Eat’n & Sav’n at Aldi’s

Posted On February 15, 2008

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My sister moved to a small town in the middle of no-where a few years ago, and one of the life changes she had to make was learning to shop in small town grocery stores. If you’re used to the luxury grocery stores found in major metropolitan areas, you would probably experience culture shock if you were dropped off in the middle of a cornfield and told to go into town with your grocery list.

One of the stores she  now LOVES is Aldi Foods. I mean she likes this place so much they ought to hire her to do their marketing. I’m serious. Get the girl an “I heart Aldi” t-shirt.

(In the interest of full disclosure….my brother worked for them 20 something years ago and quit…at the age of 16 … when the manager asked him to wear a tie when he showed up for his one hour shift to sweep the floors.)

So at my big sister’s recommendation, I decided to take a trip to my local Aldi’s and I’m here to give you the culinary report on what I’ve been eating. First of all, if you go to Aldi’s, you need to know they chain up their grocery carts outside. This is not because of crime….it’s to save on labor costs. Bring a quarter with you, insert it into the slot on the duma-jiggy in the first cart, then pull out the chain behind it. If you need help, another customer will show you. You can also offer a quarter to a shopper who has just unloaded groceries into their car. Your quarter remains in the cart until it is returned and chained back up. You can check out their website for a picture and more details so you can feel like a pro before you get there.So you’ve made it into the store with a cart…and you should get one cause you’re going to be tempted to buy a lot of stuff. Be sure to bring cash, food stamps, or a debit card as they do not take credit. Bring your own grocery bags — or buy one — or keep an eye out for an empty box in the store.So let’s get to the important part…how’s the food?Today I tried their Sesame Orange Chicken from Asia Specialties. The package describes the sauce as “tangy”…and it certainly was. It was a little too hot for my mild taste duds…but it was flavorful and I didn’t have any eating trouble with it. I thought the chicken was very good, there were whole mushrooms and other veggies just as it was pictured on the package!! The meal had a fresh, wholesome taste that’s not always easy to find at a Chinese carryout. At $3.99 for a 24 oz package with three – one cup services, I think it was a good deal. I ate two of the servings for dinner, and will have plenty for a lunch… so I wouldn’t try to feed a whole family on this one box. I would definitely recommend this microwaveable mea, giving it 5 wontons out of a possible 5.

Earlier this week I had some of their grilled pollock, which came in a package of two for $1.99. At a buck a serving, I thought the fish was flavorful — it was already seasoned — and the microwave convenience again is much appreciated. I’d give it 4.5 fins out of 5.

I have also tried their frozen ravioli/rigatoni in a spinach/cheese flavor and a portabella mushroom/cheese variety. Now my sister raved about their frozen pasta, but I was less impressed. I added my own (well Ragu’s own) white sauce to the mushroom one and used their spices. I enjoyed it pretty much. Fixed that way, I’d give it 4 noodles – mostly because I couldn’t really see the mushroom specks. I was less impressed with the Spinach version…again, I used the same sauce. Maybe I would have liked it better another way. I think the package recommended olive oil. Since my sister loves their frozen pasta…I’d say try one yourself.

Aldi’s also offers a double money back guarantee….but I haven’t been so disappointed that I’d complain.

I have a few more items in the freezer…stay tuned!

3 Responses to “Eat’n & Sav’n at Aldi’s”

  1. Sandy

    “sister here” Under my “assumed” name of course! I love their Corn Chips! The price is 1/3 of the big “D” namebrand and always fresh! Check out their fig bars! Mr. “N” will never get my business again! I could go on and on but Aldi’s closes in a few hours and I need to pick up a few things!

  2. GibGrl

    Ok well for starters the website didnt work. I even typed it into my browser separately, sigh oh well. I’d have to say I’ve only been to Aldi once in about forever and wasn’t impressed. That whole cart thing totally pissed me off- maybe a rudimentary sign would have helped, or your blog. I realize the idea is price breaks but they just dont cover enough bases to shop there exclusively. It’s right near a regular store though so an extra stop might not be too hard. OH YEA and I heard, long convoluted connection having to do with a whole food person, Aldis carries several items that ultimaely get packaged under the Trader Joes label. The item discussed was a fancy sausage(spinach and chick) or some such. Just FYI?

    I’d like to see a review of Sams; the have great meat prices, the best shrimp within a few miles of the Mississippi but dont know about other stuff… especially the $15k diamond rings.

  3. intuitivelyobvious

    I fixed the link…thanks for bringing it to my attention and thanks for your comments.

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