I’m feeling a bit better today and hoping that a trip to Costco will pep me up. But really, please please get a flu shot and stay healthy this winter. As someone in the US mentioned, you can even get flu shots at Costco.
If you’re in the US or UK, don’t forget that this is the last weekend for the current coupon book. And if you’re in the US, the special Black Friday coupon book should be coming out soon and will be available at your Costco warehouse. Plus, if you send me the first scanned copy of it I’ll send you a $25.00 cash card in time for your Christmas shopping.
Mariani Bulgogi Korean Style Jerky – We’re a big fans of beef jerky and almost always have some in our pantry. It’s great to take on a hiking trip or camping. It’s perfect for stuff like that because it is such a good source of protein and you don’t have to worry about keeping it refrigerated or cooking it, not to mention you won’t have to worry about it getting smushed or anything no matter how you throw it in your pack. Since moving to the UK we always pick up the Australian Mariani beef jerky at Costco, and usually buy the “regular” flavour. But Mariani does make a few different flavours or varieties of beef jerky. I like their jerky because it isn’t super hard but still has a bit of tenderness to it (which is much easier on the teeth) and seems more flavourful than the really hard and dry stuff. Since we’ve never tried any of the different flavours, I thought I would pick up the bulgogi variety on our last trip to Costco. I figured that we like the Korean dish that it is based on, so this would probably be good too. However, we’re not fans of the bulgogi flavoured jerky, it turns out. There’s just something in the flavouring that doesn’t appeal to me that much. If I’m honest it smells and tastes a little like the dried feed that I used to give my sheep and horses. And Dave couldn’t even get past the smell to taste it. My guess is that it is something about the “vegetable powder” that they use for the marinade. In any case, I won’t be getting this flavour again. But I do like the Mariani jerky. The normal stuff is terrific and has a spiciness that is really yummy and perfect for jerky. And, as I mentioned, the pieces are thicker than other brands of jerky and that makes it more tender and easier on your teeth. So, next time I’ll just stick to the regular jerky. 255 grams for £4.97 (US: $8.02). Item #: 0131016.
Warburton’s Soft White Sliced Farmhouse Bread – Now that I have a toaster again, I’ve been having lots of toast. So, on our last trip to Costco I picked up the Warburton’s sliced bread and really like it. It’s really big though. Not necessarily thick, but it is tall, almost too tall for the toaster even. But it toasts up much better than the Ocado/Waitrose stuff that I had been buying. The Waitrose bread (medium sliced, I believe) said it was perfect for toast, but to be honest it turned into a rock hard plank when it was toasted. However, the Warburton’s bread is really nice for toast because it is a bit thicker and that means it retains some moisture after being toasted and doesn’t just get hard and tasteless. It’s also great for a sandwich. It’s slightly bigger dimensions make it a better fit with lunch meats; the meat won’t hang over the edges. The only warning is that you really have to watch what you are spreading on it because the bread is very light in texture, so something like hard butter is definitely just going to crush it and rip it to pieces. But it has a nice flavour and that light texture makes it very good. The 800 gram loaves are quite big, and at Costco you actually get two of them in the pack, so it’s a lot of bread. Unless you are feeding a football team, you’re most likely going to have to put one of the loaves in the freezer. Luckily, it thaws out and is just as good. I didn’t notice it being any drier or any other detrimental changes after I took it from the freezer. Having that second loaf in the freezer really was handy when I had the flu and all I could eat was tea and toast. It’s times like that, that I really am glad that I shop at Costco. I’m hoping that I can get the Warburton’s Toastie loaves when we go to Costco this weekend but I’m not sure that they have it. It looks super thick and obviously should make really great toast or grilled cheese sandwiches. 2, 800 gram loaves for £1.99 (US: $3.21). Item #: 0004435.
Monteño Manchego Cheese – I bought this a while ago and can’t believe it has taken me this long to get around to writing about it. Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese made in a specific area of Spain from a specific breed of sheep. The cheese from Costco is aged for 9 months and has a lovely flavour which isn’t too bold but still with its own specific flavour that is kind of peppery. It is actually pretty similar in texture and taste to a lot of the sheep’s milk cheeses from various places. It has a quite firm texture with the occasional little air bubble in it but nowhere near as holey as Swiss or Jarlsberg. The firmness makes it great for grating and melting but it is also good in cubes or slices. There are all types of recipes that you can use Manchego cheese in because it is so versatile. I used it to make some really good quesadillas since it melts so nicely. But it was perfect with some big plump olives, fresh bread, and cured meats like Serrano or Parma ham. I’ve also used it to grate on salad and soups and that worked quite well. To me it has such a nice flavour that it is really great when it can play kind of a main role in something, like the quesadillas or just sliced. I haven’t tried it, but I bet it would be really lovely on a grilled cheese sandwich. As with any cheese, it is important to let it come to room temperature before eating so that its full flavour can develop. However, if you’re going to grate it be sure to do that fresh from the fridge, because the colder it is the easier it is to grate (and the less mess it will make too). 400 grams for £5.49 (US: $8.86). Item #: 0087134.
Calavo Guacamole – If you like guacamole, but don’t want to play avocado roulette, this is a great alternative. In the box at Costco, you get four packets of really nice guacamole made from 100% fresh ingredients. The guacamole is hand prepared and only made with natural ingredients – no preservatives, no gluten, and no trans fats. Seriously, the ingredients list is very short and consists of ten Haas avocados, onion, salt, fresh coriander, and garlic. Aside from missing out on the jalapeños that is just like what I would use if I were making it at home. Since this doesn’t have the jalapeños in it, clearly it isn’t spicy at all. But I’ve found that it is easy to spice it up by adding my own diced chilies to it, or in a pinch, powdered jalapeño even. No matter how spicy you want it though, it is great for adding to quesadillas or burritos, to salads, or just using it as a great dip for tortilla chips. We use it mostly for a burrito topping. The 227 gram pouches are a good size for the two of us for a dinner of burritos. Of course, we really like our guacamole. You could possibly stretch it out for a few more people if you weren’t as overly generous as I usually am when I put it on. The nice thing about the pack at Costco is that you get four individual pouches so you shouldn’t have to waste any of it. The other benefit of the individual pouches is that you can freeze the ones you aren’t going to use right away. They come out of the freezer just as good and tasty as when they went it, plus they thaw out pretty quickly too. 4, 227 gram pouches for £4.99 (US: $8.05). Item #: 0078376.