Okay, life has been interfering with my playtime and my lil’ hater has made that an occasional opportunity to stop me from my goal. Yet, here I go again…(edit–never do re-editing on a WordPress app. Grrr)
4640 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL. 60609
Neighborhood: New City (Carnaryville)
Rating: 2.0 pots out of 5
Bottom line is this place is a fat factory. As you enter the store, sale items are well stocked by the door and they generally are: 1) condiments 2) an over-processed grain of some sort and 3) canned goods. It’s beginning to click for me to shop more consciously. I’m not exactly on the “organic” hype wagon, but I do agree one needs to eat well to maintain health. However, it’s not gonna come at the good ole low price of 4/$5. Plus it’s hard to do it when the frozen food aisle is filled with frozen selections of TGFI dishes. It’s almost like a Sam’s Club for those who are too poor, have no transportation or seeking to feed a family of six with $10.
Here’s a video clip from an Oprah show about making food choices at the store. (Update: Harpo took it down. )
I can’t afford grass-fed beef any more than some people can afford to buy more produce than carbs. And it works to feed a family here because of the family sized themed groceries but if Michelle Obama wants to fight childhood obesity she is gonna have to get Da Prez to sign a bill that puts a living wage in people’s pockets.
Service/Added Features (2.5 pots): Generally customer service is rather good here. Chatty checkout cashiers who will inquire about what you’re going to cook if they see something of interest. Making a return is not very hard. The service desk offers limited services such as exchanges, money orders, etc. Not going to get change if you’re trying to get the bus though. With 16 checkout lines, but only 5 in use, I’ve still have never had to wait a long time in the store, however I would advise one to stay away on the 1st and the 17th of the month when Link cards are recharged. Venture in on one of these days and you may find yourself getting hassled for cash in exchange to use someone’s Link card.
Price (3): It’s a low-end grocery store. But what works is that if you aren’t really picky about the type of dried goods you want to stock up on, then I’ll say it’s a good place to hit. Generally the sales are pretty good. I just missed one for a liter of olive oil for $4.99. But I hear that can be found cheaper at some places. Again, I’m not talking about brand quality here, but I can’t see cheap olive oil being harmful unless it’s not processed right or grown in pesticide-filled gardens.
Selection (2): One thing I like is their cake selection, which I never buy, ironically. They have Seven-Up cake, Carmel cake (my fave) and Sock-It-To-Me cake. I never get any because I’m single and can’t justify spending $16.99 and up for one. The produce isn’t bad, but it’s not—here’s that buzzword–organic. One good thing is if I can’t make it to Chinatown to get a veggie or staple I need I can occasionally find it here. One interesting thing is that they have value packs at the deli. One pound of meat, cheese and 3 pounds of cold deli salad all for the price of $29.99. Be able the kids a lunch for about a month, I guess.
If must have pork, then you’re gonna find the rooter to the tooter here. I’ve even found country ham, which is a very salty version of pork, for an Edna Lewis recipe. If you’re on a soul food diet plan or trying out a recipe from “The White Trash Cookbook”, then you’ll easily find the fatty, salty and diabetic-inducing additions here. The meat tends to be okay, but I’m certain that the cows here aren’t grass-fed. One upside is that they have a selection of marinated meat, generally for Mexican dishes. But there is something about a vat of meat sitting marinade for days on end that just scares me. E.Coli on a taco shell, anyone?
Cleanliness (1.5): Err. Okay the place is clean but is it generally fun to shop under a haze of yellow lighting? I’m aware that soft light in film makes Barbara Streisand look like a goddess but what does a yellow filter do for my food? Is it supposed to remind me of the sun? The only “complaint” have about the cleanliness is that I wouldn’t buy the smoked turkey. Let’s just say, some of the pieces still look ready to take flight.
Accessibility (3): You could drive the SUVs of wheelchairs in here and still have room to get around. It’s right off of Halsted, which means the #8 and the #44 Wallace bus stop in front. Parking galore.
Location (2.5): In a strip mall. I hate malls but it’s a saving grace for me that it’s on the way home from church.
Overall: It’s up to you. Just bring sunglasses.