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Monday, February 27, 2017

Champagne and falafel breaks are good ways to cope with the insanity of Route 80

Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label, above, is a deliciously dry French champagne, but why pay more than $45 a bottle at Costco Wholesale, 149 Route 23 in Wayne, when you can buy not one but two bottles of Costco's private-label dry French champagne for less than $40, below?



Of all the highways in North Jersey, Route 80 is the pits.

I hate the tractor-trailers; lead-footed drivers whizzing by on both sides, even if you are driving 10 miles an hour over the limit; and the high-speed S-curves in Bergen and Passaic counties.

Last week, when I had to drive from my home to Parsippany, I made sure the appointment wasn't too early so I could avoid the rush hour and the maniacs who are late for work, and drive 20 mph or more over the speed limit.

And then I remembered my return trip would take me through Wayne, where Costco Wholesale has an in-store liquor department offering private-label wine, champagne and prosecco at bargain prices.

The Teterboro Costco closest to my home has a separate liquor store operated by an independent merchant who doesn't sell those private-label wines.

I'd also be able to detour to Main Street in Paterson, and take a well-deserved break for a falafel sandwich, and pick up fresh pocket bread, sardines, yogurt drink and canned hummus from Lebanon.

Ah, I thought, those stops will make the trip far more palatable. And they certainly did.

There are hundreds of bottles of foreign and domestic wine on sale at Costco Wholesale in Wayne, but you'll find the best deals in wine sold under the house label, Kirkland Signature. For example, bottles of Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva from Spain were only $6.99 each, above.
Costco's 1.5-liter bottle of Kirkland Signature 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from California was only $8.29 (that's the equivalent of two bottles), a lower price than before. The label promises "vibrant, juicy flavors of black currant with broad red fruit notes."
Kirkland Signature's Asolo Prosecco Superiore, a sparkling white wine from Italy, was only $6.99 a bottle.
The cafe at Fattal's, 975 Main St. in Paterson, sells falafel made from chickpeas and fava beans (3 for $1.25) to eat there or to take out. From the store's grocery shelves, I picked up a can of Libano Verde hummus and tahini ($1.09). To make hummus at home, empty the can into a bowl or container, add fresh or granulated garlic, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil to taste, and garnish with crushed red Aleppo pepper.
Za'atar bread, meat pies, kebabs and light meals are served in the cafe at the rear of Fattal's, a Syrian bakery, grocery, butcher, and gold and jewelry store with its own parking lot.
The $2.99 Falafel Sandwich at Fatal's won't win any beauty contests, and it fell apart while I was eating it, so I had to lick my fingers, but it was filling and delicious. Under the pickles, lettuce and sauce were three fried falafel balls. One medium pocket bread is used and the sandwich is made like a wrap, but two breads would keep it from falling apart.