If you thought IKEA couldn’t get any better, you thought wrong. On February 8, the biggest IKEA in North America will open in Burbank, California. The biggest, we say! At 456,000 square feet, the new IKEA Burbank edges out the 450,000-square-foot store in Schaumberg, Illinois, as North America’s largest, but falls short of the world’s largest, in Seoul, South Korea, where shoppers can traipse through a 625,000-square-foot store. (Most branches in the U.S.
Every November, sometime after my husband’s birthday on the 13th, the same scenario plays out. As we start contemplating our Thanksgiving plans, my husband gets a look on his face and our conversation takes a Seinfeldian turn (remember the Festivus episode?). Michael says something like, “It has to be turkey, right?” I nod, knowing what comes next. “I mean if turkey is so great, why do we only eat it once year? How about we have fish and chips? Or chicken tikka masala?
The 365 by Whole Foods Market stores are billed as a lower-price version of the mother store, but how much will you really save? I decided to investigate. On the same day in February, I checked the prices of items in regular rotation on my grocery list at the 365 by Whole Foods in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and an old-school Whole Foods seven miles away in Glendale, CA. Here’s what I found out. Almost all items were less expensive at 365 — some amazingly so.
Have you ever wondered why the readymade, warm-and-waiting-for-you rotisserie chicken at grocery stores is so cheap? At Whole Foods, for example, a rotisserie chicken costs $7.99 and an organic one is just $9.99. And Costco sells them for $4.99 Here’s another fun fact: Costco alone sells something like 70 million a year — and they do so at a financial loss. So, what gives?
Is there a better harbinger of good times and warm weather than the smell of burgers on the grill? Plus, burgers are economical and the original low-prep dinner. What could be simpler than shaping patties and slapping them on the backyard Weber? Nothing. The only complicated part is picking out a ground beef we can all feel good about. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but ground beef is a leading cause of food poisoning.
My kids love smoothies, so I’ve been tossing those bags of frozen fruit into my shopping cart for years. It’s a no-brainer in the winter, too — of course a bag of frozen strawberries is going to be less expensive than a carton of out-of-season (and probably terrible-tasting) fruit! Plus, frozen fruit makes the smoothie extra frosty. And as nutritionist Marion Nestle points out in her 2006 book What to Eat, freezing food has “no effect on the nutritional value of produce.
What’s good for the kitchen at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and HomeGoods? Um, to sum it up briefly, a lot! I have a fairly intense relationship with Marshalls. I grew up shopping their Bedford, MA, store and now I am lucky enough to live near a “really good one” outside Los Angeles. This is not just my personal opinion — I am quoting a very impressed gentleman I heard remark as he walked through it.
Can Trader Joe’s read my mind? Two weeks ago, I unfurled the very last bits of what had been two jumbo boxes of Costco’s Kirkland brand Stretch-Tite plastic cling wrap — it only took me 18 months to get through the rolls — dumped the cardboard box and roller in the recycling bin, and immediately became conflicted about buying a replacement.
After a recent trip to my local supermarket, I feel like I owe the frozen vegetable section an apology. Aside from the odd bag of frozen peas I grab now and again — one cup of which is usually intended for an Alfredo-y peas-and-ham pasta dish and the rest are left to develop tiny horrid frost beards until pressed into service as a first-aid device — I have ignored you. Little did I know, I’ve been missing trendy time-savers like riced cauliflower ($3.
“Bring your checkbook,” my neighbor joked from across the street as he watched my husband and I, reusable bags purposefully slung over our shoulders, leaving for our local farmers market one Sunday morning. We waved and shrugged, feeling just a little bit like suckers. I live in the Studio City section of Los Angeles — a few hours car ride from California’s Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world.
It slides in the shelf sideways, due to its tall picture-book shape, but even from this reduced position, My Learn to Cook Book holds its own among the more usual suspects. Inscribed “Maria, from Grandpa & Grandma Speidel, Merry Christmas, 1969,” this Big Golden Book (as opposed to Little Golden Books like The Pokey Puppy) was my very first cookbook.