4.04.2007

Supermarket Sweep

Oh, Jersey, you schizophrenic state, you. Like Jekyll and Hyde, you harbor the highest good and worst evil in a single being. When the chain restaurants, the geographically prejudiced state troopers, the socks-and-sandals, the Deptford Mall, the atrocious drivers make us sneer, you redeem yourself with luscious tomatoes, Collingswood, sushi that rivals anywhere in the City, Mack & Manco pizza, Memories in Margate, cheap gas, The Bistro at Cherry Hill, B Bar, parking, Jersey from Dancelife, Canal’s, and . . . Wegmans!

Oh, you know it. So much better than its urban counterpart, Whole Foods. This Rochester-based supermarket-on-steroids has two Jersey locations; MapQuest got us lost going to the old Mount Laurel store, but the new cooking castle in Cherry Hill is 10 minutes down Route 70. While you can’t find the way-out exotic ingredients you might unearth in Wing Phat Plaza, the Italian Market, or Chinatown, Wegmans half-specialty/half-conventional spread can simultaneously satisfy your needs for blood oranges and Bounty. Some of the spoils from our trip yesterday included raw tarragon, Cippolini onions, local Elephant Trunk scallops, Point Reyes bleu, Meyer lemons, sea salt-crusted bagels, and fresh macaroons from the decadent Wegmans patisserie.

With its glossy space, theatrical lighting, and gourmet ingredients, you’d think a place like Wegmans would rob you with prices, but just the opposite is true. Wegmans brand yogurt is 35 cents each (we bought 15 of them). Their sparkling water is only $1.25, and comes in flavors like lime and lemongrass, while a 24-pack of Pellegrino goes for only $24. Special K was on sale two-for-$5, and Tropicana OJ and Breyers ice cream, two notoriously pricey products, are $2 all the time. But beware: Like Target, Wegmans’ wily charms cast the spell of unnecessary buying. We definitely didn’t need three different kinds of salt, the microwave egg poacher, the Ladybugs DVD, but hey, we’ve got a soft spot for impulse purchases and Rodney Dangerfield. One suggestion: Start selling driving lessons; we almost got in four accidents on the way home.


Photo: CherryHill-NJ.com

3 comments:

Janet said...

I can always count on you to write about food in a fun and interesting way. Wegmans is truly a great food experience. Good call about the Target spell, but Ladybugs is a great buy.

adam said...

Thanks, Janet. Dd you happen to catch the Food Network Awards? Wegmans actually won the award for "Super" Market, beating out Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. And Ladybugs is most definitely a Dangerfield classic.

Bill said...

Wegman's is a love / hate relationship for me and my wife. As you said, the selection is fantastic, but you need to focus or you'll get sucked into the black whole of choice coupled with the maelstrom of confusion. Focus also helps for that whole Jersey driving thing...jug handles, circles, etc...