Monthly Archives: July 2009

Jones-ing for United Way

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As many Americans did this weekend, I celebrated our nation’s birthday by doing what else–grilling with friends and family. At one barbecue I attended, I was surprised and delighted to find United Way-branded Jones Soda in the cooler. The bottles feature Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora and are helping to raise awareness about United Way’s Climb for the Community. (I work for United Way and my team produced the labels for the soda.)

Buy a 24-pack of the limited-edition Jones Soda at Costco and other fine retailers, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit United Way of King County. You get three flavors: orange and cream, green apple and cream soda. It’s a tasty way to do something good for the community.

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Filed under Good causes, Sweet

Saar’s is not contagious

I do most of the food shopping in my household so I pay attention to the weekly grocery circulars.

I know use of the word “circular” immediately dates me, but no one has created an iPhone ap yet that enables you to easily compare prices on specific items at different supermarkets. Old school newsprint still rules in this respect.

I get ads for Safeway, QFC and Albertson’s, but I also receive one from a place called Saar’s Market Place, which appears to have rock bottom prices, especially on produce. I see their ad and always wonder, how can they sell oranges for only 29 cents a pound?

In this comatose economy, every dollar counts so I decided to visit the Saar’s Market Place closest to my home. This took me to Burien, a small, non-descript city southwest of Seattle.

I immediately knew that I was not going to have a typical supermarket experience when I saw the grocery cart corral at Saar’s. There were only about 20 beat-up, rusted carts with suspect wheels available.

I entered the store and was struck by two things: it was bright, and it was almost empty. It was a Monday night, which isn’t a super busy night for grocery shopping, but I know if I had been at the nearby Safeway, there would have been easily five times the number of people.

The people that I did see appeared to be mainly Latino and Asian. There were fewer than 10 white people in the entire store, and 3 were employees.

I knew for sure that Saar’s is an ethnic supermarket when I saw these kinds of items in the meat department.

Pig snout

Pig snout

Pig ears

Pig ears

Beef feet

Beef feet

The piñatas were also a dead giveaway.

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I learned the Spanish word for “marshmallows” that night.

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I find it amusing that food packaging from other countries often features the food item as a cartoon character that is really excited about the possibility of being eaten. For example:

Señor Tuna just can't wait for you to put his tasty flesh on a saltine cracker!

Señor Tuna just can't wait for you to put his tasty flesh on a saltine cracker!

Saar’s did have good prices on produce, but I had to shop carefully and thoroughly examine the wares. Prices on canned goods and other staples were fairly comparable to other grocery stores. I was not convinced of the integrity of the chicken, beef and pork in the meat department (unusual cuts aside), but bacon aficionados may want to check this out:

That's a lot of bacon!

That's a lot of bacon!

Saar’s had the typical grocery store offerings, but there was also an odd mishmash of other items.

Why so many Torani flavored syrups?
Torani syrup

BTW who knew there was a guava syrup? (Bottle on the far right.) That would be good over vanilla ice cream.
Syrup #2

Fluorescent-topped plastic storage containers were 2 for $3.
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And you could buy barbecue sauce by the gallon.
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Filed under Food and race