7-Eleven – 103rd & Central – Oak Lawn, IL

9 03 2009
  • 10220 Central Avenue
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708 ) 346-0816
  • Website
The 7-Eleven on the corner of 103rd and Central in Oak Lawn, IL

The 7-Eleven on the corner of 103rd and Central in Oak Lawn, IL

You should know about my new found love for frozen drinks by now.  After a quick dinner at Brown’s Chicken & Pasta, I had a decision to make. I could either go back to J’s parents for an hour or so and risk either falling asleep or getting involved in a Wii game and miss the party or I could just kill time shopping or something. 

I chose shopping.  I only know two ways to get to the Chicago Ridge mall.  One is to take the busy Central Avenue to 95h or to take the even busier Cicero Avenue to 95th.  J and her family weave through the neighborhoods, but I’m not brave enough to drive and find that way on my own, so I chose Central to 95th.  I figured along the way, if I saw a Speedway or 7-Eleven I was going to stop for a Frozen Coke/Slurpee.  As I turned from 103rd to Central, I noticed a 7-Eleven in the strip mall on the corner, so I made a quick lane change and went after my Coke.

Normally, I wouldn’t blog about every 7-Eleven I stop at.  You all know by now what the store’s all about and you really have even less interest in a Chicago convenience store than you do a Chicago restaurant, but it’s not the Slurpee’s that make this 7-Eleven stand out.  Read the rest of this entry »

Quality Dairy – Michigan Ave, East Lansing

9 02 2009
  • 808 Michigan Avenue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 319-4121
  • Website
The Quality Dairy on Michigan and Harrison in East Lansing.

The Quality Dairy on Michigan and Harrison in East Lansing.

I’m having a hard time driving past a QD nowadays.  I left McDonald’s with two sandwiches and nothing to drink.  I knew I could go back the way I came and find a Quality Dairy and get whatever I wanted to drink.
This Quality Dairy is on the corner of Harrison and Michigan Avenue in East Lansing near the Michigan State University athletic facilities.  Getting in to the parking lot is a little weird.  If you’re on Michigan Avenue, you turn into the lot on what looks like a sidewalk.  It’s so close to the corner, you wouldn’t think there would be a driveway there. 
This QD is really no different from any of the other ones in town.  The building is a little smaller than some and the inside is a little cramped, but you still get all the doughnuts, coffee, and ice cream.  Read the rest of this entry »

Press Release – Save-A-Lot Opens in Jackson

27 01 2009

From a Save-A-Lot press release….


Edited Assortment Grocery Store Will Save Consumers Up to 40 Percent

St. Louis, Missouri – December 22, 2008 – Save-A-Lot, the nation’s largest edited assortment grocery chain, celebrated the grand opening of its store in Jackson, Michigan, located at 3525 O’Neil Drive on September 17. The company is committed to offering local shoppers high quality groceries at savings of up to 40 percent.

“Save-A-Lot’s edited-assortment retailing model and nationwide buying power allows us to offer the best quality groceries at a significant savings,” said Jaime Powers, company spokesperson. “We’ve had a tremendous success at our other stores in Michigan, and look forward to bringing another Save-A-Lot to the area.”

Save-A-Lot stores deliver savings of up to 40 percent over conventional grocery stores. The new stores will carry about 1,250 of the most frequently purchased grocery items, including fresh meat, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, canned goods and packaged items, frozen foods and more, plus non-food products like health and beauty care items. Save-A-Lot stores are open seven days a week and employ approximately 15 – 20 employees. Read the rest of this entry »

Vallarta Supermarket

22 01 2009
  • 312 W. Willow Street
  • Lansing, MI 48906
  • (517) 267-9999
  • No Known Website
Vallarta Supermarket on Grand River Avenue and Willow Street in Lansing.

Vallarta Supermarket on Grand River Avenue and Willow Street in Lansing.

I’m still amazed by all of the neighborhood grocery stores that have managed to survive with so many big box stores in Lansing.  I was driving around today looking for a restaurant for lunch while J was at a hair cut appointment.  I drove down Grand River after leaving the Aunt Millie’s Bakery Outlet and came across Vallarta Supermarket. 

I just left Walmart and didn’t need anything, so I didn’t really have a reason to stop in, but the name got me thinking.  I use a lot of ancho chile powder in my BBQ rubs and it’s not a spice you can find very easily in the mega marts.  I used to buy it at a Mexican grocery store in Bloomington, IL.  Since moving to Lansing, I’ve been grinding some dried ancho chile’s I bought for a mole with my coffee grinder.  It works just fine, but takes a while and can get pretty messy if I’m not careful.  I’d like to find a place to buy it in powder form.  The name Vallarta gave me hope that I would find the chile I needed.

Vallarta sits on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Willow Street in Lansing.  Like most of the other neighborhood markets in town, Vallarta carries Spartan products on their shelves.  You walk into the store behind the cash registers.  As you walk into the sales floor, you end up in produce and the first display in the middle of the aisles had a number of chiles and Mexican spices.  At this point, I had pretty high hopes that I’d be able to get my chile powder.  I started looking through the bags and found a number of different ground chile’s, but no ancho.  They had arbol which is another spice I use in my BBQ rub, but I don’t use as much and still have plenty of that in my cabinet.  Read the rest of this entry »

Quality Dairy – Cavanaugh Ave

31 12 2008
  • 917 E. Cavanaugh Ave.
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 272-1509
  • Website
Quality Dairy on South Pennsylvania in Lansing.

Quality Dairy on South Pennsylvania in Lansing.

For some odd reason, J and I have started a tradition of making ice cream sandwiches and playing games on New Year’s Eve.  Last year, we played Trivial Pursuit.  This year, it will probably be Rock Band 2, but the thing that will be the same is the ice cream sandwiches. 

As we left Corey’s, J suggested stopping at Meijer to get some ice cream so we could keep this odd tradition going.  I wasn’t really in the mood to go into Meijer.  Just getting something simple seems to take 20 minutes.  When we left Corey’s, we headed back towards Pennsylvania.  I knew somewhere along there their was a Quality Dairy. The store sits on the corner of Pennyslvania and Cavanaugh, but apparently, the address is on Cavanaugh.  The store faces Pennsylvania though…weird

Quality Dairy is one of those things that is foreign to me, but for people that grew up here, it’s something they have a hard time living without once moving away.  I see it as just another convenience store, but with ice cream and it was the ice cream that drew us in. Read the rest of this entry »

Jensen’s IGA – Clifton, IL

19 12 2008
  • 150 E. 4th St.
  • Clifton, IL 60927
  • (815) 694-2342
  • No Known Website
Jensens IGA just off the main highway in Clifton, IL

Jensen's IGA just off the main highway in Clifton, IL

I’m sure those of you stuck in Mid-Michigan right now aren’t going to feel too sorry for me.  I’m stuck in a small town in Iroquois County, Illinois with no power after a pretty good ice storm.  While we didn’t get the inches upon inches of snow, we got a heavy coating of ice which did a pretty destructive job of tearing down tree limbs and power lines.  My parents house is one of the unlucky few without power.  My brother, however, has power and, more importantly, heat, so I took a little drive five miles north to crash at my brother’s this afternoon.

Last night, my brother was raving about this new treat he had at his office the other day.  This area isn’t really known for it’s ethnic cuisines.  In fact, if you’re not looking for a burger and fries or pizza, you might have a hard time finding a place to eat.  So, when he had baklava for the first time this week, he thought it was a treat that the rest of the country had never heard of. 

After he got done telling us how great it was, he turned to me and asked if I could make it.  I hate phyllodough almost as much as I hate working with chocolate.  I told him it was a huge pain in the butt and it was going to cost him.  When I ended up at his house by myself all day, I thought I would be nice and try to make him something.  Obviously, he doesn’t have most of the stuff to make baklava, so I headed up to the local grocery store to see if they had it.

The only grocery store in Clifton is Jensen’s IGA.  It sits just off the main highway that runs through town and for a town of 1300 people, the store has much more than you would expect.  IGA is the world’s largest voluntary supermarket chain.  Almost any grocery store can apply to be a member of the IGA.  I can remember when the store in Clifton used to be a Red Fox which was a regional chain of supermarkets.  When Red Fox went out, the new owners signed on with IGA which gives them access to store brand products as well as marketing and brand recognition with customers. Read the rest of this entry »

Westlund’s Apple Market

6 12 2008
  • 2301 E. Grand River Avenue
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 482-3900
  • Website
Westlunds Apple Market on Grand River Ave. in Lansing

Westlund's Apple Market on Grand River Ave. in Lansing

J and I had both seen the recent commercials for Westlund’s Apple Market touting $1.69 ground beef.  She doesn’t eat ground beef that often, but I could live on the stuff, so on our way home from Howell, we decided to check it out.

Westlund’s in on Grand River a few blocks from Frandor.  I don’t know why, but I was expecting it to be out towards Eastwoode.  I thought my GPS was screwed up when it turned me left on Grand River from US 127.  J kept assuring me that is was the right way.  She could remember driving by it, but I couldn’t picture it. 

It was a snowy day and it was hard to see the parking lines in the lot, so I just made my own space across from a car thta was already parked.  We made our way in and I got a little nervous when I saw signs on the door that said (these are paraphrased) only one student in the store at a time unless with an adult and  leave all backpacks in the front of the store.  Signs like that just don’t make me feel all that comfortable and that’s not what I was expecting from a neighborhood grocery store. Read the rest of this entry »

Dominick’s Finer Foods- Oak Lawn, IL

26 11 2008
  • 8700 S. Cicero Ave.
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708) 422-3906
  • Website
Dominicks Finer Foods on Cicero Ave. in Oak Lawn, IL

Dominick's Finer Foods on Cicero Ave. in Oak Lawn, IL

I needed some last minute cream cheese to make an Oreo Cheesecake for my family’s Thanksgiving.  I didn’t want to make a cheesecake in Lansing then try to transport it to Illinois, so I just figured I would buy what  I needed in Chicago, bake it at J’s parents then take it home.  There are a couple options for grocery stores in Oak Lawn, but we went to Dominick’s because we know “someone” there. 🙂

Dominick’s is chain of supermarkets that got it’s start in the Chicago area by Dominick DeMatteo in 1918.  The first supermarket was opened in 1950.  They sold the chain in the late 60’s, but they were so unhappy with the agreement, the family bought the chain back in the 80’s. 

In the 90’s, Dominick’s was an innovator with POS systems, cafe’s, video rental, and many other things that are now commonplace in most major supermarkets.  Dominick DeMatteo died in 1993 and the family put the comapny up for sale.  In 1996, they were sold to LA based Yucaipo Co.  A few years later, they were sold to Safeway Inc.  At the time of the sale, there were 116 Dominick stores.  After years of trying to change the financial structure, Dominick’s now operates 83 stores.

We only needed to pick up a few things and they were pricing those items for holiday sale.  I picked up three packages of cream cheese, a can of sweetened condensed milk, oreos, and a springform pan.  The items rang up to $28, but after the sales were applied, it was just barely over $21 with the pan taking up a good chunk of that price.

I didn’t really get a whole lot that warrants a review and it’s not like most of you are going to run to a Dominick’s to go shopping, but I did want to throw out a little history of a Chicago institution and something you won’t be able find in many markets.

Press Release – Thanksgiving Feast under $30

20 11 2008

From a press release from Aldi…..

Get Thanksgiving Feast for Less Than $30 at ALDI
Grocer beats discounters, big box by 16% to 24%,
traditional supermarkets by 30% to 40%

Batavia, Ill. (Nov. 19, 2008) – For shoppers looking to save money this season without compromising holiday traditions, select assortment discount grocer, ALDI, offers a complete Thanksgiving meal for a family of four for less than $30.

“This holiday season, we hope shoppers can focus on enjoying time with family and friends – not worrying about how to squeeze a Thanksgiving feast into already tightening budgets,” said Joan Kavanaugh, vice president of corporate purchasing. “As we’re helping shoppers cut their grocery bills in half, we’re grateful to have some of the most loyal customers in the industry.”

While food costs continue to rise nationally, you can still get a less than $30 Thanksgiving meal from ALDI that includes:

· 14 lb. Butterball Whole Turkey ($.99 per lb.) $13.86

· Chef’s Cupboard Stuffing Mix (6 oz.) $.79 each

· Chef’s Cupboard Gravy (12 oz.) $1.19 each

· Fit & Active Dried Cranberries (6 oz) $1.19 each

· L’oven Fresh Classic Dinner Rolls (12 ct.) $1.69 each

· Happy Harvest Extra Fine Frozen Green Beans (16 oz.) $.1.39 each

· Chef’s Cupboard Cream of Mushroom Soup (10.5 oz.) $.49 each

· Chef’s Cupboard French Fried Onions (6 oz.) $1.99 each

· Happy Harvest Cut Sweet Potatoes (15 oz.) $.69 each

· Belmont Deep Dish Pies – apple, peach or berry (42 oz.) $4.49 each

· Sundae Shoppe Whipped Topping (8 oz.) $.69 each

For an extra $4.99, you can also get a bottle of Burlwood wine to enjoy with your meal.

Beginning Nov. 23, ALDI also will offer a selection of appetizers for under $4, including Antoinette Brie or Camembert cheese, crab and shrimp or shrimp cakes and wheat crackers. Appetizers and other special purchase items vary weekly and are available while supplies last. Customers also can visit the Special Purchase section online and subscribe to ALDI’s e-mail newsletter to get e-alerts about upcoming specials for food and other merchandise.

Visit the ALDI Meal Planner at http://www.aldi.us for helpful holiday recipes to use with ALDI select brand items, such as: roast turkey with cranberry sausage stuffing, cranberry glazed ham, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and apple pie.

Kroger – Frandor

17 11 2008
  • 443 Mall Ct.
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 332-2090
  • Website
Kroger in the Frandor Shopping Center.

Kroger in the Frandor Shopping Center.

I have a feeling one day I will visit all the Kroger’s in Lansing.  For some reason, when I need something, I instinctively go to Kroger.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been around Kroger all my life whereas the other supermarket’s in the area or foreign to me.  Maybe it’s because there just always seems to be a Kroger when I need one.

J and I were in Frandor to check out Linens ‘N Things again.  My dad wants some pans for Christmas and he’s very, very picky about what he wants, so we were hoping to find something cheap at LNT. They just lowered their prices again, so we thought it was a good time.  We picked up a few things there, but I needed to pick up a few groceries as well and there was a Kroger not too far down the parking lot.

So, we headed back to the truck to drop of the “Things” we bought from Linens ‘N Things before heading to Kroger.  I’m guessing this store is one of the older ones in Lansing.  They still have an old sign on the building and the layout is a little wierd for a grocery store.  When you walk in, you come in behind the cash registers.  There’s only one door in and out so you come out the way you go in.  If you keep walking past the cash registers, you’ll eventually hit produce and you can start shopping just like you would at any store. Read the rest of this entry »