Thursday, January 24, 2019

Bewitched by Aldi

I try not to shop at Aldi more than four times a year. The reason is, like that “bad boy” I knew in high school, it’s not good for me. But, also like that “bad boy” I knew in high school, eventually I give in.

Something happens to me when I walk into Aldi, I completely lose my mind. From the moment I step through those sliding doors, they have me, and they know they have me. I swear I could hear the checkout clerks snicker. The first thing I saw was a mountain of bags of popped popcorn, both plain and buttery. Now, I have my own popcorn that I can pop, but, leaning in for closer examination, I heard one of the buttery bags whisper to me, “Wouldn’t I be wonderful with that episode of ‘Vera’ that you’ve been saving to watch since Sunday night?” I whispered back, “You would!” And, really, who has time to spend those 3.5 minutes in front of the microwave anyway? And so it began.
From there I saw the wines. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but the prices are unbeatable, so a couple of bottles went into my cart. Then came the cereal with its beckoning boxes. I don’t eat cereal, but something about seeing that stack of Cinnamon Frosted Flakes (Cinnamon!) touched my inner child. Suddenly I was transported back to my parents' kitchen, perched on top of the Sears catalog (before the days of booster seats), swinging my legs while diving into a luscious bowl of cereal centered on a Flintstone placemat on their Formica-topped table with the metal legs. I had to have them! And, I said to myself, this is undoubtedly a seasonal item, so I should probably buy two. I did.
My main reason for going to Aldi was pick up some butter and various other dairy products that are always considerably lower priced than other area markets. So three pounds of butter, two cartons of half-and-half (a dollar cheaper than local markets), sour cream, cottage cheese, and ricotta were added to the heap.

Next came produce. I told myself that I was only going to buy cilantro and red onions, because that was all that I needed, but seeing those beautiful heads of cauliflower for only $1.99 each, as well as the majestic crowns of broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, well, you get the picture. I was running out of room in my cart.

I circled around to the specialty cheeses and saw that, for the most part, they were half off. I’m talking Applewood Smoked Gruyere, Smoked Gouda, Truffle Cheddar, Champagne Cheddar, the works! I swept my arm through the dairy case, and in that one swoop, toppled the majority of it into my cart.
A crowd had gathered around a freezer bin with a sign above that read “Specialty Buys,” so I had to look to see the attraction. There was nothing I needed. There was nothing I wanted. But somehow the beer-breaded jalapeño bites called my name. Do I like spicy foods? Not really. Do I eat a lot of jalapeños? Not a lot. Did I buy some? Of course!

By the time I got to the bread rack to buy what I think is the absolute best loaf of Italian bread available in any market (and some bakeries as well) to get the Pane Turano -- one of the few things that was actually on my list of five items -- I decided that I was not going to come back to Aldi in a long while, and knowing this loaf freezes beautifully, I took three.

As I approached the checkout, I had a cart that would do the mother of five boys proud. I couldn’t believe it. I had only carried three plastic bags into the store with me, certain that I would only use two, but wanted an extra just in case. I think the best thing I could’ve done with those bags was to put them over my head.

I won't even describe the damage I did in the freezer section. I will only say that before I left home, my freezer drawer slid in and out easily, and now I have to throw my body against it to get it to close. Did I mention that the buttery bag of popcorn rode home in the front seat with me? Probably best not to.

Yet again, bewitched by Aldi. Sigh.

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Aldi, and am not being compensated in any way. I just LOVE their stores!


Rustown Mom said...

That sounds like one of my trips to Trader Joe's, and they also have truffle cheese which is AMAZING. Not to mention the wine section which is vast and the freezer section which is full of fatty goodness that I don't need and certainly buy. least you're not alone in this.

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

That stands to reason considering Aldi owns Trader Joe’s. I’ll often see items from TJ’s rebranded at Aldi, like those scrumptious truffles and the dunker cookies. It’s good to know I’m not alone!

Cee Pluse said...

We have a specialty grocery store called The Fresh Market here, where I have the same problem with restraint. I went there yesterday to look for one item, and ended up with about a dozen that I didn't really need but had to have anyway. Luckily the Trader Joe's is just a little too far away for me to shop there more than a couple times a year, and I have managed to stay out of the two(!) Aldi's near us. I don't need additional temptations!

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

We used to have a Fresh Market here as well, and it was an absolute joy to shop there. So much so that I wrote a blog post about them. Sadly, it was one of the markets that closed. I still miss that store.

Marcelle said...

This was so funny! Enjoy all of your goodies! I'm going to visit Trader Joe's tomorrow :P xoxo

Alycia Nichols said...’re a dirty, dirty girl!😉😜🤣 I hold you up as my heroine! Me? I shop Aldi 2-3 times a week (I like to prepare the freshest produce I can muster) and walk out with the same mundane groceries every time. I’ve never tried the Italian bread you mentioned, but I often buy the French baguette 🥖. LOVE IT!!!!!! I deliberately steer clear of that Special Buy aisle because I know for a fact I’ll lose track of every bit of sense I might have!!! (I’ve gotten some GREAT stuff there, though, when my 🛒 mysteriously all on its own took me there!) The prices for a lot of everyday items like milk, bread, eggs, sugar, flour, and wine (wait...what?!?!??!) are unbeatable and you don’t have to buy in bulk like at Costco and Sam’s to get the great pricing. Now that they’ve remodeled to make the stores more visually appealing, accommodating and inviting, I look forward to the shopping trip! We have 2 Trader Joe’s here, but both are about 18 miles from our house. I don’t even miss going there! We also have a Sprouts here in Lee’s Summit that absolutely rocks, so all I need now is a Whole Foods and I’m golden!!! Stay outta Aldi with your loose grocery shopping morals, girl!!! 🤣🤣🤣

jmac said...

Holding my hands over my eyes as I type this🤦🏼‍♀️...I’ve NEVER been in an Aldo’s!!!!😳. We don’t have them down here. But I’m loving shopping vicariously thru you!!!!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I shop at Aldi's about once a week. For me it's organic produce, some gluten free items, organic spices, and I must have their organic salsa for $ 1.99 !! now when my husband comes with me it's another story. He gets their chocolate bars, cheeses, cakes, breads and snacks!! He is the bad boy in Aldi's..

Marigene said...

One of my favorite places to buy fresh vegetables. I also love their sprouted seed bread, it makes the best toast with the exception of my homemade bread!
They do have a nice selection of cheeses, which I, also, buy each time I goin there.
Have a great time watching Vera with your popcorn! said...

🤣 great post Pattie!! That happens to me in Trader Joe's...we just got an Aldi and I haven't been there yet, now I'm dying to go!! Thanks for the chuckles,

sandy said...

Loved your post - I go for the various pastas, my husband goes for the great buy on eggs and all the various cheeses, then I get the peanuts in the jar roasted, nonsalted for the stellars jay and buy four or five at a time - you can't beat the price better than going to costco and buying 4 or 5 big bags of peanuts in the shell for 5.99 - ...and then of course, i look at the bread items and always the specials of the week - ... and we drive from the mountains down to our Aldi about 40 minutes away ...we are crazy and I too should never shop at Aldi.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What, you didn't buy any breakfast bars? No creamy dark chocolate bars? No mixed nuts? Okay, I have a problem at Aldi too. I see I'm going to have to pay closer attention to the cheese selections next time I visit :)

Linda said...

LOL all the way through Pattie. :D You are one of the two reasons I gave Aldi another try (after not-so-good experiences with one in Oklahoma). My husband's sister has shopped there for years and finally persuaded us to go with her to a recently opened store near us in Huntsville. The first time through, my husband and I thought, OK, what's the big deal, don't see anything we can't live without. The second time we took our time, looked more closely, and tentatively bought a few things. The third time was yesterday, and we are finally getting enthused. With one exception, everything we've tried is as good or better than what we buy at HEB or Kroger. I loved your post because it is full of tips for what to look for. I read parts of it to my husband on our way home, and he is making his list for our next trip. :)

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Oh Pattie, you're so funny!! I have an Aldi that is sooooo close to my house. Their prices are so unbelievable! the son that lives with me, drinks a lot of milk, and their price on a gallon is great. Have you ever bought their Butter Kase cheese?? It makes a dreamy grilled cheese, and perfect with tomato soup!