Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hello Costco...Goodbye Dean & DeLuca

Pin It None of my friends understand why I, an empty nester, go to Costco. If you like to eat well, enjoy a glass of wine every night, entertain occasionally and have a freezer, you have every reason to have a Costco card. Besides, it's fun, the meat is superb, and you can't beat the prices.

I usually skip by the electronics, pause at the books, and move straight to the meats and produce. If it's June, I look for the fabulous white peaches from California to squeeze and freeze for Bellini's in the summer. A box of Campari tomatoes is always in my kitchen, for salads, sandwiches or pasta. They are the best. From the refrigerated area, Prosciutto, and the Kirkland Smoked Salmon alternate on my list and a can of White Star Alaska Crab meat is always in my refrigerator. If my daughter is home, I pick up a bag of clams or mussels to steam for lunch together with a baguette and if I'm having company for dinner, Shrimp Scampi is always a favorite.

I only buy Parmeggiano Regianno at Costco, it's the only place I can afford to. Besides, if you stick it in a Ziplock, it lasts forever. Now that imports are so expensive, Costco has cut back on European cheeses but the Dubliner cheese, which they still carry, is pretty good. The Ile de France goat cheese is still also reasonable and it always comes handy for appetizers, salads, omelettes and sandwiches. I promise to post my goat cheese roll appetizer real soon! They used to have a fabulous Manchego from Spain, but not anymore.

In the meat department, you can't beat the quality of their steaks or their lamb chops and their whole chickens are small enough to fit two in the freezer. Of course, their Rotisserie chicken is pretty good if you are in a hurry!. I do not buy their leg of lamb, simply do not like the taste of it, so I skip that. I also skip through the frozen foods, and the paper stuff and pick up a bottle of their Kirkland Olive Oil from the recent harvest on the way to the cash register. Did you know that olive oil, like wine, has a harvest? well I didn't, until a few years ago. Don't confuse this with their regular olive oil which comes in a plastic jug and is just okay. This comes in a glass 1 Liter bottle that says Toscana as well as the year of the harvest. It's in now, so get it, you won't be sorry. After it runs out you won't be able to buy it until it's bottled again after the next harvest. I usually get a case, as I use it practically every day for cooking, salads and marinades.

I spend most of my time in the wine department. Boy, do I love that place. Even though 90% of their wines can be categorized as plain and "boring" you can get some really good bargains sometimes on the other 10% if you know what you are doing. The best time to go shopping for the top wines at Costco is on Thursdays, after lunch. That is usually the day when they put out their new arrivals. You also need to know the time of year when certain wines are released to get a jump start. In my case, Bordeaux have always been my favorite wines and I know they start being released in late March or April, so I pay weekly visits during those months, always on Thursday afternoons. So guess where I was today just before this post?? Right. I am sad to report that no Bordeaux have arrived as yet, but I did come upon 8 bottles of Caymus 2006 for $58.99, a very good price compared to what they are asking at my favorite wine store in NYC. I also picked up a couple of bottles of Prosecco, the Italian wine from the Veneto that is used as an aperitif or in Bellinis, which I serve in the summer. Now, all I need are the white peaches which should be around soon.

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