Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
takomabaker

Washington DC Area Grocery Stores

Recommended Posts

I think the Giant at Veazey and Connecticut could give the Senior Safeway (wait, there IS one of those, right?) a run for its money.

Totally the Geriatric Giant. Gross Giant (it's pretty dirty) just isn't as melodic.

And the woman who manages the deli at the Geriatric Giant is the meanest thing out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jenny, you had to dig up this thread...so I'll add my 2 cents

I needed some ducks, Maple Leaf Farms Peking frozen ducks to be exact. My Shoppers FW has them regularly, but I got there and they have only 2: one for $1.78 lb and one for $2.79 lb, a $6 difference between ducks. Go figure. I take the $12 bird and move on (I need 3). Giant has NADA, but I pick up some cooking sake. So then I go to Safeway and SCORE. For some reason Maple Leaf Ducks are $0.99 lb, yes $5.75 per duck. I grab all 5 in the bin. I don't get the price discrepancy between stores, buts that why I shop at around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the Giant at Veazey and Connecticut could give the Senior Safeway (wait, there IS one of those, right?) a run for its money.

Totally the Geriatric Giant. Gross Giant (it's pretty dirty) just isn't as melodic.

And the woman who manages the deli at the Geriatric Giant is the meanest thing out there.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I live near the Watergate Safeway. This store is over-run by both the very elderly Watergate residents and the GW students who live in the famous Watergate Howard Johnsons turned GW dormatory. Between the dowagers shopping with their nurses and the hordes of students walking down the isles talking on their cell phones, shopping there is a chore that I don't look forward to. Best times to shop are early AM, which I am rarely ready for. Truly, this is the real geriatric Safeway.


Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark - I'll fight you for the title... :biggrin:

The clientele of the GG on Veazey/Connecticut is not exactly the down-at-heels, but I wouldn't call the folks high society either. Lots of them bought condos in the hidden Van Ness East building and now tout its tunnel to Giant as a reason they're glad to be tenants. Seriously. It's brought up more than you can imagine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to take a moment to give major props to Giant Food for having a giant tub of sliced hard boiled eggs on the salad bar wherein not one slice of egg has even a tinge of green sulfur.

That is all.

(Getting desperate for things to be thankful for).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They buy them in pre-boiled. I guarantee it. I worked in a deli-bakery when I was in college (different chain, but same idea as any other deli-bakery). We got in a case of hard-boiled eggs once a week or so which I had to turn into devilled eggs as part of my job. I ended up eating a lot of them when I thought nobody was looking. :rolleyes: Anyway I'd be shocked if they made them in-house. Maybe if they run out, but that's it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still get the ring, no matter how careful I am, but the eggs always taste good anyways,

I shop at the Ft. Belvoir commissary, that lodestar of retirees & active duty schlubs, it's alway busy, the produce is fresh, they have a bigger section of oriental vegs since I was here last-lemongrass, baby bokchoi, snow peas...I love it because it's cheaper than the local supermarkets, occasionally I can get nice things-POM wonderful pomegranate juice, cheap frozen pizzas (for the kids), I even got an amazing 5 ft. palm last week for 6.99! It's worth the wait, most times...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just read this thread. I'm so amused to find out that my local Safeway as a child was the UnSafeway. :smile:

Not disagreeing with the title, mind you. Just amused.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thoughts on making dinner on Sunday:

Alls I'm saying is, if they're going to sell you organic small-farm watercress fertilized with the shit of vestal virgins fed on gold flakes and lavender honey and watered with their sweat for $4.99! A! Freaking! Bunch! they ought to be able to put the freaking produce bags on the freaking dispensers correctly so they tear properly with a tug, rather than upside down so you have to juggle your full basket and the dispenser and the bag and the twist tie and the aforementioned watercress just to get the stupid freaking bag, and you drop the basket and your heirloom tomatoes roll out on the floor, bruised and oozing and a bottle of capers shatters and the deli tub pops open and sends nicoise olives merrily skittering about the aisles and everyone looks at you over their rectangular glasses and shakes their heads - they ought to be able to do that, is is alls I'm saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my take on grocery stores in the area:

I used to live in Loudoun County. The Giants and Safeways out there were many, many times nicer than those in the District or close-in suburbs. And Wegman's seems like the nicest grocery store in the area, but it's way too far away to visit more than occasionally.

Food Lion has a terrible selection of produce and meats, and their selection of just about everything else is lacking, but what they do have was generally less expensive than the Giants and Safeways. There were never long checkout lines, either.

I now work near the Harris Teeter in Ballston. It doesn't seem like anything special to me.

Aside from Whole Foods, I like to go to the Social Safeway, or the Giant on Colesville Road, just across the D.C. line.

Ireland's Four Provinces in Cleveland Park was once a Giant.

Here's a little something to feed your hunger for D.C. grocery store nostalgia:

http://groups.msn.com/dcgrocery/pictures


Love,

Mr. Roger Troutman, who enjoys food and beverages.

CHAIR, INTERNATIONAL DINING RESEARCH INSTITUTE

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I still get the ring, no matter how careful I am, but the eggs always taste good anyways"

If you don't want the green, try cold water to cover, bring to a boil, immediately turn off the heat, cover, 13 minutes, remove. No green. (That's courtesy of Karen Metz, a wonderful instructor for what used to be the Peter Kump Cooking School down here in VA.) If grocery store deli sections could do that, I'd be happy; I'd also be as happy as eunny with a Giant that brought in properly cooked eggs that had taste and texture.

where are you shoppin' for this precious watercress eunny so I know where not to go?

I haven't read anyone mentioning it yet, but the weekday volume at Wegmans seems to me to have really tailed off since opening. I've been making regular drives out since opening day, the parking lot during the weekday is maybe 25% full, and all the construction remains along that strip, so it's always a roll of the dice how frustrated you're going to be. Yet I've faithfully returned because that store is still special. I'm never there at dinnertime or on the weekend, however, so for all I know it is packed and they're doing huge numbers, but should I doubt that this area is supporting that store enough? I don't think Wegmans releases sales volume per store, but I'd like to know how Sterling has fared so far against their own internal expectation.

Is anyone else shopping there semi-regularly and who has the same sense--that this area is not "getting" Wegmans the way it should? or do you think the area is getting it?


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is anyone else shopping there semi-regularly and who has the same sense--that this area is not "getting" Wegmans the way it should?

The crowds at prime times haven't tapered off much at all. In fact, if you go in at lunchtime, or between 5-8pm, the crowds aren't substantially reduced from what they were those first two or three weeks.

I know of a few people who copped the "yeah, right, it can't be THAT good" attitude, until they finally went to Wegman's a few weeks ago, so there may be a little of that still. but I think the area's pretty well won over. And, if WTOP is to believed (still haven't found confirmation on this), the head office is so happy that they're planning another store in Leesburg.


"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think Wegmans releases sales volume per store, but I'd like to know how Sterling has fared so far against their own internal expectation.

I don't know any numbers, but I know for a fact that the Wegmans people up in Rochester are (still) ridiculously thrilled by the success of that Dulles store. If you ask someone in charge there (a department head or someone) nicely and carefully, they often let slip tidbits like "This is the biggest store so far" or "The company took a gamble and won" or "The numbers are astounding" or things like that. No one has given me any actual numbers yet but, then again, I haven't found a way to ask that question in a way that doesn't sound overly nosey. Another sign is that they are STILL hiring new employees at Dulles (and at the same time recruiting for Faifax). There was a big signboard out in the parking lot for a Wegmans job fair next week. Who ever heard of a job fair for grocery store positions? I haven't. (I know this could also mean they are having trouble keeping positions filled, but, if they were having real financial problems, wouldn't they stop hiring altogether?) Also, there were a bunch of articles in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle a few weeks ago in which Mr. Wegman himself, facing opposition to new stores in his hometown, talks about the wonderful reception these new stores have had down south and how disheartening it is to have Rochesterians against him. (But, then again, WNYers are used to spacious, clean, full-service grocery stores up there anyway.)

I was at the Dulles store for nearly three hours yesterday, and from up there on the mezzanine, you can still notice the awe on a person's face every now and then (less so than when it first opened, obviously) when he walks in the door. At the checkout yesterday, a woman commented that she didn't even know places like Wegmans existed. It's a great, fun store, I think!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should have seen me last night, running on the balls of my feet in skinny heels across uneven sidewalks, late getting home, pissed off about my day, annoyed by the man in front of me in the express line at Whole Foods who had 27 items and then wanted to pay with exact change. I was planning to make rough-puff pastry, so grimly started calculating how much time it would take to cut together, how long to fold and roll, how long to chill, and concluded that we'd be eating dinner at 10:00pm. Again.

So I get to my apartment, plonk down my groceries, immediately pour out flour and salt on my countertop, and smash up a little sage to put in the crust. A stick of butter, a cup of flour - easy rule of thumb for those of you playing at home. I tear the strip off the carton of Horizon Organic Sweet Butter and turn it to slide the sticks of cold butter out. Nothing happens. I shake it, nothing happens. I take a knife and slit the carton longways and peel it away - it makes a sticky clucking sound, like peeling the duct tape from your "date's" mouth. The butter has at some point melted completely and then been let chill again. It's a greasy, awful mess in there, the interior flooded with now-solid, spongy, bubbly butter, separated in places, totally disgusting.

What is it about Whole Foods and dairy, man? I've had such bad luck with milk, the cheeses pitifully sweating away in their display cases, and now butter. I mean, butter, people! Can it really be that hard? My hatred for Whole Foods is threatening to consume me.


Edited by eunny jang (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A fish story: When Larimer's on Conn. Ave. closed, a new place opened up called "Market Day." You could get boned rainbow trout there, which I did. Once, what I bought was rotten, so I started insisting on smelling it first. When they closed, Whole Paycheck opened up in Tenleytown. They also had the boned trout and happily allowed me to smell the fish. It was never bad, so I sent DH to the one on P Street to get trout. Yup, spoiled. What did HE know? So, from now on no fish gets bought without being inspected first by me. One time, not long ago, the young woman behind the counter showed me the fish SKIN SIDE UP!!! The thing is, when this stuff is fresh it is truly lovely stuff. And, at 7 or 8 bucks a pound, it isn't a bad deal. I also love their lamb sausage.

Hector at the seafood counter at the Columbia Road Safeway won't allow me to smell the fish. As he put it, someone might see me rejecting the product and then they won't buy it, either!!! Doesn't that make sense to you? I shop there v-e-r-y carefully.

Eunny: I buy butter only on sale and put it in the freezer. That's no solace for you and no excuse for WF, but you might want to consider this practice.

One more yucky story: I bought some Uncle Ben's Arborio rice at the Safeway, simply because it was so cheap and, I thought, how bad could it be? So, risotto for dinner. I got all the ingredients together and chopped everything up and opened the bag of rice, measured it into a glass measuring cup and turned back to the sink. When I turned around, little black ant-like things were pouring out of the cup. I squealed and threw it into the sink and washed the rice and little buggers down the sink. Then I was stuck without rice. However, "So's Your Mom" on Columbia Road was just up the street and they have a small selection of imported stuff, so off I went. I bought a box of the real thing and was back home in ten minutes. Risotto was served. The moral of this story: never lived anywhere that doesn't have arborio rice within a five minute walk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My hatred for Whole Foods is threatening to consume me.

Next time

use the heel of the skinny shoes to poke out the eyes of the annoying man in

express line...

I'm telling you, it will help!


...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hector at the seafood counter at the Columbia Road Safeway won't allow me to smell the fish.  As he put it, someone might see me rejecting the product and then they won't buy it, either!!! Doesn't that make sense to you?  I shop there v-e-r-y carefully.

The trick at that Safeway (and any others too) with alot of the seafood is to ask them to get frozen fish for you out of the back. Tuna and scallops (dry) are cheap there, but they leave them out to defrost (so people think they're 'fresh') and then they rot. They're all frozen anyway, except for some of the fillets, which have usually gone bad. Their cryovac'd frozen tuna is actually pretty good for the price (usually $7-8/lb)


Chris Sadler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've learned (the hard way, over and over) to only buy paper products at the Columbia Rd. Safeway, but in a pinch, Dinerboy will pick up a bag of frozen shrimp- which, they've told him, is the same shrimp in their display case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I learned this years ago. They recently had tuna on sale and I saw that it was still frozen, so I bought some and thawed it at home. It was delicious and a very good price. I buy bags of frozen shrimp on sale and keep it frozen. I can make at least 4 meals out of one bag for the two of us. I also check the date on the mussels. If the "use by" date on the bag isn't at least 6 days away, I take a pass. I'm not kidding about carefully shopping at that, or any, grocery store.


Edited by rosebud (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone:

I took one for the team today at Whole Fools. Yes, I was the one with 32 items in an 8 item line, buying vitamins and bottles of wine whose ups bar codes had not yet been entered into the system...and initially using an old SUNTRUST bank card that expired in 1997 to pay. Good times, good times. They love me. :smile::smile:

All the customers that usually push me with their carts to get to the free snacks and the best heirloom tomato; the ones in a hurry. They paid today.


...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Everyone:

I took one for the team today at Whole Fools.  Yes, I was the one with 32 items in an 8 item line, buying vitamins and bottles of wine whose ups bar codes had not yet been entered into the system...and initially using an old SUNTRUST bank card that expired in 1997 to pay.  Good times, good times.  They love me. :smile:  :smile:

All the customers that usually push me with their carts to get to the free snacks and the best heirloom tomato;  the ones in a hurry.  They paid today.

Good for you. You sound like you suffered a lot at the hands of these pushy, odd-toed ungulates -- it was time for some payback! The store should be called Whole Fools (for many of its clientele).

Was this at the Arlington store by chance? Because that place is getting out of hand from almost getting mowed down in the parking lot to having people drive their shopping carts through you in the store -- I myself use a grocery cart simply as a buffer to protect me from orthopaedic or internal organ injury.

Here's a little story from earlier this summer.... On a beautiful Sunday afternoon (much like today), I find myself in the Arlington Whole Fools at about 5:00 pm. I was shopping for the usual Sunday night wine boozing and random stupidity that occurs at the Ministry of Drink every weekend, when I came to the meat counter... There I witnessed an Arlington rube practically screaming at the guy behind the counter:

Rube: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ARE OUT OF FILET MIGNONS. HOW CAN THAT HAPPEN!"

Meat Counter guy: "Well sir, we were really really busy all day and just ran through everything we had. And we had plenty earlier. I am sorry."

Rube (now slamming his palms into that handlebar of his cart, shaking his head, and already walking away): "ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME THAT IT'S MY RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU RUN OUT AND I SHOULD HAVE COME EARLIER."

Minister of Drink: Laughing my ass off in disbelief.

All, I am not making this story up -- soon there will be gunplay at the Whole Fools in Arlington. Other Fools stores are still better but catching up to the Arlington insanity. I think the problem (especially in Arlington) is that these stores simply cannot handle the sharp increase in volume due to the increase in development as well as sophisticated tastes. I am sure they will figure it out sooner or later -- it's a balancing act and a learning curve. In the meantime, I'm wondering if one day I'll need kevlar gear and a Glock-19 just to buy a quart of that Horizon organic milk.


Edited by Minister of Drink (log)

"Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, 'I'm thirsty, not dirty' ". Joe E. Lewis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  In the meantime, I'm wondering if one day I'll need kevlar gear and a Glock-19 just to buy a quart of that Horizon organic milk.

A Glock 30 will give you more firepower with additional concealability.

Food for Thought

Jarad


Jarad C. Slipp, One third of ???

He was a sweet and tender hooligan and he swore that he'd never, never do it again. And of course he won't (not until the next time.) -Stephen Patrick Morrissey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A Glock 30 will give you more firepower with additional concealability.

Food for Thought

Jarad

Throw in sum 15 round, pre-ban LE clips and weez in bidness! Word!


"Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, 'I'm thirsty, not dirty' ". Joe E. Lewis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sick of y'all complaining about the big supermarkets down DC-way; I'm up in the un-quaint little rural slum of Brunswick, MD - about 15 miles west of Frederick, and hard up against the West-By-God-Virginia border.

There've been times I ahven't even been able to get CARROTS, for cripes sake. Not to mention such exotics as shallots, or bok choy, or non-button mushrooms. The meant's not too bad - country folk like their flesh, but the seafood dept. should be shut down as a public health hazard. Many days you can actually smell decaying fish through the whole store.

Two weeks ago, I stopped in early on a Saturday morning to get a pint of buttermilk, to make pancakes for my three-year-old nephew. They only had quarts. Fine, I'll make biscuits alter in the week, or use it up somehow. No dice - got it home, and the whole thing had congealed to the consistency of fresh mozzarella. And the smell...ugh. Still, there was four days to go on the "best by" tag...a return trip revelaed that ALL the buttermilk was bad. THe manager expalined that nobidy buys it anymore, and they wind up throwing out most of every shipment.

Scary stuff...

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...