Tag Archives: safeway

Safeway Sub Sandwich Review

It’s a great deal when it’s on sale

The Safeway sub, with a bread knife and fork for size comparison.

Every Friday, Safeway supermarket has a bunch of items on sale for $5. Usually this includes a couple of items from their deli, and more often than not, it includes their “Signature Cafe All American Sub,” which is normally $10. This 14″+, 2lb sandwich includes ham, cured turkey, white American cheese and romaine lettuce. The ingredient list says it also has beef, mayo and mustard, but these never seem to make an appearance in my sandwiches. Adding the latter two improves the experience. The sandwich could probably also used more cheese, there really isn’t enough to cover all the meat.

Despite these shortcomings, it’s a damn good sandwich. For $5, it’s an excellent sandwich. It provides enough food for easily 3-4 meals and it actually keeps fairly well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

The bread is usually on the hard side, but the sub I got today was in a soft roll, which I prefer.

All in all, this is one of the best deals at Safeway. Look for it on Fridays.

On Oxtails

The differences in prices are incomprehensible

Tonight for dinner, I made a fabulous oxtail stew from a recipe from Jerez de la Frontera – I will publish it shortly. Making the stew, however, was far easier than actually procuring the oxtails. They used to be a relatively cheap cut of meat, but I guess demand has gone up as prices are through the roof and all over the place.



I ordered my first four pounds of oxtails from Safeway, as they were on sale for $7/lb. This is what passes for a very good price right now for a cut that is mostly bone, fat and gelatin and, as a result, has very little meat. As usual, I asked for no substitutions as Safeway almost invariably substitutes the meat on sale I order for far more expensive stuff. Indeed, I’ve had to call to complain about these substitutions so often, that the day before I placed this order I spoke with two different Safeway employees about the fact that I did not want any substitutions, no matter how well intentioned they were.

Anyway, I digress, but as I half expected, Safeway did not send me the 4 lbs of $7/lb oxtails I ordered, but instead sent me two small packages of vacuum packed oxtails for $13/lb! To add insult to injury, those packages included some of the thinnest bones from the tail. I was not happy. I got a refund, but was still left in need of another source for oxtails to have enough for my recipe.

What do you think Safeway guarantees 100%?


Enter Cardenas supermarket, which also had fresh oxtails on sale, for $9/lb (though closer to $11/lb when you add Instacart fees and tips). That might seem a lot, but the price of oxtails at other supermarkets was even higher. They were $10/lb at Costco, $13/lb at Raleys, $17.3 at 99 Ranch Market and $23/lb to $34/lb at Hmart! Now, these are Instacart prices, but what the hell???!!!!

There were significant differences between the oxtails I got from Cardenas (those seen at the top of the pan) and Safeway (bottom). The former were all medium to large pieces, and had a fresh red color. The latter included quite a few small bones, and they had a weird purplish color, that didn’t quite show up in the picture, probably from the packing method. Still, once I cooked them they were all very good. Indeed, the tiny pieces had very little meat but what they had was particularly succulent, probably as it shared more surface area with the sauce.

I was telling my husband how this could have been an $80 dish if I hadn’t shopped so carefully (frankly, it’d have been more – I’d forgotten about the $16 bottle of sherry I’d pour into the stew). He said he felt it’d have been worth $80. He is a smart man.

Note: the link to Instacart is a referral link, if you subscribed immediately after you click on it, I might get $10 credit and you would as well. You probably can get a better deal elsewhere, though.

Carando Meatballs + Signature Reserve Pasta Sauce Reviews

Won’t buy again

Last time I made ravioli, I paired them with Signature Reserve Tomato, Porcini & Black Truffle Pasta Sauce ($6, on sale for $4 for 21 oz jar at Safeway) and Carando spicy Sicilian meatballs. I suspected the combination wasn’t going to work and it didn’t – but I also tasted each ingredient separately and I was not impressed with either the sauce or the meatballs.

Signature Reserve Pasta Sauce Tomato Porcini & Black Truffle - 21.2 Oz

Signature Reserve appears to be a premium version of Safeway/Albertson’s store brand. They cost more than twice than regular Signature pasta sauces and this one, at least, was imported from Italy and claimed to be made from a “Porchettini family recipe”. I’m not sure who they are, but a recipe needs to come from someone or other.

This particular sauce wasn’t bad, if you really like the flavor of artificial truffle. Basically what you get is a pretty fresh, tomato forward sauce, immediately followed by an intense black truffle flavor that lingers on. Now, I learned last year that the flavors of actual truffles and artificial truffle is quite different, and what most of us understand as black truffle is artificial – so I was expecting this sauce to taste that way. Perhaps not as intensely as it does, however. It’s not bad, but the truffle in the sauce will obfuscate any other flavor that surrounds it.

While I wouldn’t order this particular pasta sauce again, I might try one of the other ones – they have at least five other flavors.

Carando Meatballs Italian Style Sicilian Recipe Hot - 16 Oz

I am a huge fan of meatballs but I don’t make them often enough because if I have ground beef and I’m going to eat it with pasta, I end up making a meatball instead and then it feels redundant. I figured that if I buy the meatballs already made, I could would just eat them with pasta and store-bought tomato sauce for a very quick dinner. I have yet to find a good brand of refrigerated or frozen meatballs however and these, despite its fancy packaging, weren’t them.

The main problem is that they are too dense and heavy. Indeed, these meatballs only contain ground pork, cheese and spices. They don’t have bread to make them light and airy. Baking them as per the instructions, doesn’t contribute to making them any lighter.

I wasn’t thrilled by the flavor either, but that’s my fault for buying spicy meatballs. Who knows what prompted me to do that. Still, having tried them their dense consistency is enough of a deterrent to try any other flavors.

8 lbs of Navel Oranges = 1 qt orange juice

I have been juicing oranges for decades, but I usually juice them a few at a time, and had never actually done a whole bag. Still, I got an 8 lb from Safeway not too long ago, and figured I’d juice all of it and see what I got. The answer: 4 cups of orange juice, a quart.

Navel oranges are selling at Safeway now for $6/7 for the 8 lb bag.

Three Sausages: Gilbert’s, Open Nature & Aidell’s

I’ve been kind of lazy about making dinner lately, and what is easier and tastier than grilling some hot dogs or sausages?  Grocery Outlet, meanwhile, has had an explosion of sausage choices this week so we were able to try a few new ones.

open-nature-sausage-pork-171009The winner of this batch was Open Nature Smoked Uncured Sausages. This is actually the Safeway brand of sausages.  These are 100% pork sausages. They are pretty big, with four sausages in the 12 oz package, and very tasty.  That’s probably because they are full of fat, 23 grams for one of these vs. 15 grams for one of the Gilbert sausages below (which are 1/2 oz smaller).  Still, if you’re going for flavor, you can’t go wrong with these sausages.  Mike rated them an 8.5.

gilbertsGilbert’s Craft Sausages is a very new company (started in 2010) offering “gourmet” uncured beef sausages.  I got the beef & cheddar and we thought it was pretty good.  Mike would rate it a 6.5.  Camila, my 9 yo, liked it – and she can be picky.  It had a nice flavor, not very overwhelming, and was pretty juicy.  I think I might enjoy it more without the cheddar.

One convenient thing about Gilbert’s sausages is that they are individually wrapped.  The bad thing is that they don’t have the type/expiration date printed on the plastic, so I still have to keep the carton in the fridge to remember what they are.  A 10 oz package of 4 sausages was, I think, $3 at Grocery Outlet.

aidellsFinally, one of my kids like chicken sausages and we often buy the Aidells kind.  There were none at Grocery Outlet, buy they had Awesome Apple uncured chicken hot dogs.  The 10 oz package has 5.  Both kids really liked them and they seem marginally healthier, with 7 grams of fat each.  But one kid had to eat two to get full, and the other 3 .  Of course, the kids gave them a “10”.  My oldest says she prefers these to the sausages as they are thinner and easier to eat, plus they look smaller.  Less messy too.

One good thing about these chicken apple hot dogs is that they don’t have pork casings.  Aidells chicken sausages don’t either, but other manufacturers do.  If you are specifically avoiding eating pork products (as my daughter is), this matters.

Safeway Peanut Butter Chewy cookies – Review

The Safeway in downtown San Leandro offers children a free cookie from their bakery.  This is a great strategy by Safeway, not only does it create good feeling on parents but it means that kids rae eager to actually go grocery shopping with the parents. Parents shopping with kids are more likely to buy stuff they wouldn’t otherwise.

Yesterday, my kids (and I!) got a Safeway Chewy Peanut Butter cookie and I have to say it may very well have been the most delicious cookie I’ve ever had.  As promised, it was very chewy, it almost felt like it had caramel inside (but I don’t think it did). The flavor was out of this world, not too sweet, not too peanut butterish, with a chocolate chip here and there to balance the flavor.   Even though it was so chewy it did feel a bit dry (a common problem with peanut butter cookies), so I think it’d be best eaten with a cup of milk or coffee.

These cookies retail at Safeway for $4.50 for a dozen (I think) – almost twice as much as their “regular” cookies cost (on sale). But as they’re twice as good as their regular cookies, I can’t complain. I just wish they sold them by the unit, as good as they are I can’t expect to buy a box and not eat them all (so I won’t).

I found a recipe for chewy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies at the Safeway site, I’ll try it and hope it’s the same one they are using.

 

Safeway Ice Cream Cake

cake.jpg
Yesterday was my birthday and my mom got me (by proxy) an ice cream cake from Safeway. It was a simple affair, a matter of vanilla ice cream sandwiched by white cake, and it wasn’t the most delicious thing ever, but pretty satisfying. I do think that I like their regular cakes better. They cost about the same, I think.

Safeway Birthday Cake

As I mentioned in my last post, yesterday was Mika’s 6th birthday party and as usual I got her a Safeway cake. I’d been going with Safeway cakes for several years – ever since I got a horrible cake from Just Desserts for her welcoming ceremony. Why pay $60+ dollars for something that in the end doesn’t taste good?

Part of the reason I go with Safeway is that there aren’t many choices for cakes in San Leandro. Costco has cheap cakes, but I dislike the frostings (which you know most likely have hydrogenated oils in them) and they only have basic designs, OK when your kid is very young but a problem by the time they are into cartoon characters. (Yes, I’m one of those parents that gives into commercialism and let’s her kids have character parties – I also buy Bratz for Mika! shoot me).

The chinese bakery
has nicely decorated cakes, with cartoon characters and all, but I find their cakes not to be sweet enough. This is a plus for some people, but I’m just not into them.
There is, of course, Marita’s, whom I like to support as they are locally and minority owned -, but while I like their cakes (in particualr their frostings), they don’t offer decorations. Plus I’m not sure you can get a rectangular cake that is less than a 1/2 or full sheet.

Then there is Baskin Robbins. We’ve gotten cakes from there before, and they are usually pretty good – if extremely expensive. Indeed, we were planning to get Mika one of them – but they didn’t have the Bratz decorations she wanted.

So we went for our tried and true Safeway cake. They didn’t have Bratz decorations but they did have Bratz pets decorations (I didn’t even know they existed!) and that was OK with Mika – who by then realized there weren’t many other choices. Plus the good thing about Safeway is that if you don’t want such a junky cake you can order it with whipped cream and strawberries (or another fruit). I usually get the white cake, which is very light, and the results are very good. For Camila’s birthday I actually got the whipped cream and banana cake, and I may have liked it even more. Best of all, the kids love it and I don’t feel they are eating too much sugar.

The one minus about Safeway cakes is that they aren’t cheap. A small, 1/4 sheet cake is about $21! You can get a half-sheet cake for about $16 at Costco. But hey, I’m willing to pay for whipped cream and fresh strawberries (and nice decorations). You can order the cakes just one day in advance, good for us procrastinators.

One thing to keep in mind is that the cake book that they have outside does not include all the decoration options. I was bummed when we didn’t find the Bratz there, but Mika insisted that we ask if they had Bratz anyway. I thought it was futile, but once again my 6-yo proved to be smarter than her mother. They indeed have other cake books under the counter – and usually they carry a Bratz cake. Unfortunately, there is a backorder on Bratz decorations and that’s why we had to go for the Bratz pets, but the point is that even if you don’t see what you want in the book, you should ask.

Anyway, this is a long posting to say that I like Safeway cake.