Category Archives: Shops & Markets

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

What’s available at Grocery Outlet – San Leandro

Now that I have Grocery Outlet so close, I figured I’d start making a list of what I /can/ and /cannot/ find there – for my reference as well as yours. As more items come to sight and mind, I’ll add them to this post.
Not Available
Whipping cream
Fresh herbs
Fresh bread
Meat I’d want to eat
Fish sticks
Any soft toilet paper
Name brand cleaners
Natural peanut butter
Avocados ($1.50!!!!)
Off-brand bacon that was actually good
Tyson chicken (which I don’t want to eat)
Stouffer meat lasagna party size for $10
Frozen bagels stuffed with cream cheese (it could be worse)
$3 bottles of wine
Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider
Sliced bread
Nescafe/Tasters’ Choice Instant Coffee
Lemons (I think 25c each)
Jiffy peanut butter

Grocery Outlet opens in San Leandro

Today was the (unofficial) opening of the new Grocery Outlet “supermarket”, located a stone throw away from my house. I was a little dubious at first about what the store would do for the neighborhood (and clearly, this is not a posh neighborhood by any stretch of the imagination), but once I looked at it from the point of view of how this would ease my grocery shopping, I welcomed it with open arms. Indeed, I think I may have been responsible for suggesting this location. I remember distinctively talking to the manager-to-be of Grocery Outlet a couple of years ago, when they wanted to place it in the old-Albertsons building downtown (which we fought), and suggesting that the lot by my house would be a better location.
Of course, being that it opened today, we had to check it out today – and we were pretty impressed. Bear in mind that the store is brand-new (well, the building itself was vacated by the Salvation Army, but it’s been cleaned and painted so that it’s now unrecognizable), so you would expect it to look nice – and it did, the aisles were wide, the light, functional, and the colors, soothing. It wasn’t as faux-quaint as Trader Joe’s, but not as austere as your regular supermarket either. Everything was nice and neat (again, as you would expect), I can only hope it stays like that.
Now, for what matters, what does Grocery Outlet carry? Well, clearly they are attempting to be like a real supermarket and they carry a little bit of everything, specially vis a vis packaged stuff. Most of their products seem to be overstock – things that didn’t sell that well at other markets. I think that will mean that what’s available will change frequently. Today, for example, they had Haagen Daz sticky toffee pudding ice cream – a flavor introduced in 2006, that seems to no longer be on the market (at least it’s not listed in their website). No choice, but it was just $1.50 – about half the supermarket on-sale price. They also had off-brand stuff, but much less than what they use to sell when I frequented the Berkeley location. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, some of that off-brand stuff (I remember the frozen baked Alaskas) was pretty good. As you can expect there are lots of canned stuff.
Prices are generally low, but not everything is a bargain. Haas avocados were $1.50 – three times as much as what Smart & Final and Mi Tierra supermarket has them for this week. Suave shampoo was $1.50, about the same price as the Safeway’s. But Nestcafe coffee was about $3 less than it’s at Safeway.
They had a surprisingly large wine selection – mostly of cheap wines, of course. I’m thrilled, as this will mean that when I need wine for a dish and don’t have any 2-buck-chuck at home, I can just go across the street and get something.
In all, I don’t anticipate doing my shopping per se at Grocery Outlet, but rather use it as a place where to either get specific things that I know they have them for less – or to go and get something I realize at the last minute I’m out of (darn! I didn’t check if they had flour).
I will, however, write from time to time about special bargains that they have, or interesting items. This time I bought a slice of cheese that I plan to serve blind to my guests on Saturday. Let’s see if anyone can identify it 🙂

Next Day. I went to Grocery Outlet to see if I could get something for dinner. The answer is, unfortunately, no. They have Tyson chicken, but I think that was the company investigated for disgusting chicken practices. They had a few different cuts of pork and very little beef. But I feel uneasy about the quality and origin of the meat they sell. I did notice that they do have a small produce section, I didn’t study it, though.
One thing they don’t have are enough carts or any baskets – making buying just a few things a hassle.
As for dinner, I decided to make spaghetti carbonara and thought I had everything I needed at home. Of course, once I got here I realized I didn’t have enough bacon 🙁

Finally, Grocery Outlet is having its Ribbon Cutting on Thursday, May 7th at 5:30 PM. They’ll have sandwiches or something like that. The Grand Opening is on Saturday, May 9th, starting with Coffee and Treats at 8 AM. They’ll have raffles, samples, etc. – kind of like the BBQ they had a couple of years ago, when they wanted to get public support for converting the downtown Albertson’s building into a Grocery Outlet.


How can lemons cost $1-$1.25 at Safeway, and only 30 cents at the Mexican market a couple of blocks away? How can Safeway get away with fleecing people that way? I really wish there were alternatives to Safeway. Well, Grocery Outlet is opening in a couple of days – hopefully they’ll sell lemons at a reasonable price.

New Grocery Outlet in town & adios Starbucks

As Mike (my husband) reports in San Leandro Bytes, his blog about all the goings on in San Leandro, Grocery Outlet, a discounter of mostly canned/boxed food, is coming to San Leandro. The store, which is almost finished, is located on East 14th, near Estabrook Street – a stone throw away from my house. It occupies the lot previously occupied by the Salvation Army. An affordable housing unit for seniors is being built next door.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to a Grocery Outlet – but I’m hoping this one will be cleaner and neater than others of its kind. I’m also hoping it will not add a lot to the traffic on Estabrook St. – which is already congested at rush time.
That said, I’m happy that we’ll have a grocery store so close to our house. Though we don’t buy much in the way of packaged food, it’ll be useful for emergencies.
In other news, the Starbucks downtown, near Safeway, is going out of business. Starbucks is shutting many of its stores, so it’s not a huge surprise. The Starbucks which is /at/ Safeway seems to be safe for now.

I HATE the Safeway on Bancroft in San Leandro

I hate, hate, hate, the Safeway on Bancroft Ave. in San Leandro. Everyday I walk by it when I go pick up my daughter in daycare – so it’s very convenient to stop there and buy the ingredients for dinner. But they NEVER have everything I need – and sometimes *anything* I need.
Today, for example, I was shopping for a leek tart I’m making tonight – but they had no chives. I was also shopping for a chicken dish I’m making on Wednesday – but they had no cut-up chicken (they had whole chickens, but the cut-up chickens were supposedly on sale). I don’t get it – why do they advertise products at a sale price, if they don’t carry them? And it’s not just that – try getting boneless chicken thighs, or lemongrass or even a cognac at an affordable price (all things I recently needed for cooking).
Part of me wishes the store would go out of business so I’d be forced to go to the other one, rather than be permanently frustrated by their lack of products.