Good food is where you find it.
I write a lot about the San Francisco culinary scene, our excellent restaurants, our superb farmers’ markets and even Rainbow Grocery, but i’ve neglected to single out Costco.
What? you ask. Isn’t Costco where you get your 25 pound bags of sugar and other comestibles packaged in American-sized quantities?
Well, yes. But if you pay attention there are delights in reasonable sizes, the best known being their barbecued chickens, which vie with those sold at two or three times as much in luxury emporia.
But it’s not just the chickens. Their cheese aisle has a variety of prison grade industrial cheeses, but it also features a range of high quality cheeses like the Rembrandt brand aged gouda that i routinely bought in Amsterdam at Albert Heijn, Laura Chenel chevre, Point Reyes blue, etc. in reasonable quantities and at half the price you’re accustomed to paying.
And right next door to the cheeses, there’s a good selection of smoked salmon and the Blue Hill Bay herring in wine sauce, a Canadian product that is probably the best Bismark herring i ever ate.
On an irregular schedule, there’s a booth selling poke, a Hawai’ian fish salad with which i fell in love at first bite. It’s pieces of fish marinated in sesame oil and sesame seeds along with bits of onion and and garlic and chile. One variety i love is made with boiled shrimp, but my favorite is the ahi wasabi version. We do love our raw fish.
As you’re leaving the store you pass their ready-to-eat counter with its fairly good hot dogs, indifferent pizza, and the worst gelato i ever tasted, but the other day i noticed they were offering a new item, a barbecued brisket sandwich. Hmmm, i wondered. Tried it and found it as good as any i’ve had in the city. May not really be, but at that counter, your expectations have not been ratcheted too high.
Meanwhile, is drab little Bartlett Street looking up or what?