Belgian Waffles

One of the delights of downtown Brussels is their waffle stores.  Here, you can eat freshly made waffles with a variety of toppings.  A big variety.  The ones I tried were delicious but a pain in the but to eat on the go, specially as the plastic forks provided were too weak to easily cut the thick waffles.  The flavors were great, however.  I might want to recreate this at home.

Candy Club Subscription Review: A half-sour experience


Candy Club: Up to 3 lbs old-fashioned candies, $34/month
Promo: fbtreatyourself20 for $20 off your first box
I paid: $14 with promo, box value: $
To unsubscribe: call 888-598-5995, quick & easy

The Candy Club is a monthly subscription that sends you 2 to 3 pounds of old fashioned candies every month. Boxes come with 3 plastic jars of lose candy and individually wrapped candies filling up the rest of the box. The box is also supposed to include a “surprise confection”, generally a wrapped cookie or candy bar, but it was missing from my box. I didn’t notice until now, which makes me sad as it would probably have been my favorite item in the box. The candy containers look pretty cool, but they are actually made of thin, flexible plastic – so they are not really reusable.

This boxed is supposed to have a retail value of $60. To me, that seems impossible. I came up with a $16 value for this box, using online prices. Now, those values are calculated based on the purchase of much larger quantities, but even at regular candy stores, lose candy goes for $8-$12 a lb. I got 2 1/2 lbs of candy so, at the most, this box is worth $30. It was a deal at the $14 price I paid, but not much of one at the $34 cost of subsequent boxes. Fortunately, cancelling was easy. I just called the number and was unsubscribed without


Sour Power Candy Belts in Wild Cherry, 9 oz, $2.5

These were sour, really sour. I had trouble eating even the tiny piece I tried. My children, however, enjoyed them.


Gimbal’s Sour Gourmet Jelly Beans, 14 oz, $8.5

I also found these to be incredibly sour, though quite tasty after you were done with that. Nobody else in my family found them sour, however, showing their taste buds are gone. Enjoyable but not better than regular Jelly Belly’s.


IMG_0178 Gimbal’s Red Licorice Scottie Dogs, 10 oz, $5

I didn’t realize these were made of licorice until I just checked what they were call to write about them. You would have fooled me, they don’t taste at all like licorice. That’s a good thing as I hate licorice. That said, these didn’t taste of much anything. Everyone at my house agreed these were not worth the calories.

Sweet’s Cotton Candy Salt Water Taffy, ~7 oz, $2.5

These were everyone’s favorites. Really delicious taffy that really tasted like cotton candy. I may very well buy some more of these in the future.

Check out my other subscription box reviews.

African products @ 88 Supermarket in San Leandro

I just stopped by the 88 Supermarket to buy some frozen banana leaves ($1.20), and while I waited for Mike to finish the purchase, I did some quick browsing.  I was happy to find one aisle with a bunch of African items. They had manioc, cassava, semolina and plantain flours, some manioc couscous, flour for fufu, egusi, groundnut butter (peanut butter but African), lots and lots of palm oil (starting at $4 for a small jar).  You can see some of the other products they carry on the picture below. I originally thought they didn’t have maggi cubes, but clearly this picture shows that they do.

88 Supermarket
14405 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA
(510) 351-8200

Buying a Catfish @ 88 Super Market

New empanada venture in the East Bay

I haven’t been to SadieDey’s Cafe in downtown Oakland since it was called Tumble n’ Tea and my kids were little. Back then I enjoyed it, so I was sad to receive an e-mail today announcing that it was closer. The owners started selling homemade pies a few months back at the cafe, and they seem to have found their passion. They are closing SadieDey at the end of May and starting a pie-business.
The e-mail implied that they may be getting a food truck, but their website suggests that they’re selling the pies from a bicycle. In any case, while the pies are called pies they look very much like empanadas. Their fillings are pretty eclectic, however, and include chicken gorgonzola, beef in tomato sauce, apple brie and even coconut curry and aloo matar (Indian potatoes & peas). They also have some dessert ones. They use mostly organic ingredients.
The pies are not cheap, they cost about $7-8 and, in the pictures, at least, they seem to be the size of an empanada. But I imagine they must be considerably larger (or very filled), as otherwise they’d be significantly overpriced. You usually need to eat three regular-size empanadas to call it a meal.
In any case, I’m curious about them and if I ever come across their bike or their truck I’ll give them a try.
Sue’s Sassy Pies

Buying a Catfish @ 88 Super Market – San Leandro

A few weeks ago, the San Leandro Patch had a little “story” about the 88 market on East 14th St. I’d been to the store once or twice before, in search of rare Asian ingredients, but it’s not a place I’d normally hit. However, the Patch article mentioned that the 88 market has become a seafood emporium in the last few years, offering 150 varieties of fish, so when I needed some catfish earlier this week (to make Catfish a la Meuniere which was, btw, amazing), and Safeway was selling it at $9 lb (really? who are they kidding?), I thought we should give 88 market a try.
Fortunately or unfortunately I sent Mike to do the shopping. He was very impressed with the freshness of the fish. Indeed, it was alive and swimming in a tank until Mike ordered it, heard a big thump and a lot of flopping around. He didn’t watch, and he was happy the kids didn’t go along. He asked for the catfish to be filleted but again, declined to look at the process. What can we say? He’s squeamish.
So he was not prepared, after he came home, for me to scream at him from the kitchen to come see what he bought: a bag of fish parts (head, tail, fins, whatever) with two very uneven, not fully descaled, bone-in fillets that would feed one person (if I chose to cook them, which I did not). Moral of the story? Go to 88 market for very fresh, full fish – but if you want your fish neatly processed, go elsewhere.
I will try this place again, however, when I need some type of rare fish you can’t find at the supermarket – and I have time to learn how to fillet fish myself 🙂
88 Supermarket
14405 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA
(510) 351-8200

Safeway Supermarket Free Delivery Code

This promotion code doesn’t seem like such a great deal – but I figure I’d past it along.
Free Delivery of your next order of $125 or more.
Use code SAVE336 at checkout.
Code valid on deliveries through 4/30/10

Flat Iron Steak @ Safeway

Safeway is now selling fresh flank steak, skirt steak and flat iron steak in vacuum packages – with expiration dates of a month or two in the future. I’m glad that they are available (these cuts have been hard to find at our local Safeway in the past), but I wish they were sold at more reasonable prices. These are supposed to be cheap cuts of meat, after all, but Safeway sells them at $6.50lb! You can often get rib eye steak at Safeway for less than that.
I tried their “Ranchers Reserve” flat iron steak tonight in a recipe for Maple and Soy-Glazed Flank Steak (they didn’t have any flank steak). I wasn’t happy with the recipe, the flavors were very tame, but the meat itself was incredibly tender – some of the most tender meat I’ve ever eaten. It’s not surprising, as flat iron steaks are supposed to be second only to beef tenderloin in tenderness. But I’m more of a “flavor” person than a “tenderness” person, so this cut didn’t really win me over.
One thing that did annoy me was how uneven the two “steaks” were cut. They range in thickness from about 1/6″ to 1 1/2″.
I probably won’t buy this cut again, just because of the lack of flavor, but I will give the skirt steak and the flank steak a try sometime.

“Bait and Switch” at Safeway?

I’m beginning to wonder whether Safeway is now officially engaging on “bait and switch” tactics – advertising products at bargain prices but then having so limited a selection of them available that they run out before most costumers even make it to the store. Once at the store, customers have little choice but to buy something more expensive – thus increasing Safeway’s profits, at least in the short run. In the long run, customers hopefully will wise up and go shopping elsewhere.
My suspicions are founded on the fact that the last two times I went shopping at the Washington Street Safeway in San Leandro, they were out of the advertised specials. Tuesday night they were out of both top sirloin and whole chickens, and Wednesday they didn’t have any more large packages of London broil. I can understand Tuesday – it was the last day of the sale and I went late – but yesterday was the first day of the new sale and I went shopping shortly after 5, before the after-work shopping “rush hour”. A grocery store like Safeway, that has operated for decades, has an idea as to how much an item will sell at a given price, and there is no excuse for them to run out of that item by 5 PM.
Safeway is much closer to my house than Lucky’s, and I will give it a chance or to more, but if I find that this trend of not having enough products continues, I’ll definitely start patronizing Lucky’s instead.

Worst lamb chops ever at Lucky’s supermarket

I usually shop at Safeway rather than Lucky’s, as Safeway is closer to me. However, I saw that lamb chops were on sale at Lucky’s for $3lb and figured I’d give them a try. Bad idea. They were soooooo bad, so full of fat that there was barely any meat to eat. Even cutting around the fat was a pain in the neck.
So yes, I learned my lesson, there is a reason why Lucky’s is cheaper than Safeway.

New mini-mart in San Leandro: Marina Market

A small mini-mart opened a little while ago on the corner of Estabrook and Washington, behind Cafe Americano. Today I finally checked it out.
The store is small and carries staples (including some Asian ingredients like coconut milk and canned lichees) and fresh vegetables. Their selection of the latter is quite good. Everything is reasonably priced. While their inventory is not too vast right now, they are planning on increasing it.
As the store is only a block from my house, I expect I will be going there when I’m out of one or two items and don’t want to go to Safeway. While I love Grocery Outlet, you can’t expect to find something specific there. Plus their vegetable selection is not very good and it’s not that cheap. Plus I like supporting the little guy. 🙂
So, if you live in the neighborhood, check it out.
Marina Market
2150 Washington Ave., Unit A
San Leandro, CA