Guest Post: Emily’s Costco Finds

May 11th, 2010 · 12 Comments

[This is a guest post from frequent commenter, Emily.  She writes a blog, Bentobloggy, about making the most adorable bento boxes for her daughter’s lunch!  Even if you don’t have kids (like me) you should check it out because they are so creative and fun.  She also has posts on things like making pesto, drying mushrooms, or vegetarian lasagne, too.  Emily’s been a Costco member for about 10 years and shops at the location in Kennesaw, Georgia.]

Emily’s Costco Finds

I actually got a chance to go shopping by myself today, sans 4 year old, and it was amazing.  I went a little crazy filling my cart, as I tend to do when I’m uninterrupted.  This can be good and bad.  Bad because it falls to me to carry and unpack everything all by myself.  Oh well, you know what they say about beggars….

Tanimura & Antle Artisan Lettuce

Tanimura & Antle Artisan Lettuce

So today we have some great new items.  The first is Tanimura & Antle Artisan Lettuce.  These lettuces are absolutely lush and gorgeous, in deep purples and bright greens.  You get six small heads of this specialty lettuce, and you get a few different exotic-sounding varieties – Petite Gem, Petite Oak and Petite Tango.  The first is a crinkly-type which comes in both purple and green, and then the more leafy lettuce which goes from green to deep purple at the ends.  It’s really a show-stopper on the plate.  They also taste great!  They are a little spicy, like arugula, but not at all bitter (I’m not a huge fan of bitter greens, so, good for me.)  I also really like buying it this way because they are very small heads of lettuce, so I use two at a time for a single large salad, and the rest stores really nicely.  They have a longer fridge life than the Spring Mix lettuce that Costco also carries because it’s not pre-cut (my big peeve about that is that it practically comes home expiring, yuck!  I don’t buy it anymore.)  I also think it’s a good value at $3.49 for 6 heads (25 oz).  Item # 16713.

Artichokes from Costco

Artichokes from Costco

Still in the produce section, we have a package of four lovely jumbo California artichokes from Ocean Mist Farms in a bag with a sturdy carrying handle.  ‘Chokes are one of my favorite vegetables, but unfortunately are a mystery to many, so don’t let them intimidate you!  Pick up some of these beauties, and enjoy with a nice compound butter.  They really aren’t that hard to prepare, and the reward is so worth it.  Artichokes are in season all year, but March through May are the most prolific months, so prices should be good right now.  They last about a week in the fridge with a damp paper towel wrapped loosely around the stems.  Priced at $5.99 for 4 huge artichokes, it’s a really good deal.  Item # 14658.

Don Pablo Coffee

Don Pablo Coffee

Next, I passed a sample cart with Don Pablo coffee.  I started drinking coffee only recently, so admittedly I’m no expert, but wow, I was amazed at this.  I tried the medium-dark roast Signature Blend.  I was hesitant to try it without my usual sweetener (xylitol), but was totally won over at the smooth, absolutely bitter-free taste, with just a splash of cream added.  It almost didn’t need sweetening.  They had both freshly ground and whole bean 2 lb bags for sale.  When I got home I did some research on the company, and I came across this quote from the Don himself:

We roast to order for Costco, and it ships directly to their [distribution center] in one day, and they put it on the shelf that day or the day after at the latest.  No third party distribution system and no large minimum orders. We only send them what they can sell in 2-3 weeks.  This is part of our unique business model – small batch artisan roasting, 30 kilos at a time (we have multiple small batch roasters), roasted to order.  Additionally we roast in traditional gas fired drum roasters, and our Roast Masters (myself included) have decades of combined experience.  Additionally, we are growers, and only buy coffee from friends and family all over Latin America.  We get the best beans.  For $5.00 a pound, it is an exceptional value.  Thanks to Costco.

Darron “Don Pablo” Burke

Just by taste alone, I’m impressed!  One 2 lb bag (ground or whole) $9.99.  Item # 175497.

Carando Italian Sandwich Kit

Carando Italian Sandwich Kit

As I rounded the coffee cart, I did a double take at the offering behind the next refrigerated glass case.  It was Carando brand Italian sandwich kit with meats and cheese, enough to make eight sandwiches.  It consists of Genoa salami, pepperoni (large rounds), honey ham and provolone cheese.  They each come in their own resealable zip-top bags, and you could even reuse the larger plastic container, if you wanted.  Now, here’s why I did a double-take.  The price was  just $2.97.  Yes, that was right.  I actually thought it was a mis-print.  I snagged two and headed for checkout where the cashiers seemed surprised that there were any left (there were plenty when I looked in the case.)   They did caution me that the expiration date was quite soon, and upon closer inspection found that it did indeed expire – in only two days.  When I got home I decided to store them in the freezer, and they should be fine a little later.  I’m not sure if the fire-sale price was because they expire imminently or if that is just the normal price, but I’d never seen them before at Costco, and I’m looking forward to trying it as soon as I finish the other deli meat I just bought.  28 oz, $2.97.  Item # 483564.

Motor Trend 150 Watt Power Inverter from Costco.com

Motor Trend 150 Watt Power Inverter from Costco.com

Last, but not least, I want to review a Costco.com product.  It’s the Motor Trend 150 Watt Power Inverter for vehicles. It converts DC power to household AC power.  I was drawn to the shape and size, because they claim that it fits in most vehicle cup holders (unless you’ve met my BMW cup holders…nothing ever fits in mine.)  I also loved that it had two types of outlets, one for a regular AC plug, and the other for USB charging.  Since I have an iPhone that constantly needs charging, this was a great bonus, as well as the on/off switch and the built-in fan.

I received it a while back, but only just tried it for the first time during a 7 hour road trip my MIL and I took last weekend.  In incredible form so typical to my life, I didn’t pack a single backup power source – I just brought my iPhone USB cable, putting my full faith (and risking 3 days of boring hotels with nothing to do) in this little device.  Unfortunately, it failed spectacularly.  Not only did the USB outlet not work at all, but the actual plug that goes into your lighter for power kept stubbornly and instantly popping out.  We tried two different car outlets (and later two more in a different car) with the same disappointing result.  My MIL was similarly out of luck trying to finish a paper she was writing on her laptop, because her laptop battery no longer holds any charge and must be actively plugged in to an AC power source.  We had to resort to rigging the plug with surgical tape, and even then it wasn’t secure, due to the poorly-designed plug and a cord that is way too short to even attempt to fit into a cup holder (notice the stock product picture!)  Now it’s covered in sticky adhesive residue with a non-working USB outlet and no way to actually GET your DC power converted.  We ended up having to plug her laptop into the wall at the hotel, and then plugging my iPhone USB cable into the laptop.  Fail.  This one is going back to Costco.  $29.99 each.  Item # 466603.

In case anyone was wondering, the soda fountains and vending machines at our Atlanta-area Costco are still Coke.

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Tags: costco.com · Electronics · Food · Guest Posts · Travel Share

12 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Guest Post: More Great Finds from Emily | Addicted To Costco! // 2010.06.01 at 4:44 am

    […] a second guest post from Emily, who wrote a guest post about some other great Costco finds a couple of weeks ago.  She writes a blog, Bentobloggy, about making the sweetest bento boxes for […]

  2. 2 Darron "Don Pablo" Burke // 2010.05.23 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for posting about us Emily! We really appreciate it. We’re a small quality-focused coffee growing/roasting company who relies on word of mouth to get our message out. We’ll also be doing a full page ad in the Costco Connection magazine, July issue. Maybe we’ll meet you at one of our sampling events in the Southeast. We’ll be at the Altamonte Springs, FL Costco #183, June 10 -13. Gustavo, our coffee farmer and Sharing Certified Administrator (www.sharingcertified.org) will be there too. He’s a 4th generation Colombian coffee farmer and degreed agriculturist, and a wealth of good information. hope to see you there!

  3. 3 Pat // 2010.05.19 at 10:45 am

    Remember, if something is marked with .97 i.e. $2.97 it is a reduced price. If there is an asterisk * on the display card it means when those items are gone – that is it- that is all there is and when they are gone they are gone.

  4. 4 Emily (Bentobloggy) // 2010.05.18 at 8:41 am

    Dave, I’m sure it didn’t come with adapters. It arrived in a simple molded clear plastic clamshell-type package, so I certainly would not have missed anything else that might have come with it. I wish it had, though! It was extremely vexing.

  5. 5 dave // 2010.05.18 at 7:02 am

    Regarding the car power plug on the inverter, by any chance do you check to see if the package included various adapter pieces meant to help customize the plug to the socket in your particular car? Not that I know that it should have had them. I ask because the last couple times I bought anything like this it came with a couple pieces to swap out, usually by screwing things on and off, and thus adjust the length and diameter of the plug so that it would stay plugged in.

    There is no excuse for the USB plug not working though!

  6. 6 Danita // 2010.05.12 at 1:57 pm

    great post. I can’t wait to see if the Austin Costco has the Artisan lettuce.

  7. 7 Tweets that mention Guest Post: Emily’s Costco Finds | Addicted To Costco! -- Topsy.com // 2010.05.12 at 7:10 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kurt. Kurt said: Addicted – Guest Post: Emily’s Costco Finds http://bit.ly/axNmUv […]

  8. 8 Kered Retej // 2010.05.11 at 4:50 pm

    Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that a price ending in “$.97” at Costco indicates that it is a clearance item.

  9. 9 Emily (Bentobloggy) // 2010.05.11 at 12:55 pm

    Yes, oh yes, I love that lettuce! Definitely my new favorite item in the produce section.

  10. 10 brandy // 2010.05.11 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for the excellent guest post! We’ll be doing a quarterly trip next month after vacation to restock and I’m excited to see everything available here in the US.

  11. 11 Heather - Dollar Store Crafts // 2010.05.11 at 9:01 am

    Ha ha, your first paragraph cracked me up because I just rushed to Costco last night at 7:30pm w/out my 3 kids (the oldest of whom isn’t even 4 yet). I too had to pack the car and unpack the groceries by myself. :)

    Thanks for sharing about the coffee. I usually buy Costco’s on-site roasted beans (they’re awesome), but the Don Pablo sounds good too!

  12. 12 Beth // 2010.05.11 at 7:37 am

    We started buying the Artisan Lettuce recently, too. Love it! I buy the big pack of Romaine hearts and one box of Artisan Lettuce and have salads all week for our family of 4.

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