Saturday, May 30, 2009


Friends, I have braces.

Yep. This will surely affect the way I eat and therefore what I will cook and what I will buy stuff. Now that I can't do anything crunchy, (Bye, kettle chips!) chewy (bye, trail mixes!), or super meaty (bye rib eye steak...sniffle...sniffle...).

Aside: Well, I can still have meat if I cook the hell out of it in a braise. And in burger form. And in not-too-crispy bacon. Oh...but the crispy bacon!! *sigh*

Since I had the separators in to clear the way for the braces almost a month ago, I pretty much stopped cooking and haven't really gone to buy any groceries. Yesterday's trip was first major restocking in over a month.

Naturally, we went there before dinner and went a little bit crazy and walked out with $100+ worth. 3 canvas bags full of stuff.

We are trying a few new-to-us things from F&E which I will eventually report on: shortbread (a la Walker's), frozen turkey meatball, roasted garlic pasta sauce, teriyaki marinated firm tofu and Thai style firm tofu, Tofu burgers, refrigerated peach in syrup (surprisingly a product of Thailand. I didn't know *WE* grow peaches!?!) and a cheesecake with fruit topping I am taking to a potluck tonight.

The tofu is easy for me to chew. Once I make a big pot of rice, I can reheat and eat those for lunch all week. Yey, me.

The biggest change of all wasn't just my shopping list. But the store itself.

There were more sales stuff out by the entrance. Kraft Mac & Cheese anyone? Seriously. ANYONE?

I don't like how the sale stuff are all up in the entrance now, but it's much better than stuff in the middle of the produce aisle like how I ran into those watermelons last time.

The hummus, dips, and pasta salads are moved to where the bargain bin used to be. They were replaced by the refrigerated fruit-in-syrup stuff. The bargain bin goes over to the butter/sour cream section. This arrangement threw me off for a bit.

"Why were all these hummus and pasta salads going in the bargain bin???" LOL.

Then, I rounded the corner and looked up at the huge display of the new F&E's own Mother's Joy breakfast cereals. I mean, TOWERING by F&E standard.

- F&E Flickr

Actually, I was sent some of Mother's Joy cereals to taste with a list of new cereals and their prices. We gave the Corn Flakes to my friend Olaina and kept the Cocoa Crisp Rice and Magic Shapes.

Always a skeptic about generic brand, especially when it comes to cereals because I've heard they could taste like, well, nothing, I had Brandon tested the Magic Shapes since I can't do crunchy any more.

"So, how's your F&E brand Lucky Charms?"

"Tasted like Lucky Charms."

I gotta say the same with the Cocoa Crisp Rice. Given that I soaked it thoroughly in milk, it more resembles cocoa rice mush, but it tastes, well, just like Cocoa Rice Crispies. Seriously, I doubt I could tell the difference in a blind test.

According to my local Vons/Safeway online shopping, national brand is $3.49 for 12 oz. of Corn Flakes, F&E is $0.98; Lucky Charms $1.99 v.s. Magic Shapes $1.58; and regular Rice Crispies $3.49 v.s. Crispy Rice $1.58.

Not too bad on the pricing there, peeps.

Now behind the tall display, the shelves in the entire breakfast/chips & cracker aisle were also taller.

Holy high shelf, Batman!

The shelving which used to be just a little taller than me (I'm 5 foot flat) now seem a foot taller than it used to be, at least. Still, not quite as tall as the regular stores.

I guess it took me by surprise a little bit. But for the fact that I can still reach stuff off the top shelf, I am good with that. I guess instinctively that was why I was drawn to F&E in the first place.

You know how many times I have to abandon buying something because I can't reach it, or risking my life actually climbing the damn shelf like a 5 year-old in search for a cookie jar? It sucks to have ask someone who's not your husband to reach the top shelf for you, I tell ya.

I definitely see more name brands on the shelves than before. But as long as there are F&E stuff available where it counts, I really don't mind the new addition.

Just one request, guys. Don't add TOO MUCH stuff to the store.

Why many of love you is because of your streamline, uncluttered stores...which, sadly, seems to slowly going away now. We love that we don't have to go through a dozen brands of the same damn thing...which we now have to go through a few more brands that we are used to.

If you turn into just another cluttered, overstocked grocery store, you are going to lose the appeal that is worth me driving 3 miles for. I could easily just walk around the corner to Vons if I want a cluttered, overstocked grocery store.

I expect you to change as you grow, F&E. But I don't expect you to change into a small version of the stores I didn't like in the first place.

So, please don't let the self check-out be the only thing left to love about the store.


phraktyl said...

I can confirm that the Mother's Joy Frosted Shredded Wheat tastes pretty much exactly like Frosted Mini Wheats.

With that said, when I was shopping at Fresh&Easy yesterday I realized that the Mother's Joy cereals weren't always the best value. In one case (and I can't remember which one) the unit price for the non-generic was cheaper—mainly because the Mother's Joy boxes seem to always be smaller.

Tom said...

I second everything you have said! Clutter makes me sad.

Jim said...

My wife & I too bought the Shredded wheat and concur. I dare say they're the best generic brand version I've tried, and I've tried a few. We only bought those as we wanted to test the brand out first. Anyone try the toasted oats? BTW, new to your blog and really enjoy it, keep posting!

OakMonster said...

Jim - We just bought toasted oats. Trying 'em soon.