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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.

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My Two Most Ordered Foods + A Few Good Meals

Pregnancy cravings and aversions are strange things.

During my first, I had an aversion to chicken the entire time. Just the smell made me barf. This time, my food aversions evaporated after the first trimester.

The food that I’ve been ordering the most is Green Mill’s Desert Fire Pasta. Countless times during the past year.

Green Mill is a Midwest chain, but don’t sleep on it. It’s better than average.

They also offer in-house delivery. The original St. Paul Hamline Ave/Grand location might not list a delivery option online, but when you call to ask they often can accommodate.

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Costco Product Review: Pork Schnitzel & Buttered Spaetzle

The other week we went to Valley Fair.

I really wanted to win a stuffed toy for my child so I thought about paying $5 to have the guy guess my age/height/weight.

Ultimately I changed my mind, but he probably could have nailed my age if I told him how much I looked forward to leisurely wandering around Costco on my next day off.

The food at Valley Fair is really expensive and just ok? I get it, we’re a captive audience but c’mon. The cheese on a stick, though, as good as we remember a zillion years ago. Curses to anyone who effs up a gooey stick of fried American cheese, though. 

During our trip to Costco last weekend, we bought the German-Style Ventera Pork Schnitzel Ventura Pork Schnitzel and Zak’s Tavern Oktoberfest Buttered Spaetzle. 

Both were featured in an end cap in the refrigerated section.

One of Jake’s favorite foods of all times is jagershnitzel. I’ve tried to make it twice but my gravy is never as good as Black Forest Inn’s. Also, meat cutlets are a lot of work. There’s a reason why restaurants charge so much for dishes like schnitzel and chicken parm – because making them is a pain in the ass.

I can’t find the prices online but the schnitzel meal cost around $20 and the spaetzle cost around $8.

When I saw this pork schnitzle meal kit, I became very hopeful that this would be an easy shortcut to a crispy meat cutlets.

Is it too good to be true?

Well, kind of.

I opened the package and gasped.

I would, in fact, have to bread and cook my own pork cutlets.

The kit contains breading mixture, gravy, and pork.

To prepare the pork cutlets, microwave the pork for a minute. The pork appears to be fully cooked. Then, peel apart the pork slab into the pre-cut slices, dredge each one in the breadcrubs, and pan-fry on both sides until crisp. I set the slices on paper towels to drain.

Simply heat the gravy.

Zak’s Tavern claims to make the spaetzle in batches from a classic Bavarian recipe. 

Instructions say to microwave or heat in a pan.

The spaetzle comes out of the packege in a big glob. I tried to cook it in a pan with some butter – but as the spaetzle heated, it released so much butter sauce the spaetzle was bubbling in it. I drained out as much as possible.

I didn’t like the sour flavor of the sauce that must come from the vinegar listed in the ingredient list. After I drained most of the sauce and let the dumplings cook until crisp, they tasted much better.

I was skeptical about the pork, being pre-cooked and dredged only in the breadcrumbs straight from the package.

All in all, the meal actually tasted really good. The pork cutlets were tender and flavorful, the gravy was satisfyingly rich, and the spaetzle, while not as good as homemade, scratched the spaetzle itch.

It wasn’t the easiest thing to make after work but it also wasn’t the hardest.

The toddler wasn’t fond of the meal, but it’s hard to predict what she’ll like.

I even ate the leftovers the next morning for breakfast.

9/10 – would buy again!

Following The Signs: Booyah & An Eggroll Sale

This weekend I decided to follow local signs around for food.

The suburb we moved to hosts a weekend celebration that includes live music, inflatables, food trucks, parades, and fireworks.

Signs around town promoting the festivities and Lions Club pig roast caught  my eye.

I met my family at the park and we enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches. It was some of the most tender and flavorful pork I’ve ever enjoyed.

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Reunions.

This was a month of reunions.

Two to be exact. But significant, nonetheless.

One was anticipated with great joy and the other, well, a surprise. 

My friend Beth wrote about her great Iowa reunion tour.  We shared two years of the Iowa chapter.

Beth and her husband tried to visit Minnesota earlier, but their plans got foiled by pandemic chaos.

Finally the stars aligned. Last month, their flights to MPS went smoothly, no one got sick. Suddenly we were heading to their hotel in Bloomington to meet.

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