Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Life is too short for me to spend all day shopping, and with the virus floating around, multiple stores means multiple risks, with a number of customers refusing to have masks because they think the pandemic is a fraud. Ideally I'd like to go back to the day when there were separate mom and pop bakeries, butchers, green grocers, fish mongers and so on, down the street, but the rents are too high, there isn't enough parking, too many hours at work, etc., so I don't mind paying more for convenience but IMHO, the chains mostly have not exploited the situation properly to create "must go" experiences and have forced customers to shop the hard way. At the same time, I also recognize having any supermarket is a luxury in many places. We were in parts of the country where, before the Amazon boom, the town ladies got in a pickup loaded down with coolers and drove as many as 3 or 4 hours to town to shop at Walmart for groceries because their home town only had Dollar General. (I also suppose some part of their diet consisted of hunted game.)
  2. There doesn't seem to be a right master topic for this, but I think it is important to have somewhere. Been all over the country, usually end up in some kind of grocery store for supplies while on the road. I'm not going to try to rank them but I do have comments. In some cases, I have not been to these places in a while because I have not had occasion to be in their territories, so I'm working off last experience. I'm separating them into three classes -- traditional suburban supermarkets for everyday purchases, traditional urban groceries for everyday purchases, and non-traditional markets that you go to once in a while. I'm omitting the membership chains like Costco, the on line order companies like Amazon, and the larger somewhat specialized by product or by ethnic group markets like Uncle Giusseppe's Italian Foods market. Traditional suburban: Wegmans. Amazing. Should have them everywhere, though they are pricey. Meijer: Huge. Great. If you can't find it there, stop looking. You'll never find it. HEB: Terrific. Also enormous. Excellent ready to eat food. Good shopping experience. Publix: Very, very acceptable. Fabulous cannolis. Pretty much everything. Krogers: Went to one in Cartersville Ga. New. Outstanding. Big selection of groceries and everyday items including clothes, stationery supplies, pharmacy. Really impressed. Ingle's: Seems to be refreshing the entire chain. The newer ones were awesome. The older ones needed refreshing. ShopRite: Meh on a good day. Staff not friendly. Recycling machines malfunctioning. Apps come from outside and not available when the store opens. Stop and Shop: Stores poorly designed. Selection meh. Long wait for appetizers and deli. Underwhelming. Lidl: I don't know what is going on there, and I don't think management does either. Selection of packaged foodstuffs poor. No appetizing, bakery, deli or fish counter. Random miscellaneous merchandise like kettle bells clogged the aisles when I was there. Poor selection of produce. Lidl bought out other chains; hope those guys got their money. King Kullen: Meh. Selection limited; store brands not available in all categories. Appetizing Ok, but don't always have fresh. Walmart Groceries: Not special. Not cheaper. Ordinary selection. Apps packed externally, can't tell how fresh. Giant: Meh Piggly Wiggly: Meh Winn Dixie: Meh Food Lion: Meh Food Town: Meh Safeway: Meh Albertsons: Meh Hannaford's: Meh Fairway: Poor. Disorganized, overpriced, and despite claims otherwise, nothing new or unique except for sandwich shop occupying gobs of prime real estate where there should be merchandise for sale. (Never been to a Ralphs or a Vonns). (Fond fairwell to Goodings in Florida. RIP middling at best chains Pathmark, Grand Union, A&P, and Waldbaums) Traditional urban markets: These are all meh on their best days: Associated, Aldi, C-Town, Gristedes, D'Agostinos, and other independent grocers. Non-traditional suburban markets: Trader Joe's. Ok for a small number of items, otherwise just overhyped. A large number of exotic but ultimately only passable choices for frozen dinners and a number of varieties of bread, beer and soda, but very costly for most miscellaneous items such as produce. I don't recall any hot food like rotisserie chicken. Stew Leonards: Avoid. The layout is a ridiculous maze meaning you can't go in for a few items without undue delay. The prices on what I wanted were out of sight, and though I am told that there are some very good discounts, I didn't see a one. The rotisserie chicken I ended up with after being priced out of what I wanted was overcooked. The various over-the-top plastic displays are terrible https://npaper-wehaa.com/pub-files/134462150850254bc4d2a1d/pub/New-Haven-Living-07-18-2013/lib/137444140851ec4fc003b13.jpg and https://njfamily-images.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/IMG_0045.jpg A hot sandwich I purchased at the one near the Tappan Zee Bridge was just under meh. Whole Foods. Definitely Whole Paycheck, but they have what you want if you are looking to eat healthy. True story: fell into both Whole Foods and Stews on the same day a few years back; noticed that all the Whole Foods customers were lean and mostly in running garb, and the Stew's customers not so much. I leave it to someone else to begin a discussion of the various ethnic and specialty food markets that dot the landscape.
  3. I went to college in the '70s into the early '80's and the meal plan was awful. So bad that a court ruled students could drop off the plan and cook in the dorms notwithstanding the prospect and ultimately the reality of vermin. Now my son is in another college but ended up with the same caterer, which is one of the megaliths of the industry. And the food is still horrible and not healthy. I get it that lots of people don't have the money or energy or time to make gourmet meals at home, but that's a choice. If you are at college or in the military service or some other group setting, you have no choice but to eat whatever comes in giant cans or frozen bags or unmarked cartons of mystery food. Are we as a society allowing too much time to be spent at star restaurants where building food statuettes out of rare and expensive ingredients absorbs the mind power of chefs who could be figuring out how to feed captured audiences a little better and more cheaply? We have hospitality schools everywhere. Cooking networks. Hamburger universities. The CIA. Should we not figure out a way to get them on the job?
  4. @tri2cook An argument that puts the cart before the horse. If the item is made perfectly according to a horrible recipe, is it "proper" or "not proper"? And how does one prove it one way or the other on the spot without having the recipe, knowing whether the food was properly killed, prepared and stored, and so forth? I'm going to say that the Indian food was properly executed in all respects according to the recipe and the tradition but wholly bungled with respect to what an average first time diner would reasonably expect it to be. I'm going to say the food in Washington was properly executed according to a horrible plan to surprise me with garbage, which it did. I'm going to say the food in New Jersey was executed as the proprietor wanted it but without a plan to respect what they told me was coming, so fraud. Your simplified argument doesn't seem to answer the issue of breach given the circumstances.
  5. Hoping this finds all healthy and socially distant ... Forgive if the topic has already been broached. I just saw the Obsessed episode of No Reservations and didn't know you were here. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a foodie, but the fact that Anthony Bourdain ate everything from $1k pre fixe in 3 star restaurants to hot dogs at food carts in neighborhoods with checkered histories and questionable sanitary practices and liked most everything (at least what showed up on the air) is pretty inspiring. I'm not a picky eater and AFAIC a canned tuna salad sandwich on toast is as good as a steak to me, and while Bourdain level freedom is cool, it is a little further than I am prepared to go, both in terms of how risky the prep is and how affordable, plus I'm not into conspicuous consumption or ostentatious luxury for myself. I've gotten sick eating stuff that from the get go I clearly shouldn't have and food that had good provenance but was not cooked correctly. Once I got deathly sick after eating at a buffet in Reno with an insufficient sneeze bar, and been grossed out by people licking the service spoon at a wedding buffet. And while Bourdain denied getting food poisoning except on one occasion, there were also plenty of hints he didn't really mean that. He made numerous mentions of days spent on or hovering over the toilet (the "thunder pot"). Anyway, I try new foods and new cuisines at restaurants from time to time and candidly had a lot of meh. Maybe because I'm not willing to pay for a Michelin star or maybe because the food was never going to bee all that no matter what ingredients or chef was behind it, though meh is neck and neck with surprisingly good for something unknown or an animal I never thought of eating previously. And there were times when I wondered "what's the big deal about that" (ie, caviar)? Still, a series of adventures that land somewhere between good and meh in the restricted amount of traveling and eating out I can do as a self-employed person with a child in college is something I can enjoy as a lifestyle. But on three distinct occasions, the food was horrible and beyond horrible. Should I have had to pay for the experience? And is there some legit way not to pay when that has occurred? When I was growing up, I perceived the rule to be that if restaurant food was horrible, I didn't have to pay. Simple breach of contract. Now I'm not so sure that cops won't arrest you any time they are summoned to any "quality of life" incident that could manifest itself into a scene and drag you off to a coronavirus pokey. Or shoot you in the back or step on your neck for the slightest amount of guff when you protest your right not to pay for an inexcusably horrible meal. I guess it is possible nowadays to protest a bill for bad food later with the credit card company, though I have no idea if that affects your credit rating, and filing a case with the company and justifying your position for not wanting to pay is burdensome and comes with limits under the credit card agreement and Federal regulations. I'm not sure if you have any rights to protest a payment made by debit card or what happens if the merchant refuses to accept a card as payment given the likelihood of a protest to follow or what the police would do if that happened, or what you do if only part of the price is on the protestor's card. Anybody have any ideas? The three occasions were long ago, but they are the type of thing that may happen when closed bankrupt restaurants end up in new and less experienced hands after the pandemic break. 1. Indian food at a birthday party, something I had long wondered about but I didn't specifically recall having before that night. The guest of honor is a vegetarian -- and possibly the least discriminating person I know about how food tastes and a terrible cook -- but I ordered a meat dish that, very graciously said in favor of the operator, was revolting in its every particular. The various main ingredients had been stewed until they were not distinguishable by sight, taste or texture; I could not figure out what was meat, potato or carrots even after chomping down, and ultimately it seemed the expensive items that should have been the center of the meal were simply there to hold the overpowering curry, doled out in a thickly uniform gray/green lava of gravy? sauce? meltdown reduction? with none of the prized "balance" that cooking competition judges keep insisting on. It smelled like the Gowanus Canal at low tide and tasted worse. It was all I could do not to lose my lunch at the table after the first morsel or two. Ok, it was about 20 years ago and being hauled off to jail or being the victim of police brutality was very unlikely, but had it been other than a family affair, I would have made a giant scene and left in a huff, and probably insulted the moron patrons who were eating literal garbage (overpriced even for passable food). Fortunately I was not paying the bill, but I almost took back the birthday present for forcing me to endure the event and continue to smell death warmed over. Indian food immediately became a not on your life event. The tricky part of this incident is that in the law of contracts, there is a distinction between items that are objectively and subjectively passable, and depending on the nature of the item, there may be different results if you claim breach. There are people who really like that shit -- assuming what I had was what it was supposed to be -- and clearly there is no accounting for taste. Plenty of people also like The Grateful Dead, heroin, soccer, and diving out of airplanes. The French famously love Jerry Lewis. And there are the non-foodies like the guest of honor who seem not to have taste buds at all. And in some sense, had I been the ultimate customer rather than a party guest, ordering that food was simply an experiment for me and maybe it should be me, rather than the restaurateur, who takes the risk that I won't like it at all. But IMHO, it was inedible to anyone not drunk or lobotomized, and possibly a violation of the Geneva Convention, which holds that POW's cannot be given food worse than their jailers get, and I can't see a jailer chowing down on that garbage without thoughts of mutiny. Anybody know whether there is a breach of contract for a restaurant meal if the customer, as opposed to the rest of the screwy world, doesn't like it? 2. Seafood on a vacation trip with my in-laws in Washington, DC. I ordered some kind of baked fish that may or may not have mentioned in the menu that it was seasoned with fennel. I had never had fennel. If I was aware it was coming, I surely not know what to expect, other than to figure it added some relatively small flavor notes to make an otherwise reasonably bland dish interesting. When it came out, the fish had been covered in fennel leaves with the look and consistency of pine needles, and the fish tasted like it had lived its life in a vat of Vick's eucalyptus cough medicine (extra strong) and had been allowed to eat only Peppermint Lifesavers and the insides of Peppermint Patties. This is not a scenario in which some marginally insane person might have liked it. It was simply disgusting. I was not experimenting with food; what I ordered was common as sunshine, or so I thought. The chef was experimenting with me. I tried sending it back and that was refused. Again I would have had more of a shit fit than I did, but I was with judgmental relatives and afraid of getting arrested and locked up overnight in a city that was then in the middle of the AIDS epidemic. I ultimately paid at a time when credit card protections were less generous, but since the waiter had a part in refusing to take the dish back, I left no tip. I had a burger at Roy Rogers after that; it was a million times better. 3. Baseball tournament disaster. We fell into a neighborhood fish place near Diamond Nation in Flemington NJ, and most of the items on the menu involved pasta which is off my diet because I am diabetic. The only plausible item for me was battered fish and "spiced" chips, and even that was going to be up against my carb limits if the dish was not mostly fish. What came out was a relatively small morsel of fish and mound of waffle fries that were "spiced" with confectionery sugar, the kind of thing spread on donuts. When I protested, the waitress told me "sugar" is a spice notwithstanding the famously authoritative limerick ("Sugar and spice and everything nice...)" and declined to take them back. Eventually I saw the manager who concurred with the waitress on the "spice" issue but nonetheless sent me a batch of unsweetened fries. No tip for for the waitress for her collusion in the bullshit. I get it that I live in the real world. Unplanned things happen. Bored cooks or cheap shops can send out crap. I don't mind paying to experiment with new food if it is what it is supposed to be and don't like it, but I don't like the idea of getting a plate of sewage, deception or being a guinea pig, and then risking arrest by undertrained and insufficiently discrete cops for the BS inflicted on me in a restaurant when I call the operators out on that stuff. What do you all think about this?
  • Create New...