Monday, March 17, 2014

Where We Go To Squeeze Melons

The beautiful interior of Wegmans, courtesy of Google Images
Traveling around the United States, one gets hungry.  And since I like to do my grocery shopping in actual grocery stores rather than super-centers, I've compiled a list of places we frequent.  Wegmans, the store in the photo, is my favorite of all time.  It will forever take the top spot on all and any list that remotely has anything to do with food.  They can do no wrong.  I'll even forgive them for this disgusting pasty photo of corned beef and cabbage they put on their home page to lure their St. Paddy's Day shoppers.

Northeastern US 
If this store were a person, I’d stalk it and force it to marry me.  Found primarily in the Northeastern United States, and rated by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, I rate it one of the top best companies to shop at.  Every store is clean to the point of sparkling, their selection of foods is incredible - from cheese to meat to organic to the best prepared foods I've ever tasted - and the Market Cafe has $6, $8, and $10 meals that put some restaurants to shame.

This is the place I make a special trip to for my Michigan Brand Cottage Cheese.  I buy it six containers at a time.  The stores are large, bright and a pleasure to shop in.  They have an ethnic food aisle larger than most I’ve seen, which is a great place to buy packaged papadums (the closest I’ve come to the real thing) or Mexican chipotles.  It’s a department store also – they have clothes, shoes, gardening supplies, automotive, housewares, everything. 

Southeastern US
The only grocery store I’ll go to when I’m in Florida.  This place has produce for days.  Fresh peaches, clean stores, and I even got a $10 discount card from them for spending a mere $100.  They have a pretty good variety of produce, last time I was there I was even able to find the white eggplant I was looking for. 

Stater Bros.
The meat in this store is so luscious, I’d consider tartare.  Ed and I came across one of these when we were tucked behind a Home Depot in Fontana, in our secret spot next to the post office.  Great store.  Won't be going there anymore though since we're banned in California due to the California Air Resources Board restrictions, but you should check them out.

This is one of the stores I shop at when I’m home and it’s one I trust on the road.  It's a pretty basic grocery store, and nothing about it really stands out, but they do have some pretty decent store brands.  

Many people joke, calling this store “Whole Paycheck”, but I don’t mind spending money on regular food, specialty food, healthy food, brands I can’t find elsewhere, and really great chocolate covered figs.  They also have a phenomenal salad bar that I discovered when I was living in Old Town Alexandria, VA and working right across the street from one.

Honestly, I hardly ever go to Trader Joes, but they do have a few items I’ll pop in for when I need them.  And they're famous for “Two Buck Chuck”, an extremely expensive Award-winning wine made by the Bronco Wine Company of California, and introduced to the grocery chain at $1.99 per bottle, hence the name.  

Krogie!  That’s the nickname my best friend gave this store, and it’s one of my favorites across the country.  Fry’s Food and Drug is part of this chain, as is Ralph’s out in California.

Northeastern US
This is the store I grew up with.  Italian specialties, frozen ravioli, fresh bread dough, and the only place I know I can get a deal during their “Can Can” sales which have been happening for decades, since I was a kid.  It's not hard to memorize all the words to the song.  They have great prices and they cater to many of the ethnic groups in the Northeast, which means they have a good variety of different food items.  There are a lot of stores in this chain over 30 years old, so aesthetically some are lacking, but you still get the same great stuff. 

Sprouts Farmers Market
AZ, CA, CO, NM, TX, OK, UT, KS and GA
"Healthy Living for less!" their website says.  We have one of these right around the corner from our house and they do have some good deals on produce, in addition to good meat and these coconut flakes that I love.  Their selection is limited if you're looking for everything in one store, but you will find products here that others stores don't carry. Sometimes it's worth the extra stop.

These are the favorites on my list, and I usually stick to the places I know, but there are a few regional markets we've been in - like DeCicco's in Brewster, NY - that I've found to be very appealing.  And I try to stay out of places like Food Lion, which I find so filthy I wouldn't shop in them if you gave me the food for free.

All of these stores (so far) have been truck friendly.  We've often found parking close to the main entrances and on occasion have parked around the side or back where the big trucks come in.

Apparently there are still some places that appreciate what trucks bring.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Yet We're The Ones With All The Rules

2012: There Is No Problem Here
2011: If This Is What Being A Loser Means, Count Me In
2010: The Only Thing It Extends Is The Humiliation Of Having A Small Johnson
2009: Wishing You All A Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig
2008: There Should Be Some Sort Of Award For This
2007: Table Talk
2006: Cats And Grandchildren Make Great Indentured Servants
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!


Belledog said...

Travel meets Tourism meets Wegman's.

Whatta blog.

(I've been to most of those grocery stores, except Meijer and ShopRite.)

PS: thanks for the head's up on the reasonably priced Wegman's dinners. Might drive a little further to pick some up, when at wit's end about not wanting to cook, or wanting to try something different.

Anonymous said...

Good morning! Love your blog, read it daily! You are the best! We live in the Finger Lakes Region of Upsate NY, just a mile from Wegman's organic farm (and Danny Wegmans home) and shop at Wegmans too much! Great people as well as a great store. Check out what Buzzfeed had to say about Wegmans:

Keep up the great blog!

M Hanson said...

"Whole Paycheck" was a life-saver when I was on a restricted menu for 6 months. A manager stopped to answer my questions, and proceeded to walk me up and down the aisles for 20 minutes or more, pointing out all the foods that were free of ingredients I needed to avoid for the duration.

Amazing service for a megastore, IMHO.

The Daily Rant said...

BELLEDOG: I think I like grocery shopping more than regular shopping! And you really must try the Wegmans meals - go for lunch one day. There's one in Fairfax and one in Woodridge. No excuse!

ANONYMOUS: Hello! And thank you! You're the best for leaving a comment! :) The first time we discovered Wegmans was in Jamestown, NY. We've been hooked ever since! I grew up in the Catskill Mountain region of New York (born in the Bronx) and I'd move back there in a heartbeat. In half a heartbeat if I could be near a Wegmans. The place is the bomb! I've seriously never loved a store more than I love these places. And I'd stalk Danny and his family if I were that close!

M.HANSON: What a fantastic story about service. More places should be like that! Talk about a personal experience and feeling like the company really cares about their customers. Great to know!

Mick said...

Yes-Publix is so good. I told my wife about it before we went to Florida last year and we only shopped there the whole vacation. On the last day at the Treasure Island store in St Petes I asked for a cloth bag (for a souvenir). The lady said "they're a dollar" (as if I might be put off paying a dollar for a bag). I said "that's okay". When I looked at the till receipt later-she hadn't charged me for it! The staff there were so amazing.