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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Free organic sweet potatoes at ShopRite; plus, Armenian takeout in Hackensack

SWEET CONFUSION: The ShopRite in Paramus stocks two brands of organic sweet potatoes in 3-pound bags. The Garden Sweet brand, above, rings up at $5.98, compared to $3.99 for the other brand, below. On Thursday in Paramus, only the pricier potatoes were available, but they were placed over the price sign for the cheaper brand.
The cheaper organic sweet potatoes also are sold at the Englewood ShopRite.



Confusing and conflicting price signs at the ShopRite in Paramus had an upside:

On Thursday, I received a 3-pound bag of organic sweet potatoes and a jar of imported pasta sauce for free.  

Normally, the organic sweet potatoes are $5.98, but they were placed on a shelf with a $3.99 price sign for a second organic brand, which was out of stock.

The Botticelli Fra Diavolo Premium Pasta Sauce from Italy was displayed near the liquor section for $1.99 (24-ounce jar).

But the two jars in my cart rang up at $2.99 each, so I was given one for free and the other for $1.99.

BAIT AND SWITCH: In the produce section at the ShopRite, Route 4 and Forest Avenue in Paramus, I found this display of Pearls Colossal Olives for 99 cents a can. But in the olive aisle, the same item was marked 2 for $3, below. The two cans in my cart rang up at 99 cents each.

CONFLICTING SIGNS: In the pasta aisle, Botticelli Premium Pasta Sauce from Italy, with no added sugar, was on sale for $2.99 with a store card, but a display near the supermarket's liquor section had the same bottled sauce for $1.99 each.

HOW SWEET IT IS: I baked the free organic sweet potatoes from ShopRite at 350 degrees until they were soft and their natural sugar oozed out of them.

Armenian takeout

The Armenian food at Lavash City Grill & Bakery in Hackensack is familiar to anyone who has eaten in a Syrian, Turkish or Greek restaurant.

The counter-service restaurant offers home-made "Middle Eastern Cuisine," and pledges everything is made from scratch, including the lavash, an addictive Armenian flat bread.

I stopped there on Thursday afternoon for takeout, including six delicious Grape Leaves stuffed with creamy rice; and sides of 10 Baked Veggies, Kale & Nut Salad and Tabbouleh.

Grape leaves were 50 cents each, and the other dishes were $4 each for small (16 ounces). A small container of  Tzatziki, a yogurt sauce, was $1.50.

I also bought 5 extra-large pieces of preservative-free lavash ($7), a thin, chewy flatbread that is a guilty pleasure for anyone who is on a no-bread, no-pizza diet like me.

Lavash is ideal for wrapping grape leaves and other food, and for scooping up dips. I like to make lavash wraps with Greek yogurt, za'atar thyme mixture and extra-virgin olive oil.

NOT BY BREAD ALONE: At home, my plate of takeout from Lavash City, clockwise from top, included Kale & Nut Salad, Bakes Veggies, Stuffed Grape Leaves with Tzatziki, and Tabbouleh, a salad of finely chopped parsley, scallions, bulgur wheat, tomatoes, mint, olive oil and lemon juice.

If you have a cold ...

I love the food and moderate prices at Lavash City, but the young man who assembled my takeout order was sneezing and said he had a cold.

So, I wondered why he was handling my takeout containers, and filling them with the grape leaves and the other items I ordered, when there were other employees available.

That reminded me of a visit to the Costco Wholesale Business Center in Hackensack, where I placed organic spring mix and two or three other food items on the conveyor belt, and the cashier sneezed all over them.

I asked for a sanitary wipe on the way out and used it on my packages.


Lavash City Grill & Bakery, 331 Main St., Hackensack; 1-201-464-5445. Serves a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Parking lot behind restaurant.