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Saturday, March 14, 2009

BJ’s (Cheap) Gourmet Food Store in Riverdale NJ

That’s right. BJ’s on Route 23 in Riverdale, NJ is a gourmet food store. Many of you may already realize this, but for those of you who do not – you should. OK, maybe it’s not strictly high end, but they have lot of stuff that you can make into high end food.

And of course, BJ’s is cheap. Best prices around on most items, by far. You have to join. 35 bucks. We save more than that every time we shop there.

You do care about saving money, right? You are worried that shopping at BJ's is declasse? No.

Let’s talk about meat.

You can buy untrimmed sides of Black Angus beef loin or rib eye for less than 5 bucks a pound, and in 10 minutes trim up 8 to 10 two inch steaks. Give them a nice dry rub and let them sit uncovered on their sides on a plate in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours to dry out the surface and you will have the best crusty sear ever. Use what you want and freeze the rest.

Where else can you buy a complete Boston Butt pork shoulder for pulled pork, or complete beef brisket flat with fat cap, for BBQ? Skirt steak, boneless leg of lamb, sausages …Oh My God.
Carnivore Heaven. It’s true that you have to buy more, but I usually … mmm … want more. There, I’ve said it.

Ox tail, short ribs, pork baby backs, beef fillet (not my favorite, but they have it and it is cheap).

Now seafood.

Not the most extensive selection, but let me mention the often but not always available fresh not frozen catfish. $5 per lb. Deep fried in tempura batter with lemon and garlic aioli. Yes.

Also flounder, sole, salmon, arctic char, diver scallops, and shrimp. Not all the time, but often.

Produce.

Beautiful plum tomatoes, red bell peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, all at lower prices than those of Pathmark or Stop and Shop.

Staple foods.

Extra virgin first cold pressed olive oil at $20 for a 3 liter can. The only other place in the same league is Corrado’s in Wayne. Canned goods, bakery goods, spices.

Dairy.

Excellent house brand butter at $1.50 per lb – the best I’ve seen at Pathmark on sale is $2.50 per lb. Skim Milk is $2.24 – you save nearly $2 per gallon for Tuscan brand over the Pathmark housebrand. Tuscan is $4.69 at Pathmark, $2.45 per gal. more.

Reggiano Parmesan and Spanish Manchego are cheap.

We figure we save $50 or more per $200 food shopping, comparing BJ’s to Pathmark or Stop and Shop.

Even on weekends when the place seems very busy, we don’t wait long to get through the checkout – no bagging you know – bring your own bags – and on weekdays you often have the place to yourself.

It’s not as convenient as Pathmark of Stop and Shop, so we have a rule -- if we are coming up 23 on a weekday, we stop at BJ’s and do the grocery shopping, unless of course, we already have!

You will still have to shop at a regular grocery store for the items BJ's doesn't carry, but hey, you can stop and get those few things on the way back.

Did I mention their whole cooked Purdue Roasters at $5 each?

All right, I sound like an ad for BJ's, but ... it's a VERY good place and it's very close to us in Kinnelon, NJ!

~ Ted

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