Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wegmans (Part 1)

<sigh>  I… LOVE… WEGMANS. My first real job. My first true foodie love. The first thing I missed when I moved away from Western NY (well, besides family and friends). It’s a destination, a phenomenon and so much more than a supermarket; it’s an experience. Wegmans prides itself on customer service and quality products. What supermarket doesn’t declare to do the same? Who actually succeeds? How many people truly LOVE their supermarket? Wegmans delivers.

While not exclusively a Buffalo company, Buffalo would not be what it is without the Rochester-based Wegmans. And neither would I. In high school, I worked at the Wegmans on Sheridan Drive- store #62- and enjoyed many close encounters of the edible kind. Even though I worked in the video and photo departments, I had a lot of opportunities to enjoy the goodness that is Wegmans. (Remember when we had video and photo departments in stores?) The video counter was right across from the pizza counter. Most supermarket pizza is adequate at best; Wegmans pizza was awesome. I ate a lot of it, especially when Lou was working. Any slices left over at the end of his shift were free game for the photo-video staff. Another favorite was the Wegmans chocolate chip muffin. You know... the kind with loads of mini chocolate chips and the big sugar crystals on top. Low-fat or fat-free? Not a chance! Their chocolate chip cookies are amazing and apparently famous after former VP Dan Quayle sang their praises during his tenure. Rich, loaded with chips, and home-baked soft. 

LOVE these cookies... see if they last a day!

When I wasn’t bumming free pizza or eating baked goods for dinner, I would actually get food from the salad bar. (Yes, I paid for it.) They had the most tasty pasta salad I’ve ever eaten. I can’t recall what made it so amazing, but I know it involved artichoke hearts. Of course there were days when I’d get my meals from the bulk food bins. (Again, paying for them.) If you’ve never experienced the bulk section, it’s a dream come true. Barrel after barrel filled with everything you need and many things you don’t; everything from sandwich cookies to gummy worms to sponge candy to granola to pet treats. I think I saw shoes there once. Over 20 years ago, The Olde World Cheese Shoppe introduced my family to a longstanding holiday tradition: salsa dip. During a demo one day, the cheese lady was sampling a dip made from salsa, sour cream, cream cheese and topped with shredded cheese. Completely simple, but it caught my taste buds and it still appears at almost every celebration.

That’s just the Wegmans of my past. To be continued… (How Wegmans continues to cater to the foodie in me!)

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