Fall Costco Taste Tests: Prepared Food + Clothing Reviews

I’m a bad partially-retired food blogger.

Meal times with a toddler are wacky. If I remember to take a photo of a meal before I cook it, but probably won’t remember afterwards.

We get 10-15 minutes at the dinner table before she declares “ALL DONE” and starts throwing food.

Some of these mini Costco food reviews have before photos but probably don’t have afters. With baby coming any day now, it’s the best I can do.

We’re thoroughly enjoying our renewed Costo membership. Of course we’re not saving any money because impulse buys are $10+. But even more so than the food, I enjoy browsing the non-food items like home goods and clothing.

When I have a day off, I join the retired folks walking around looking for samples at lunch. Sometimes it’s just a nugget of beef stick and a vitamin. Other times, you hit the jackpot and find smoked salmon and ramen.

Here’s some mini reviews of foods we’ve tried lately:

From the Deli:

Chicken Penne Alfredo – Around $17-19

This is the meal that I thought I would enjoy the most but actually kind of hated.

Fettuccini alfredo is one of my top five favorite meals in the whole world. I can’t resist a cream sauce. It’s one of my menu “tells” – if there’s a cream sauce on a menu, Jake knows I’ll probably order it. I don’t make it at home because I know what’s in it.

Abundance is not the issue with this dish, the pan is gigantic.

The chicken is plentiful and flavorful, as tastes like it came from their rotisserie chickens.

I did not like the sauce. It’s thick and gooey and tastes like processed jarred stuff. There’s no glimmering, separating buttery unctuous to the sauce.

5/10

Stuffed Peppers – $17

I absolutely love stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage. Humble, filling, yet elegant foods. I’m especially proud of my own stuffed pepper recipe which I made before pre-baby, as it’s more involved that I can handle right now.

For about $17, you get six large bell peppers overstuffed with a beef-rice forward mixture with a little cheese. They are seasoned sufficiently but not with strong flavors. Also, there’s no sauce, so I would recommend baking and/or serving them with sauce.

I baked and served them with marinara sauce and added extra cheese.

This was a meal that I was content to enjoy for work lunches and dinner multiple times that week.

9/10.

Chicken Street Taco Kit – $15

My in-laws introduced us to this taco kit which contains seasoned chicken, lime, shredded cabbage mix, shredded cheese, tortillas, salsa and a cilantro-lime crema.  It’s tasty. It’s convenient, especially for a weeknight meal. For $15, the kit can feed about four people. If you are expecting Mexican street tacos, it might not quite fit that description, but if you simply enjoy chicken tacos, you’ll likely enjoy.

9/10

Frozen Food

Cuisine Adventures French Onion Soup – Around $11 for six

These tubular chunks of french onion soup come in plastic pouches – you place each in a baking dish or crock and bake for about 45 minutes ( or microwave).

I had to run out to find little baking dishes for these and they were hard to find! Maybe it’s pandemic times, but could only find this $11.99 option between a Target and TJ Max. 

Baking is the preferable option because it crisps the cheese and reduces the soup broth. My main complaint is that the soup broth tastes bland/thin to me. I wish it was more robust. Jake thought it was too sweet, but I did not.

If you do not bake it in the oven, the soup will taste even blander.

Of course nothing is going to replace real, unctuous French onion soup baked under a shell of gruyere with a giant crouton. The french onion soup we had at Meritage this summer is one of the best things we’ve tasted for years.

And I am certainly not going to make my own french onion soup right now – it’s on my shit list of foods that I refuse to make again because they too so much time, effort, and/or $$ for mediocre results.

This soup is fine in a pinch. It’s better than no french onion soup. The cheese level is ok and there are some little croutons mixed in there. Add some extra bread for dipping and you’ll have a lovely meal.  You may still dream of that really good french onion soup you had at a restaurant, but it’ll do for now.

6.5/10

Refrigerated Section:

Daphne’s beef and Lamb Gyro Meat Slices – $12 for two bags

People swear by this gyro meat, but we didn’t like it. You sure get a lot, though – two bags in a box.

The Costco near us has sampled this all week and featured in an end cap along with giant tubs of Hannah brand Tzatziki and mini naans.

Besides the price and abundance, another positive is that it’s not very fatty. Other gyro kits we’ve tried include extremely fatty gyro meat that renders an incredible amount of grease when you try to heat it in a pan.

This is not the case. Hardly any oil is produced.

However, the meat chunks are cut very thick (which we don’t prefer), and are kind of rubbery/shiny. It just wasn’t our favorite and we’re trying to figure who to give the other bag to.

Also, the Hannah brand of Tzatziki dip is very tangy and dilly. We like versions that taste more like what Shish serves. Not to say Costco’s is bad, it’s just not our favorite.

Foppen Norwegian Smoked Salmon Slices, $10.99

This is the brand of smoked salmon we enjoy at family brunches. The whole pack is only $10.99 and features three flavors of silky, decedant, unctuous smoked salmon.

The pack does come with a dill sauce which we haven’t tried – we prefer enjoying it on bagels with cream cheese. The fish doesn’t taste fishy and the texture is like butter.

10/10.

Clothing:

And finally, the clothing!

I love browsing the clothing at Costco. I’m at the age where I need to find Costco apparel influencers to replace the the beauty/fashion Youtubers in my feed who keep going on SHEIN or Cider hauls and buying cropped things.

Jessica Simpson Sweater, $15


People in a recent Reddit Costco thread raved about this Jessica Simpson brand sweater. Some even said they returned to buy more colors.

The Maplewood, MN Costco has green and this orange color.

 

There’s nothing fancy about this sweater, but it’s really soft and comfortable. The appeal of Costco-fashion in a nutshell.

Well Worn V-Neck Shirt, On sale now for $9.99

This photo is horrible. I love this shirt because it’s extremely soft, drapey, slightly cropped and incredibly comfortable. It’s wrinkled because I had to pull it out of my hospital bag to grab the photo.

That’s a wrap for now. Feel free to share your latest Costco rants and raves below! 

1 Comment

  1. Julia

    Jeni, if you still Facebook, look for a Buy Nothing group for your area. Perfect place to share food items that didn’t work for your family.
    Always love your writing.

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