobby and I enjoy regularly trying new recipes and techniques. I also predominantly work at home so it just makes sense for me to take on this task; my partner tends to work very long and late hours so I wouldn't put it on him to take on that responsibility.

The only time I find it a drag is if I'm not feeling well, so I try to keep the freezer stocked with some microwavable "emergency" meals for him when I can't cook/don't even want to eat. And he's a pasta fiend so I also know on those nights when I'm tired and don't want to fuss I can make something as simple as a quick marinara or garlic and oil sauce and he'll be totally happy.

Apr 11, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Just Add Water - Instant Foods

Just a quick Google map search of Fargo pulled over 60 pizza delivery joints and 20+ Chinese restaurants. $20 could easily order enough to eat for several meals from most such places, if you pack a soft cooler for ice to keep things cold.

Apr 11, 2015
sockii in General Topics

What's your favorite food blog?

I don't tend to follow specific blogs, but I do have a couple favorites that if I see them come up in search results for a type of recipe or ingredient, I'm pretty sure I can trust them for good results.

One of my favorites is Food for Hunters (http://foodforhunters.blogspot.com/) I tend to end up with a lot of venison every season and this site has some great recipes for using all different cuts, along with other game meat. Everything I've made from their site has been great and become household favorites.

I also have a blog which you can find a link to in my profile.

Apr 09, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

How often do you use food blog for home cooking?

I probably cook from online recipe sites - either blogs or Big Name Websites - at least 2-3 times a week. Like others I'm not always or often following a recipe exactly as written but looking for inspiration/confirmation that an ingredient combination is a good idea. Maybe I want to compare a few different recipes for, say, kale and sausage soup to see which approach sounds the best to me.

Usually my process when planning on making a meal is
- check my favorite cookbooks for recipes if I don't have something specific in mind
- use EatYourBooks to search for book/online recipes that fit the ingredients I have on hand
- if nothing comes up or really sounds good to me, search DuckDuckGo, which pulls up blog recipes indexed at Yummly first
- if all else fails, Google and Pinterest searches

I have a food blog as well, which I use for various topics from restaurant and recipe reviews to posting my own recipes. I've had a few of my recipes "take off" - mostly via Pinterest pins - but honestly I mostly post my own recipes so that I have notes for my own future reference when I want to make something again. I don't follow any specific food blogs, but I do keep mental track of those where I've enjoyed the recipes from before and those which have generally been made of fail.

Apr 09, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

Are you saying me? Because then you'd be assuming incorrectly, once again.

Apr 07, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

I have had this problem at basically every supermarket in my area, whether it's Shop Rite, Acme, Walmart or a fancy Philly produce/specialty market like DiBruno Bros (and honestly they are sometimes the worst, unable to tell an onion apart from a lemon.)

You must live in a special charmed area where this is never a problem, or have enough disposable income where getting double-charged on a $15-20 bag of cat food is not a big enough deal to care about. Because for me it is.

And what percentage of produce vs. other goods is in my basket is really none of your business.

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

There is a reason I don't bag my own groceries, much of the time, and it has nothing to do with being a "slackjawed" "fat ass". It has to do with the amount of time that cashiers have no idea what they are doing and will overcharge/mis-charge me for items because they aren't paying attention to their job.

Yes, I will stand there and pay attention as my order is being rung up. Especially when I have a lot of fresh produce and the cashier will try to charge me for key limes when I have regular limes. Or have no idea what radicchio is and either ring it up as red cabbage (which admittedly is in my favor) or "chocolate muffin" (yes, it has happened). I've caught double-charges, not registering sale prices, miscounting items...and I do not want to have to deal with trying to sort this out after the fact with customer service or get home and find out I've been overcharged by $5-15 on my order.

Should this party have been canceled?

That would seem like the most polite and best thing to do, in my opinion, *especially* if you are not close friends. Because there's always that potential for awkwardness if the connection isn't really there and there's no one else to talk to at a gathering.

Apr 07, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Starting Dinner Early

Just wondering how many of the folks demanding OMG GET OUT NOW are actually in a long term married/committed relationship or not. Because in-law drama is kind of part and parcel of the process in my experience. Again, it all comes down to how the actual partner is willing to deal with things.

(My partner would not speak with my mother for 5 years. Yet we are still happily together for 10+ years because our relationship > our relationship with in-laws. And she still invited him to Easter this year in spite of everything in the past.)

Apr 04, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

I am now so nostalgic for my years living in Cambridge MA..

Apr 04, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Starting Dinner Early

If this is the only big hang up in the relationship/dealing with inlaws, I don't know that this is grounds for "getting out now". It may just be somewhere where OP has to set ground rules of accepting or not - and how accepting the partner is of this is the key factor.

There are points on which my in-laws and I will never see eye to eye. For instance, they would expect me to spend every major holiday with them. I refuse to leave my mother alone when she has no one else (and she is not capable of traveling to join my inlaws). After some time of arguing over this my partner now accepts this is how it will be, and I do not give a s--t how his family feels about it.

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

That would be lovely but would involve a lot of store redesign, I imagine, to have room for all of the carts being in a single cue.

Apr 04, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

One of the markets I go to will have a clerk/manager escort you directly to a new lane when they open it up and offer it to you. Specifically to make sure no one else gets in line before you. I think that's pretty damn awesome and one of the reasons I like this particular market branch; it's very busy and frequently with full lanes, so they really try to manage them well and keep customers moving and happy.

Apr 03, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Starting Dinner Early

Yes I saw that, it does not need repeating. What does need clarification is how/to what extent the OP has pointed out this is a Big Effing Deal and asked to change behavior. I know in my own relationship with my now 10+ year partner, it took a while for him to understand what points I would not bend nor break on with regards to his family, and vice versa. Coming from very different family backgrounds it was a lot to work on and not easily solved over one issue or event.

Apr 03, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Starting Dinner Early

Before dumping the fiance over his parents' behavior, I think it's important to work with the fiance specifically over this issue first. One does not need to have a perfect relationship with the in laws in order to have a successful long term relationship, but partners have to stand up for each other.

If the fiance is not listening to how much this is bothering the OP, and in fact is the cause of the trouble sometimes, that's another matter entirely...

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

I was eternally grateful the other night when, looking to choose a checkout lane, I started to get behind a woman whose cart didn't look too bad/full compared to others. But she immediately turned around and told me "You don't want to get behind me - I have a LOT of coupons!" I really appreciated the warning and chose another lane.

What's unusual is that I was shopping at an odd time for me - like 8pm after dinner when I usually shop mid-afternoon. The store seemed to be swarming with couponers, all with their binders in hand looking for deals. I made a mental note to avoid evening shopping there in the future whenever possible.

Market Shoppers: Get out of the quick check out line. You have too many items...

Hmm. The problem with that is many times when I'm in the "X items or fewer" lane I have just a few bulky things: a case of water, a couple boxes of cat litter, and that's it. Not exactly easy to carry in a hand cart. And while I'll usually try to go to a self-checkout in such cases, some stores make it very awkward to do so with big items as well.

Apr 03, 2015
sockii in Not About Food