This Week at Costco – November 2, 2014

November 8th, 2014 · 2 Comments

In honor of the seven year anniversary, I’ve decided to do a post with seven of my favourite things to buy at Costco.  Obviously there are so many more things that I could add to this list but I was trying to keep it short and sweet.  There are things that will always show up on my list of favourites, like the KS Men’s Dress Shirts, but I’ve included a few items that are representative of a category where you can find great things at Costco, like furniture.  I decided to not include the prices because some of the reviews are from a long time ago and the prices are probably not accurate anymore, or even near accurate after so many years.

KS Men's Dress Shirts

KS Men’s Dress Shirts

Kirkland Signature Men’s Dress Shirts –  We like these shirts so much that we have bought them in four countries now: US, UK, Australia, and Korea.  You can never really have too many great dress shirts.  This is a reprint of a review I did when we were in Australia, but you can find the same high quality, low cost men’s dress shirt at your Costco, no matter where you are in the world.  You can find them online too, but they’re always a great price and they do try to keep the colours and patterns more interesting than just blue and white (though, they always have those too).

I know, I know, I write about these quite often but they’re just that good.  I want to make sure that everyone knows how great these shirts are, and we really do buy them this often because Dave can always use more dress shirts, I guess.  Or at least that is the theory we work on.  This is especially true since we only brought a small selection of shirts when we came to Sydney.  Since we are having trouble finding a decent and reliable dry cleaner, his shirt supply is a little on the small side.  So, we were happy to see some nice dress shirts that were not just light blue, white, or cream.  I mean, sure they are really just variations on that theme, but at least they have a bit of style with stripes instead of just being a solid.  The KS shirts are so nicely made and the fabric feels so soft and wonderful.  Plus, it is no-iron, which is really a big bonus.  I’m big on sending his shirts to the dry cleaner, but this is a great feature because it seems to keep them from wrinkling quite a lot when wearing them. One of the best features of the KS shirts, at least to me, is that they sew the placket (that’s the area around the buttons and button holes) so that they maintain a nice flat appearance.  Both of the shirts are really nice and add a little something different than the standard colors to Dave’s wardrobe.  Costco prides itself on making a very good dress shirt for men, one that is comparable to more expensive shirts.  These aren’t quite up to the exceptionally high quality standards of something like a Thomas Pink shirt.  However, they are comparable in quality, if not better, than any shirt from a department store, I think.  But of course they are a fraction of the price, so that makes them even better, right?  They have quality features that help the shirts look really nice on, as well as wear quite well.  You can’t go wrong really.

Bayside Furnishings Mt. Rainier 84″ Bookcase

Bayside Furnishings Mt. Rainier 84″ Bookcase

Bayside Furnishings Mt. Rainier 84″ Bookcase (a.k.a. my best buy at Costco…ever):  We have been trying to find some nice bookcases to cover one whole wall in our media room for ages now. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find a nice looking, sturdy bookcase for a reasonable price. And our other priority was that they needed to be tall because the room has 11 foot ceilings so something not having some decent height would just get dwarfed by the room.

Then one day when we were in Costco for our weekly stocking up when we saw the perfect bookcases for our room. They had one assembled so you could get a feel for the height and width of it, plus see all of the great detail. We couldn’t believe our luck. And then we saw the price. Now, I want you to look at the picture and then get a price in your head of how much you would pay for that bookcase. Can’t quite come up with a figure? Well, let me give you a little more detail that might not be evident from the picture.

  • Double bookcase with dimensions of 48″ wide X 15.5″ deep X 84″ high.
  • Constructed of hardwoods and cherry veneers with an 11 step hand-applied finish.
  • Elegant crown and base trim.
  • Four adjustable glass shelves with halogen lighting, six adjustable wooden shelves, and two fixed wooden shelves.

Ok, so after all the details and the photo for guidance, you probably have an idea of how much these bookcases might cost. Well, you’re wrong…you’re way off…much too high. No, I can’t read your mind but I am willing to bet that your guess was not $199.99. That’s right these bookcases were only $199.99!!  This is just a piece of the review, for the whole review and all of the details, you’ll have to go read the original post.

Kirkland Signature Cashews

Kirkland Signature Cashews

Kirkland Signature Cashews – Who doesn’t like cashews?  And if you’re looking for a great price on really good quality cashews, you just can’t beat Costco.  They have that big tub of cashews for a really fabulous price, but it’s the quality that makes it so great.  They are big, whole cashews, not little cashew bits or broken nuts.  Plus, they are nicely roasted with the perfect amount of salt; not so salty that they burn your mouth when you eat one.  We always got to Costco for any nuts that we want – cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds – because they are such good quality.  And honestly, the prices are really good and hard to beat for the nice nuts that you get.  Just a couple of weeks ago we bought a small bag of cashews someplace else, and they weren’t nearly as good but would have been much more expensive for the same amount as the Costco tub.  And at Waitrose, I would have to pay £5.99 for 450 grams of cashews of similar quality, which would be £15.04 for the same 1.13 kg of nuts that I can get at Costco for just £9.49; a difference of £5.55!  We never do anything exciting but snack on our cashews because they are so yummy!  Why can’t you eat just one cashew?  1.13 kg.  Item #: 0197875.

Wolf Thuringian Rostbratwurst

Wolf Thuringian Rostbratwurst

Wolf Thuringian Rostbratwurst -This is my favourite member of the bratwurst family.  They are quite hard to find in the US or UK though.  This isn’t like the typical bratwurst that you see so often, like the Johnsonville brats for instance that our Austin Costco stocked.  In fact, these are a very unique sausage even in Germany and have PGI status under EU law.  They come from the German state of Thuringia, in the central part of the country and bordered by the Hartz mountains and the Thuringian Forest.  And these people are serious about their wurst, they’ve even got a whole museum dedicated to the Thuringian sausages, the Deutsche Bratwurstmuseum.  So, what sets this apart from the rest of the bratwurst around Germany?  It’s all about the spices, apparently.  Thuringian sausages are distinguished from the dozens of  types of German wursts by the distinctive spices, as well as their low fat content.  They have a fat content of just 25% as compared to up to 60% in other German sausages.  Only finely minced pork, beef, or sometimes veal, is used to make the sausages. As far as the spice go, in addition to salt and pepper, caraway, marjoram, and garlic are used to spice the sausages; this can vary according to traditional recipes or regional tastes though. These ingredients are blended together and filled into a natural casing of pig or sheep intestine.  However, at least 51% of the ingredients must come from the state of Thuringia because of the PGI status.  I think the reason I like them so much is the texture and the taste because it really isn’t like every other sausage.  The Wolf brats are made with pork and a mix of caraway, mustard and celery.  They have a very smooth texture that is like a meat puree and they are also (as you can tell from the picture) quite light in colour, neither characteristic is like any other type of sausage really.  But they really cook up beautifully!  The natural casings brown to a picture perfect crisp on a grill, under the broiler, or just roasting in the oven.  While I like these served up like a hot dog on a bun, these great sausages are the ideal centrepiece for a German meal with the brats, sauerkraut, and potato salad (of the German type of course).  And in true Thuringian fashion, I like them served with a nice spicy mustard.  They are always awesome!  We’ve been to Germany several times for Christmas and always try to find the people selling the real Thuringian brats at the Christmas markets, though a nice Krakauer doesn’t make me sad either.  1 kilogram/10 sausages.  Item #: 0070998.

Whole Beef Top Loin

Whole Beef Top Loin

Whole Beef Top Loin –  We pretty much only buy our beef, pork or chicken at Costco because it is so much better than the typical supermarket.  In the US, you just can’t find anything near the quality because they even sell USDA Prime cuts.  In the UK, they sell top quality meat as well and the only place that comes close is a really good local butcher.

We were having a bunch of family over one of the days that we were visiting, so my mom decided that a giant beef loin would be the perfect thing for dinner.  And she was right on target because everyone loved it!  It’s hard to go wrong with a nicely prepared hunk of beef, really.  At Costco, they have such nice beef and is far better than anything you’re likely to find at the regular grocery stores in your area.  Not to mention, the prices are certainly better.  The full top loins are big, so it isn’t something to make unless you’re having a big gathering for sure.  There’s a good amount of marbling, which helps it stay delicious and juicy while you’re cooking it.  My mom rubbed it with olive oil and salt and pepper, plus she made some slits in it and stuffed garlic cloves in it, as well to make sure it was flavorful.  The downside is that it starts smelling delicious in the whole house shortly after putting it in the oven, but since it is such a big piece of meat, it take a few hours before you actually get to eat any of it.  But I guess there are much worse problems to have.

Kirkland Signature Women's Pima Tee

Kirkland Signature Women’s Pima Tee

Kirkland Signature Women’s Premium Pima V-Neck Tee –  This is just an example of women’s clothing at Costco.  I don’t mind buying clothing there and do it quite frequently, especially for things like tees and workout wear.  They have great deals on sneakers and socks too.

I am really happy to see that Costco is expanding their Kirkland Signature clothing line for women.  And these t-shirts are a great addition.  I got boring white, because that’s the kind of girl I am.  However, they had a number of other colours including black, pink, and a turquoise colour.  I think they might have had a purple one too but I’m not positive now.  The tees have a deep v-neck cut and short sleeves and a flattering cut through the body as well.  As well as the nice cut, the t-shirts are super comfortable because of the very nice quality 100% Pima cotton from Peru that was used.  Seriously, the tee is so super soft and that of course makes it look smooth and hang nicely when worn.  I like a nice plain tee like this to wear by itself but also under things too.  The smooth fabric means that it works under jackets or a cardigan really well too because it doesn’t seem to “grab” the other fabric and bunch up in that annoying way that can often happen.  The other nice thing about these tees is that they are long enough to tuck into jeans or whatever if you’d like, or to avoid showing too much skin if you bend down.  I hate a t-shirt that pulls up and seems to expose more of me than not when I bend over or do normal movements like that.  I’ve washed the shirt a number of times and it hasn’t shrunk up at all, the fabric still looks great, and it doesn’t even get all wrinkled and look horrible after you pull it out of the dryer (though I am always quite prompt about removing laundry from the dryer).  I would certainly compare this to the quality of tee that I have purchased from Lands’ End, which is a combo of cotton and viscose modal, but doesn’t feel anywhere nearly as nice and soft as the KS tee.  And of course, the Kirkland Signature tee isn’t nearly as pricey as the Lands’ End tee either.   At Lands’ End you’ll pay £14.95, whereas at Costco you’ll pay less than half of that price.  If you like a plain tee, these are great quality for an unbeatable price.  I definitely plan on getting more of them on our next trip to Costco.    Item #: 0714220.

Eye Glasses from Costco Optical – Last night I picked up my new glasses that I purchased from Costco 2 weeks ago (April 20th, to be exact). The process was easy, they had a nice variety of frames, cheap to pricey, and they came in within the 2 to 3 week time frame I was given when ordering them. I love the new glasses! I might even wear them out of the house, I like them so much.

My previous glasses made me feel like I had to wear my contacts every single moment I was awake because I could never really see clearly through the lenses without holding them up (and no, this wasn’t a prescription problem). I had purchased them about 4 years ago from one of the big optical places (you know who you are LensCrafters), and was less than pleased with the finished product. The frame was okay quality wise, but the lenses were somewhere far less than correct. They had messed up the lenses so that the only way I could see accurately was to hold my glasses way up on my nose, basically looking out the bottom of the lens. So, I complained and was told that I probably just needed time to adjust blah blah blah and in the end they would not fix the problem. Oh yeah, and the best part was that these were a $400 pair of glasses. Nice. And the coatings on the lenses started to come off at the edges of the lenses about a year ago. Who doesn’t like an expensive, quality item like that?

Costco Optical glasses and case

Costco Optical glasses and case

In comparison, my new Costco glasses seem great. The lenses are totally correct, as in, I can actually see out of them and don’t have to do anything strange to actually get that accomplished except open my eyes. There are a variety of price points for the frames from $39 for Kirkland Signature frames to over $150 for designer frames. I had decided that this time I wanted to try the rimless frames because I think they have a very clean look on your face and don’t stand out. Of course, if you like the flashy frames something like red, lime green, or purple, Costco’s got you covered on those too. Unfortunately for me, there is no totally rimless frame option from Kirkland Signature, so all of these frames were priced at $79.99. And that’s a price I find reasonable for a pair of glasses I’m going to have for several years.

Now, on to the lenses.  I’m still young enough, or at least my eyes are, that I do not yet require bi- or tri-focal lenses. So, just the plain old lenses for me. I went with the 1.67 High Index lenses that were $69.99; these are the thinnest, lightest lens material available right now and they come with a scratch resistant coating, as well as a UV coating. I also got the anti-reflective treatment, really a must if you work at a computer or drive at night, for $29.99. So, that’s a big grand total of $99.98 for the lenses. Also, since I have the totally rimless frames you can get the edges of the lens polished for an extra $9.99, which I decided to do because I don’t like the dull edge look.  This was the only thing that I thought was a little bit of an unnecessary fee from Costco, but it was low enough that I didn’t mind paying it.

For the whole review, you’ll need to check out my original post from 2008.


Tags: Clothing · Decorating · Food · Furniture · Health & Beauty · Household Items Share

2 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Candy // 2014.11.18 at 4:47 pm

    My husband totally agrees about the eye glasses. He loves his new ones and they were a lot cheaper than he’s paid in the past. Plus he got sunglasses as well. When I can get new glasses I will for sure go there next year. My sister-in-law got her glasses there too.

  2. 2 Hank Drake // 2014.11.15 at 6:01 pm

    Love your blog. As an American Costco member, it’s interesting to read about Costco from an English perspective.

    I also swear by the Kirkland Signature dress shirts. Just bought two more today. The attention to detail and quality of fabric stand out: the pockets and cuffs are attached so that the patterns align perfectly; the fabric is treated so this is one of the few true non-iron dress shirts.

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