Tag Archives: Sprouts

Review of a Bunch of Items I just Bought at Sprouts

I have never been to a Sprouts in person, but I’ve become quite fond of the supermarket since I subscribed to Instacart during the pandemic. Still, I hadn’t ordered from there in long enough that I’d forgotten what things they had that I liked and disliked. Thus this post – to remind me of what to get again, and what to avoid. I’ll be adding items to this review as we consume them. Note that the prices are Instacart prices.

Sprouts Pastrami on Multigrain Bread Grab & Go Sandwich

Sprouts Pastrami on Multigrain Bread Grab & Go Sandwich ($5 for an 8 oz sandwich)

I got this for my husband to replace a chicken salad croissant sandwich that wasn’t available. He thought it was “ehh,” the sort of pre-packaged sandwich he’d expect to get at a convenience store. He felt it was dry, probably as it doesn’t seem to come with condiments. He wouldn’t order it again.

Black Garlic Chicken And Mushroom Saute ($6/lb, tray was 1 3/4lb)

I bought this thinking it was a ready-to-heat meal, as others I’ve gotten at Sprouts. Instead, it’s a ready-to-saute meal which requires you to dump the ingredients on a saute pan and cook for about 10-15 minutes. The chicken is raw, so don’t be tempted to use your microwave.

While it was very simple, it was surprisingly tasty and served two people adequately. I’d get it again.

Chocolate Custard Twists ($4 for 6 small twists)

This has to be my favorite item from Sprouts. When we spent a month in Paris, a lifetime ago, my husband would go to the bakery every morning and get us a very similar pastry. These are just as delicious – which is amazing, giving how badly even the best American bakeries do at imitating French pastries. At 70-cents each for the pretty small pastries, this is not a cheap treat, but mostly because it’s just impossible to eat just one. Still, they are great so get them!

Lakewood Organic Pure Orange Fresh-Pressed Juice Not From Concentrate ($6.5 for a 32 oz bottle, on sale for $5)

I’m always in the quest for the best commercial orange juice – something that tastes as close as possible to fresh squeezed but that I can buy already squeezed. Unfortunately, fresh squeezed OJ is not available at any of my local supermarkets, though they do have it at the Saturday’s farmer market. Alas, we don’t always make it.

So far, my favorite commercial orange juice is Costco’s Kirkland Signature Organic Orange Juice. However, the last two times I’ve gotten it, it tasted like it was already going bad – I’m sure you know what rotten oranges taste like, and this was half way there. So I’ve been looking for an alternative – I’ll give Kirkland another try in winter, but it’s obvious the OJ can’t handle the summer heat.

Unfortunately, Lakewood Organic Pure Orange Juice suffers from the exact same problem. The lid may say the juice doesn’t expire until 2023, but it already has the tell-telling bitterness of OJ going bad. It is also extremely sweet. I don’t know if this is a consequence of it being almost rotten, or if it’s made this way to hide the rotting flavor. Either way, it’s initial taste is disgustingly sweet, and its finish rottenly bitter. I would not buy it again and I have half a mind of writing to Lakewood and asking for a refund.

Clara’s Kitchen Chile Verde Breakfast Burrito ($5 for 10 oz burrito)

I had ordered the Clara’s Kitchen Cheese & Bean burrito but this is what Instacart brought me instead. My husband ended up eating it and he was quite disappointed. He felt it had very little flavor. He wouldn’t have it again.

Reds Organic Cheese Quesadilla Burrito ($3.3 for 5 oz burrito, on sale for $2.5)

Organic Cheese Quesadilla Burrito - Red's All Natural Burritos & Entrees

I got this and other Reds burritos for my cheese-and-bean-burrito loving teen daughter and it was a bust. She liked the tortilla well enough, but didn’t like the filling, it just tasted wrong for her. Won’t get it again.

Sprouts Cheese Puffs and Cheese Curls ($2.3 for 6 oz package, on sale for $1 each)

Sprouts versions of cheetos are not bad. They seem to have less of an intense flavor than the brand name, and less annoying orange powder to get all over your hands, but they are tasty enough. The puffs are, IMHO, better than the curls. I’d order the puffs again, particularly at the sale price.

Roast Beef ($13/lb)

This was pretty generic deli roast beef, which means it was perfectly acceptable without being remarkable good. I’d buy it again.

Where to find exotic ingredients in the East Bay

A guide for myself

I’m lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, where I have access to lots of stores with lots of international ingredients. And these ingredients have become far easier to find in recent years. Still, finding them can still be a hassle, and often times I forget where I actually found a particular ingredient when I need to buy it again. I’m hoping to use this blog post to remind myself.

Black Truffles I found them at the Berkeley Bowl during truffle season, but I wasn’t too impressed with the flavor.

Candlenuts These large nuts are used as thickeners and flavor enhancers in southeastasian cuisine. I have yet to find them in the East Bay, so I’ve substituted with their cousin, macadamia nuts. The latter are sold in bulk at Sprouts at a reasonable price.

Coconut flakes, frozen, I was able to find at both the 88 Manor Markets and at Santos Spices in San Leandro

Curry leaves They are regularly sold fresh at Santos Spices in San Leandro.

Dark Soy Sauce is a darker, thicker and slightly sweet soy sauce mostly used to darken dishes. I’ve found it at the 88 Manor Markets. Recipes that call for it include Soy-Glazed Black pepper chicken and Lion’s head meatballs.

Galangal root (also spelled galanga) adds a special flavor to Thai/Indonesian/Malay dishes. I usually find it at the 88 Manor Markets in San Leandro, but it’s often available at the Berkeley Bowl as well. It freezes fairly well.

Glutinous Rice Flour/Powder is available at some regular supermarkets, but I got it at the 88 Manor Markets

Indonesian Bay Leaves aka salam leaves. They are different than Indian or western bay leaves, and I haven’t been able to find them locally yet.

Jameed is a Jordanian yogurt used in sauces. I was able to find it in liquid form at Santos Spices in San Leandro.

Kaffir Lime leaves are an indispensable element for many southeast Asian dishes. I’d seen them at the 88 Manor Markets in the past, but I couldn’t find them last time I needed them, so I bought them off someone on Facebook marketplace who had her own tree. Since then I’ve found that my friends J. & G. have their own tree. The leaves can be frozen, and they seem to retain their flavor well.

Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. It’s been surprisingly hard to find, but I did find it at the 88 Manor Markets. If you can’t find it, you can make your own.

Light Soy Sauce is the default soy sauce in Chinese cuisine, lighter in color and a bit less salty than the standard Japanese soy sauce. It’s not the same as Kikkoman lite soy sauce. It’s widely available and I found it at the 88 Manor Markets. You can substitute with regular or tamari soy sauce.

Shaoxing wine This cheap, sweet Chinese rice wine is actually not too hard to find, and it’s available at the 88 Manor Markets. Recipes that call for it include Braised Winter Melon, Braised Pork Belly, Walnut chicken and Royal Concubine Chicken wings. You can substitute with sherry.

Shrimp paste This southeast Asian condiment is available at the 88 Manor Markets.

Palm oil. The small 88 Manor Market in San Leandro carries several brands of African red palm oil.

Palm nut sauce. An ingredient in west African recipes can be found at the small 88 Manor Market in San Leandro.

Palm sugar. Found it at the small 88 Manor Market in San Leandro, but not at the large new one.

Pandan leaves These leaves are used as wrappers and to flavor food. They are listed as available fresh at the Berkeley Bowl and I found them frozen at the small 88 Manor Market in San Leandro (couldn’t find them at the new, larger one nearby).

Rock Sugar Chinese rock sugar consists of large yellow sugar crystals and is used to give shine to glaces as well as a sweetener. It’s easily available at Asian supermarkets and I found it at the 88 Manor Markets in San Leandro. White rock sugar is available at Santos Spices in San Leandro.

Sweet Bean Paste/Sauce These are, theoretically, different sauces, with the former being made primarily of beans and the latter of wheat. However, the sweet bean sauce that I found at the 88 Manor Markets in San Leandro had beans as its main ingredient. Apparently, despite the different ingredients, you can use the two interchangeably.

Turmeric root. Fresh turmeric root is an ingredient in many Thai and Indonesian dishes. I’ve found it at Raley’s, but it’s also available at supermarkets like Sprouts and the Berkeley Bowl. It freezes well, but don’t defrost it before you peel/use it because it turns to mush. Just peel it frozen.