Tag Archives: Costco

A Hot Weekend

19 Dec

freesample

It was  just as regular Saturday morning. I woke up around 8, it was cold cloudy and gloomy, perfect sleeping weather, so I decided to go back to bed and take a 30 min nap. Hey!  it’s still early, it’s the weekend, I can splurge on a little extra sleep.  Fast forward  4 hours later and 60 text alerts later I find myself waking up once again. I swear I only closed my eyes for a second!

Why am I alarmed? Good question! Did I have an appointment I just missed? Did the turkey burn in the oven? Did my morning strip-o-gram come and go? No……. Its Saturday! And  Saturdays usually mean one thing, its Costco day! Better known to the uninitiated out there as sampling day! Now I don’t need to profess to all the practiced and proficient samplers out there that you have to get to Costco early in order to try ALL the variety of  samples. Also, especially important, avoid the crowds of amateur Hodge Podge samplers! There’s a real art to this people!

In a panic, much like Macaulay Culkin in Home alone when He realizes he is left all by himself, I clench my face , bellow a subtle” Nooooooooo!”and hurry to shower and get ready to meet up with my sampling partner in crime.  He is known in 13 states as the “Costco Casanova”, In Australia he is referred to as the “Auburn Adonis”, in Acapulco as “El Chulo de Costco”, he is even rumored to be the fabled “Spicy Kim Chi Swooner” of Costcos in Korea! Most of us know him as Master.  I quickly began to properly stretch and limber up for the activities ahead! Don’t want to repeat the sampling cramp debacle of 2008  again! Everyone knows not to swim for half an hour after eating, but nooooo! No one warns you to stretch before beginning sampling! Ha! That’s why this is not for the amateurs, timid or weak of heart! On a side note, the legwarmers and the “flash dance” outfit I wear to stretch and prepare still look ever as cool as they did in the mid 80’s! Awesome! just Awesome! dare I even say Legendary!  Ever so slightly in the background I hear the high pitched screech of a supercharger, then the thunderous roar of the engine…. Master is here! We first stop at the PO Box to see if I have any last minute Christmas gifts from my FB, Twitter or blogging friends (ehm! hint, hint).  I find an unassuming manila envelope and a pretty purple envelope (thanks Josef) waiting for me. Oh! As I glanced at the return address on the manila envelope, my heart skipping a little and my mouth began to slightly drool, it was the promised beef jerky from a fellow PGPeep.  It turns out I was one of the lucky 10 peeps to receive Mr. Keith BigBabyJesus Brower’s home made beef jerky. Since I wanted to savor every bite, and absolutely NO FOOD is allowed in the AMG, I decide (some might say FORECD with threats of bodily harm) to wait and not open my surprise beef jerky gift until I was safe back at the office.

Normally on a weekend, it takes about an hour just to find a suitable parking space. Add the fact that it is December and its one week away from Christmas, of course it’s a mad house in the parking lot! Not to worry, I have complete confidence in Masters driving ability. You need to have professional driving skills; I mean Grand Prix kind not just regular, I passed the DMV test so now I can drive skills. Reaction times must be swift, braking and acceleration response must be rapid. Eyes open for rogue shopping carts, unassuming people haphazardly waiting and blocking the street, cars pulling out without looking,  the  sense of danger on high alert, eyes wide open for that oh so prime parcel of parking space or any space at all for that matter. There! There! I shriek! A premiere parking space about to open by an elderly lady leaving.  Before I could finish the “…re” from me screaming “There”, Master had already gunned the engine, dropped into 1st gear and was drifting sideways in a billow of tire smoke into the parking space! Mere seconds after and inches behind the vacating car. Bravo! Bravo I say!

Once parked we went straight to the food section where the net haired maidens were distributing the various morsels of sampling delight. We have to make up for all the lost time! Me being the professional sampler that I am, I quickly mapped out my sampling route… Fruits, cheeses, guacamole, tamales, ham, calamari (that’s a tricky one… long lines for those), should I risk it? I turn and tell Master “Lets do this thing!” With the skills of a ninja I hit the first couple of stands. Not only do I get my own samples but I must also manage to get Master his samples.  Master knows the drill, he with his superstar looks distracts the ladies while I snatch the goodies. Boom! Done and done! Off we go onto the next table! Yet again, like deer in headlights, all the housewives swoon and look away to gaze at Master the Costco Casanova, Muha ha ha ha , I get two more samples!   All was going well until a lady bumps me with her shopping cart! Owwwwwwww! As I bend down to rub my ankle she quickly snatched the last two samples from the tray! Oh no you didn’t!!  Can this be! Could there be a woman unaffected by Masters remarkable charms? Can she really absorb all that enchanting alluring charisma and simply focus on the samples! How could this be! Is she far sighted? She cant see? Does she play for the “other team”? Or is she just a trained professional!

Imagine the rest of what happens in slow motion! I erect myself to full stature.  Somehow wind is blowing in my hair… My scarf flaps ever so rhythmically… I hear heroic music begin to play… I puff my chest and am about to yell like king Leonidas  “THIS…. IS…. PKITASS!!!!!!” and retaliate!  When all of a sudden everything went back to normal speed as the sweet aroma of a smoked salmon sample that Master quickly handed me calmed me down sufficiently to impeded my retaliatory actions! Never underestimate the power of smoked fish!  The lady smirked ever so condescendingly and left.  Perhaps I was unable to retaliate, but by gosh, if looks could kill! she would have been dead several times over. I think I have just met my Costco nemesis! Game On “Shin Hurting with Shopping Cart Sample Stealing Lady” or SHWSCSSL! Game On!

Back at the office, once everything was put away, I proceed to open my package. I was very very excited to discover what culinary delight was in store for me. I had heard so many good things about Mr. Brower’s beef jerky.  Remember the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark when they finally open the Ark of the Covenant and all the ghost like entities escape and float around right before they turn demonic and kill everyone? Imagine the same thing… Just without Nazis or a bullwhip packing archeologist tied to a post.   As I slowly began  to rip the package open I immediately got a whiff of the meaty goodness that was to be in my mouth soon.  I had been pre-warned that it would be spicy and to take certain precautions while handling it.  Ha I say! Ha!  I’m of Mexican decent! I come from a long proud line of chili eaters. As a kid, we used to eat chilies as candy for Halloween!  How bad can it possible be? I take my first bite and proclaim with much bravado to Master, HA! It’s not as bad as they all said it would be.  However, just like in Raiders! the ghost angels quickly turned into demons and…. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! You have to give it a few seconds for All the wonderful spiciness to fully permeate your mouth! It doesn’t hit you right away, It actually lets you enjoy and savor the sweetness of the beef jerky first then when you least expect it BAM!

Over all it was a very tasty experience! So what if your mouth goes numb afterwards! Who cares if everything tastes the same the entire weekend! the taste of the  jerky makes all worth it.  Mr. Brower thank you for the treat, you can burn my mouth with your meat anytime.

 

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Lake to Late ana…….

27 Oct

When master gets a craving for steak there is nothing that can reel him back from satisfying his oh so primal urge for that perfect cut of meat seared to perfection on an open primeval fire. This is no tranquil and stress-free undertaking. Not by any stretch of the imagination! No modest and unassuming piece of beef from the oh so scanty meager, peasant class, meat section of the stereotypically generic grocery store will do! No No No! Master laughs at the mere notion of shopping at a Ralphs or Vons! Ha! Ha I say!  He has come to cautiously and judiciously have faith in the high volume of “USDA PRIME” cuts of Beef sold at Costco. Unusual! Yes I agree! But tasting is believing! The difference in quality from the hum drum slab of meat from the local grocery store to the selection at Costco is not insignificant! It is paramount! Perhaps not worth 3 times the cost per lb for the average pallet, however, for those taste buds that do understand, it is pure food heaven. It is akin to spiritual enlightenment or maintaining a state of grace.

 So off we go! Costco Tally-Hoooooo. Have you ever been to Costco on a weekend?  If you have, I feel your pain. If not, I will try to explain. It takes a certain type of person to be able to look fear straight in the eyes and laugh!!! Ha Ha Ha Ha…. Lamented Master! No one could get in the way of his steak! Normally on a weekend, it takes about an hour just to find a parking space. It’s a mad house in the parking lot!  You need to have professional driving skills; I mean Grand Prix kind not just regular I passed the DMV test so now I can drive skills. Reaction times must be swift, sense of danger on high alert, eyes wide open for that oh so prime parcel of parking space. Master put the AMG in manual mode, his fingers gently caressing the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The suspension was put into track mode and he lowered the car to its lowest setting in eager anticipation of what he might have to endure!  It seemed like half the valley was shopping at that Costco on Saturday! Was it Black Friday already? Were they giving away free gas? I can’t comprehend why so many people were there on that day. I scarcely overheard Master exhale an evil snicker and grimaced as we entered the parking lot. He was ready…. Right away people were honking at one another, uncaringly waiting in the middle of the lane in the hopes that a parking spot might miraculously appear. Some cars simply gunned it and raced through the gauntlet of cars only to be thwarted by another car that had sped even faster and drifted into the empty parking spot with such precision and exactitude that they would have even impressed The Stig. “Some say he is illegal in 17 US states, and he blinks horizontally…” But I Digress! There were little eighty year old ladies from Pasadena, who only drive their cars to go to church, giving each other the bird. But that’s not what this post is about. Nope! Needless to say, Master was able to find that perfect parking spot. Let’s just say that the years of going to Costco have trained him well, Nürburgring! Ha! Childs play! He is well overqualified for any common race track!

 Once safely parked and inside the store we quickly passed the rows and rows of unimportant items. 75 roll packs of toilet paper on the left, 100lb buckets of cat litter on the right, 200lb bags of dog food on the racks! No! All unimportant at this point! The only thing that mattered to Master was getting way in the back of the store to the food section.  Well, he calls it the food section; to me it is better known as the sampling department. As Master persuasively yet ever so gracefully sauntered to his beloved meat section, I, like a scout, began to observe, ever so unassumingly, at all the potential free sample stands. From the left corner of my peripheral view I noticed Master had arrived at the Rib-Eye section. His forcefully stance was elegant yet unmistakably prominent. His legs spread ever so slightly, his knees marginally stooped in anticipation of a potential “Fight or Flight” response. His arms somewhat pronounced and bowed, as if to keep predators away from his primordial hunt for that unadulterated unqualified masterfully cut piece of Beef.  He’s focused! Determined! Absorbed in his Quest! Maybe I can sneak away and stand in line for samples. Cheese and cracker! Tapenades! Sausages! More Cheese! What’s next? What’s next? As my hands are full of free samples I hear a strange grunt from afar… There it is again! Grunt Grunt Grunt Grunt! It’s getting louder and louder, a bit distinctive even! What could it be? A kid playing with a toy wolf three aisles to the left?  A German Shepard seeing eye dog a few aisles to the right? What could it be?  I scan the horizon of the store to discover the source of the commotion. Ha! I laugh! The grunts are coming from Master! He found the perfect steaks! It’s hilarious! All that was missing was a big fire in front of a cave and a loin cloth made of animal skin. Grunt Grunt Grunt! Emmmmmm! Grunt Grunt Grunt! As my laughter subsided, I faintly heard someone within a big crowd of people say “Lake to late ana punkin pie” Hmmm I must see what this is! What could possibly be causing a crowd of people to surround this sample table? I get closer and closer and notice that the poor sample lady is about to lose a limb merely attempting to put out her samples. People are snatching up the goods faster than she can set them down. She finally had to call for back up to help maintain order and contain the mob of freeloaders lingering in anticipation of the free goods she is soon to dispense.  Using all my secret ninja moves, and the years of Costco battlefield experience, I was able to get close enough to get a sample! Ok Ok Ok maybe I got two. Don’t Judge! I was still unable to comprehend how “Lake to late ana punkin pie” was in reference to Pumpkin Pie! I, very graciously and respectfully, asked if I may have my pieces of pie without the whipped cream. Never be rude to people that handle your food! She immediately and forcibly countered with a solid “NO!!” Do I look too thin I wondered? Was this older foreign lady telling me that I need more meat on my bones? I was about to point out that Master had just picked out Fred Flintstone sized steaks for dinner and that I was not squeamish about the calories, when I realized that the sample she was offering was not for the pumpkin pie! She was promoting the Whipped Cream! Hence the “Lake to late ana pumkin pie” which translates to Land-O-Lakes Whipped Cream with a Pumpkin Pie!

Laugh if you will! We obviously did not go to Costco to purchase whipped cream. However, the older lady blaring with a heavy foreign accent “Lake to late ana punkin pie” stuck in my mind the rest of time there. I was so amused that I was walking through the aisles laughingly reciting “Lake to late ana punkin pie”.  We didn’t end up buying a pumpkin pie, nevertheless I was able to convince Master to buy the oversized 3-Pack of Land-O-Lake whipped cream! He still queries as to how am I to use so much whipped cream! Silly Silly Master! As if there is a good reason not to use whipped cream! Whipped cream on waffles, Whipped cream on toast, Whipped cream on ice cream, Whipped cream on cereal, heck! Whipped cream on hot dogs even! All I know is that I truly enjoy my “Lake to late ana ********” fill in the blank. I sniker like a school girl every time I use the whipped cream as I reminisce how, sometimes, you are able to buy happiness! Happiness, this particular time, just happened to be a giant 3-pack of “Lake to late”

The CIA & A Korean Hangover

26 Jul

It’s Monday once again and I’m sure you’re all SOOOOOO very anxious to find out what I did this weekend! What shenanigans did I get myself into? What adventures did I go on? Let’s see what did I do? Saturday I went on a very dangerous task at Costco to purchase some needed items. Just finding a parking space on the weekend at Costco is an adventure in itself. I won’tsay what was purchased because that’s not important, nor very interesting! What was important was that I taste as MANY free samples they give out as possible! It has become very difficult to navigate through the gaggle of shoppers lined up for freebies. It is even more difficult to disguise yourself, on the fly at Costco, so you can get more than one sample from the same sample stand! Needless to say, I am a wonder with hats and other clothing items they sell at Costco, the CIA would be impressed! All I need to bring with me is a fake mustache from now on! I think the sausage vendor is getting suspicious! Once I felt I had accomplished my mission, I returned to the office, and like the lazy bum that I am, had really nothing else to do. I grabbed my usual jug of ice and sat outside with my entourage of doggies. Master and I tried to get them all in one picture but somehow when he said “cheese” they thought it was a treat and would run to find “cheese”. I think we got 9 out of 10 in the picture not bad if I say so myself.  

Now dinner that’s where things get fun and interesting! Master suggested, in his infinite wisdom, to go to an all you can eat Korean BBQ! I’m not one to say no to a free dinner, so off we went! Have you ever been? If not, I’ll walk you through it! First, and oh so so so very important, you make sure to bring an appetite. Not a regular appetite, I’m talking about the industrial strength, haven’t eaten for days, last meal of your soon to end life kind of appetite. Once seated at your table, you are brought a bowl of soup and all sorts of side dishes called “banchan” in korean. This includes: kimchi (a traditional Korean dish, made of fermented vegetables with varied seasonings), Kongnamul (Cold boiled bean sprouts with sesame-oil), Japchae ( glass noodles accompanied with a variety of vegetables and beef in a slightly-sweet garlic sauce), Pickled seaweed (Self explanatory), Korean-style potato salad (made with apples and carrots). Along with all these side dishes they also give various salty, pungent, tangy, and spicy dipping sauces, a very crisp and lively salad, rice paper and a bowl of steamed rice. Oh let’s not forget the GINORMOSE plate full of raw meat! (do I hear angels singing Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh in the background?) The meat consists of paper thin slices of brisket-(my absolute favorite), Bulgogi-(Literally means “fire meat” thin slices of sirloin that is marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil garlic and other ingredients), Gailbi-(generally refers to a variety of grilled dishes that is made of cross cut beef short ribs), Pork Belly-(Imagine a super thick super size piece of bacon). Once you get your meat, you cook it right there at the gas BBQ that’s built directly into your table!!! When you think that your meat supply or side dishes have diminished to dangerously low levels, you simply ring the bell and the waiter brings more of what you ask! What a perfect concept!  

 All you can eat Korean BBQ is not for the week of heart or for amateurs! It has taken me years of training to get to my current plate count. Needles to say we stuffed ourselves silly! Master and I could both sense the amazement within the wait staff when we kept ordering plate upon plate upon plate of meaty goodness! I wonder if we broke any internal record for the amount of meat eaten in one sitting by two people. I never understood why all the waiters humbly bowed in amzement and clapped vigorously as we left? Huh! Wait a minute! Maybe we did break some sort of record! Needless to say, I ate sooooo much meat that, on Sunday, I woke up with a Korean BBQ Meat hangover (it’s a real medical symptom! Look it up!) and could do nothing all day. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!! 
An all you can eat Korean BBQ meal is a very fun and yummy experience that everyone should try at least once.   

Getting ready to eat.