I happened across the Kinder Happy Hippo in the International foods section of Dominick’s recently. Such a yummy treat. The outside is a wafer cookie and inside there are two layers of cream – one chocolate and one milk flavored. The bottom is dipped in meringue and some kind of crunchy sprinkles.
Jewel’s not the only one with the 10 for $10 deal!
Time for a Luau
When Dallas and I lived in Roscoe Village there were two supermarkets across the street from each other on Western at Roscoe: Dominick’s and Jewel. No one went to the Dominick’s because it was so old and dumpy. The Jewel was the clear winner in this contest. When we moved to Logan Square, we still went to the Jewel often, since it was still close.
Fast forward to the fall of 2011. The Dominick’s had closed and a new supermarket was set to open. The anticipation was palpable. And Jewel was kind of scared. They redid their parking lot, they fancied up the store by adding things like an olive bar. They rearranged everything, which was frustrating after years of the same layout.
Mariano’s Fresh Market, the new supermarket, opened with much fanfare. Everyone I knew was going to check it out. Hey, kids, this is how you know you’re old. All of your friends are talking about the new supermarket! Much of the packaged food, refrigerator, and freezer sections are the same as you would find in a Jewel or Dominick’s. But the stars of the market are the bakery, cheese, deli, liquor, and prepared food areas. The produce is good as well. It reminds me of a hybrid between something like Whole Foods and Jewel. With pretty reasonable prices. And the many free samples you’d find at a more high-end store.
Everything in Mariano’s is so bright and new. I get bored really fast with going to the same supermarket over and over and I found Mariano’s to be really refreshing. It has quickly become our favored place to grocery shop.
The store brand at Mariano’s is Roundy’s, which is based out of Milwaukee. I’m familiar with this brand because it is the store brand at some of the supermarkets in Wisconsin that I used to shop at. I’ve been getting the discounted Roundy’s products a lot at Mariano’s and have been happy with them all so far.
Everyone I’ve talked to so far aside from 2 people (Loden! Guy at work!) have all had good things to say about Mariano’s. I ran into a different coworker in the parking lot one day and he lives clear across town. Is it becoming a destination? Maybe he was just checking it out to see.. Another day I was in the kitchen in my office and someone commented on my Mariano’s bag in the fridge, which held my lunch. This coworker lives in Roscoe Village and was saying how much he loved the new supermarket.
The live piano player is a little over the top and unnecessary, but he’s positioned in spot that is out of the way, so live piano music? Ok, I’ll listen to it. It’s not hurting anything. Also, the areas I listed above as being the standouts of the store: cheese, deli, bakery, prepared foods, can get packed sometimes, but so far it’s been worth it. Dallas went to Mariano’s one weekday to avoid crowds and guess what? It was packed. Seems the Lane Tech students are now going to Mariano’s on their breaks to eat the sandwiches, pizza, sushi and salad bar food that is available.
If I could change one thing about the store it would be the parking lot. It’s horrible. The parking spots are not at an angle and they’re very tight. You can’t pull in without backing up and pulling in again to get the right angle. Also, the cart return areas are not always convenient, forcing you to walk clear up and back down aisles to return carts. Sometimes it’s easier just to take them back up to the store. Which is frustrating, especially for those cars who are waiting to take your parking spot.
Overall, though, we’re happy with this new store. I still go to the Jewel sometimes. It’s empty now, so it’s easy to run in and out. I wonder if there are die-hard Jewel shoppers over there. I can guarantee there weren’t that many die-hard Dominick’s at the old store. That Jewel has not has any real competition in Roscoe Village for years!
On Friday my office moved to Randolph east of Michigan and there’s a Mariano’s in the building next to the building we’re moving to. Maybe I’ll turn into one of those Lane Tech Students and start taking my lunch in the Mariano’s prepared food stations!
On Sunday Dallas and I planned to spend the day together. In the morning we didn’t really do anything. Just hung around the house, picked up a little bit. At about noon we left. He was going to help me get an iPhone for my birthday so we went to the AT&T store and then to a few other store in the shopping center.. Game Stop, Bath & Body Works.. nothing crazy. We stopped for a quick bite at Taco Bell (secretly love!) and then bought some groceries at Dominick’s. I was having a good time just doing nothing and hanging out with Dallas. We don’t often run these kinds of errands together or go shopping together. I remember commenting about it and how it was nice. Little did I know, we were just killing time while people assembled at our house. I thought the plan was to run these errands, go home and chill for a while, then go to a movie. But when we got home I opened the door, and SURPRISE!
There were about 15 people standing in our living room when I opened the door. I remember being so in shock. Dallas and I were just discussing what movie to see as we pulled into the garage! I couldn’t even take it all in. Everyone yelling “SURPRISE!,” Cory was standing on a chair taking my photo. A few people had never been to our place and I remember thinking that I hadn’t cleaned. And there was a cake with candles on the counter. This was running through my head instantly that first second. I didn’t even know what to do. SHOCK. 30 minutes later my hands were still a little shaky, my heart beating a little fast. Get me a beer – STAT!
Dallas is pretty laid back and “no nonsense” about birthdays and holidays. He doesn’t really care if a gift is given or a celebration is held right on the day. He doesn’t really plan ahead, what he wants to get or do. When it’s my birthday or Christmas, I’ll tell him what I want and he’ll go buy it, or we’ll go together and he’ll pay for it. With restaurants or parties, I usually say where I want to go, or what I want to do, then we do it. I’ve gotten pretty used to this over the last 5 years. I think this was half the shock. How did he manage to actually PLAN something, prepare everything ahead of time, and not only that, pull it off. I honestly had NO IDEA anything was going on. Of course, in hindsight I put two and two together on a lot of things…. why are you texting so much while driving? Why do we have to buy all this cream at Dominick’s? Things that didn’t seem odd when they happened but when you added them all up…
To plan for this, Dallas had secret lunches with Jess to talk about details and to give her keys. That Friday when he was just hanging out with Danny? They slow cooked 14 pounds of pork in the smoker to make pulled pork for the party. Danny also made a cold corn soup that was to die for. That pulled pork was gone lickity split. 14 pounds! It was soooo delicious. And Jess made me a birthday cake. Probably the first birthday cake that I’ve had in … I don’t know? A decade? Did I mention the cake was double chocolate Kahlua? The bar has been knocked up so high, I don’t know how we’re ever going to top this dinner!
Killian took these nice photos of me blowing out my candles. I was so happy I’d taken a shower that day. And dried my hair. And put on a trace of makeup. I didn’t get to jewelry or a nice outfit, but it could have been worse.
The party was great. We hung around inside. We hung out on the roof deck. It was nice out, not too hot, not too cold. We played cornhole all night. Our upstairs neighbors came down and made me do shots at their house. We played Rock Band later in the night. I hadn’t played Rock Band for so long and was having a great time doing it. Such an overwhelming day. Honestly, it felt like 3 am, but it was only 11 pm. Here’s a video of me dancing around holding a bottle of champagne and singing along to the song “Buddy Holly,” by Weezer. The video is kind of messed up because Danny was laying on the ground messing with my iPhone. Maybe also because we were all taking swigs directly from that bottle of champagne.
I had the best time and most of all it felt really great that everyone went through the extra trouble. For me! For my birthday. And I didn’t really lift a finger. I’m not used to that! It was so nice. I have the best friends and the best boyfriend! Thanks everyone for such a great day!
(Cory took more photos of the party. I’ll have to get them from her and post them later. It felt really weird that I was not the photographer for once!)