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Everything posted by menton1

  1. But we're talking about stores with upwards of 10,000 products; and we've only found 5 that are sold in both stores?? That's what I'm talking about!! These stores are 2 totally different experiences with totally (mostly) different products.
  2. Charlie Brown's will do special requests??
  3. I think you have greatly oversimplified the restaurant business here. It it was just that easy, all restaurants would succeed. All restaurants want to do well, they want to satisfy their customer and get them back. But there are tremendous shadings for the factors that make a restaurant successful. Lots of intangibles. These easy rules don't always work. In the case of Charlie Browns, I scratch my head all the time. I pass the ones in Oradell and Washing Twp frequently, and continue to be amazed how packed and overflowing their parking lots are, 7 days a week. And this is a place that serves mediocre food at best, with mediocre service at best. No, the rules don't apply to CBs.
  4. I continue to be amazed that WF continues to be compared with Trader Joe's on this board. Not only are they after a different customer with a different mindset, but I can hardly think of 5 items that are sold in both stores! TJs is a state of mind, a place that is quirky and unique. WF is a quasi- health food store that rose to small supermarket size. TJs is price driven, WF surely is not. But perhaps I am not seeing something here. Could the folks making these comparisons please tell me what items are sold in the same form in both stores?
  5. Doesn't happen as often as you would expect; look at the wild success of Charlie Browns...
  6. Also, their Daube Provencal is among the best I've ever eaten. Wish the place were a little more comfortable, but I suppose the environment here is part of its attraction...
  7. Actually, I believe there are 5 different "Washington Township" municipalities in New Jersey. Guess copyright laws don't apply to town names...
  8. It's just impossible for me to list ONE favorite for those categories, there are so many that I love for different reasons. They are all so wonderful. One scene about France, dominates my mind when I'm not there, though. This is while I'm on the way to having one of these wonderful food experiences. Think of the countryside, a rural area, a nice RD (small through road) and you come around a bend, and Voila!! You come across a straightaway with rows of plane trees symmetrically and evenly placed on both sides of the road. What a sight! And it's only in France!!!! Ahhhhh....
  9. I'd be curious to see how those compare, pricewise, with the fresh ones at WF, which seem to be available year round, & are also really good. I think the fresh ones are around $6.00 / lb but I'll recheck that next time I'm there. ← Price at TJs for 1 lb package is $2.29. Also, the fresh ones at WF are NOT from France. They are a different variety and therefore taste different. The french beans have a unique flavor.
  10. Some of the items, that, IMHO, are worthwhile at TJs: WHITE Balsamic Vinegar, from Modena, very interesting and unusual. Snackmasters Beef Jerky, the best of its kind that I have found anywhere, no chemicals or preservatives. Frozen French haricots verts (green beans), really good. TJ's half sour pickles, refrigerated, in a glass quart jar. Jumbo white pistachios, 1 pound for 4 bucks, a great deal. Some other items are not unusual but are priced at 1/3 to 1/2 less than anywhere else, I'll think of those on a later post.
  11. I think that TJs and WF are apples and oranges; there is really nothing similar about these 2 chains at all, I don't understand why folks group them together so often. TJs is a selective House label store with brilliant merchandising, their "frequent flyer" but never a sale. (They claim they don't need a sale). About 80% of the store is house label, selected, interesting unique items that tend to be fun and interesting. Pricing generally lower than comparable item in the supermarket, but often there is no comparable item. WF is the melding of a health food store with a supermarket. If price is an object you can't shop there. A "green" theme pervades the store, no foods with preservatives or chemical additives are sold here (supposedly). 2 different stores, 2 different MOs, and a different psyche for their particular customers.
  12. I don't see anything in the Paramus store that is not in the Westwood store; in fact, the space is actually too large for TJs. The aisles are actually a bit too spread out, and there is a lot of emptiness in the store. The location is convenient, though.
  13. Firstly, interesting news about Zarole. Passed it by last week on the way to Malee (Thai) and noted only 1 table going. Place has been almost empty for a couple of years, don't know how they paid the rent so long, not a surprise that they closed. BYO in and around Ridgewood: Rocca in Glen Rock, got a lot of acclaim here a while ago, creative American with Italian touches. Mediterraneo, Broad St. Ridgewood, an under-reported gem, some very nice creative food with an owner who cares. Marra's, not fabulous, but if you want fairly standard Italian-American with huge portions. Lots of room for a big crowd. Village Green, always highly praised here. I also second the recommendation for Latour.
  14. An interesting statement, says alot about the American concept of waiting tables. In Europe, it is a career, a dignified profession. It the US, it is mostly a way station for unemployed actors and students needing some income. No wonder we need so much additional bus staff. I've rarely seen bus staff in Europe...
  15. What about Edy's Grand Vanilla, or Vanilla Bean? Are these totally different than Dreamery?
  16. Several years ago, we dined at the Williamsburg Inn in Williamsburg, Va. The most memorable part of the meal (I still remember it!) was the cesar salad, created from scratch right at the table. Started with trimmed romaine leaves and a giant wood bowl. Mashed some garlic cloves with the back of the spoon on the sides of the bowl. Repeated this procedure with anchovy filets. Some dry mustard, cloves (if memory serves) and I do distinctly recall a couple of egg yolks mixed in. Lemon juice, olive oil, greated cheese, and after a nice toss, the croutons. These days ordering cesar salad produces a premade dish bearing little resemblance to the one described above. Are table-prepared cesar salads a thing of the past? Any restaurants still doing this? Any other good memories?
  17. Apparently, Ben's has as many fans as detractors. Disliking the food at a place doesn't seem to go hand in hand with wanting it to close down. Don't really understand that line of thinking. Any news about this strike? Was it sudden, or planned? Has it been going on a while?
  18. It would be nice if folks here "came clean" about their real feelings. It's not about suffering of sentient creatures; it's about getting a foie gras fix. Let nothing stand in the way. Few here care about animal suffering. This is a white elephant. They are only worried about foie gras becoming less available.
  19. Sounds interesting, could you kindly elaborate on the specifics of the cruise and the name of the restaurant? Thanks!
  20. This issue is gaining some traction. Aside from being passed in California, it is pending in New York, Oregon, Massachusetts and Illinois. It has to do with suffering of the animals while still alive, not the slaughtering (humanely) of the animals. The campaign is fraught with objectors who are actually not out to prove the humaneness of force feeding the ducks and geese (a ruse) but are actually worried about the availability of their delicious foie gras. These folks would probably eat the stuff regardless of how much cruelty is involved. Kudos for Schwarzenegger!!
  21. Passed by Ben's on Maisonneuve yesterday, and they were closed because the workers decided to go en grève. Has this been going on long? Has it gotten much publicity?
  22. Was in Montreal this past week, and Joe Beef was closed for a 2 week vacation!!! Very European of them, but a big disappointment!
  23. Since their makeover last year, Maywood Marketplace probably has the most extensive selection of cheese in N New Jersey. They really have a situation that can't be beat: tastings, selection, and great prices. About 1/2 the price of Whole Foods, and a much bigger selection. Maywood Marketplace 78 West Pleasant Ave Downtown Maywood
  24. I think the Americans' love of ice has evolved and gotten stronger in the last couple of decades. One of the persuasive factors has been the intentional copious use of ice by fast food stands and anywhere fountain drinks are served. The idea was that the ice costs a lot less than the product, so let's use more ice and less product. A typical 16 oz fountain soda costs the restaurant about 8 cents of product and 10 cents for the cup. Retail price= $1.49. Nice profit. If you watch Starbucks make an iced coffee, they only fill the cup up halfway with coffee, the rest ice. The Europeans have just not assimilated this ice-mentality into their lives. This is definitely a cultural difference, IMHO. P.S. Rome and Southern Italy are pretty darn hot, and air conditioning (and ice!) are just as scarce there as the rest of Europe. So climate is only a small factor.
  25. Wow, quite a provocative topic... I think the ice question is similar to the air conditioning one. Definitely a cultural difference. I'm sure that 99% of French homes and apartments have no air conditioning. The French have a notion (perhaps subconsciously for some) that drafts cause illness. I recall a September day in Paris when it was quite warm, in the high 30s. We were walking around the 4th, perspiring profusely, and walked into a cute little shop, long and narrow, with a large variety of "torchons" . (Small towels) and some other unusual items. The patron was sitting in the very rear of the store (no windows, all glass storefront) cool as a cucumber, not a drop of perspiration. I joked to him how he didn't mind the heat, and he said that he is used to it. They don't even use "ventilateurs" (fans) !! Part of the avoid-drafts syndrome, too. That's why we always go to France in Spring or Fall, never July or August... I wonder if anything has been done to prepare for heat waves at the seniors' residences, where they had all those tragedies in the Canicule of '03?
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