The Cheesecake Factory cheesecake

While casually shopping in Costco, I walked past the freezer section that I don’t often venture past only to find myself slowly reversing and pressing my face up to the glass. Do my eyes deceive me? Was that really what I thought it was?

Yes ladies and gentlemen. Costco Canberra (for now) is selling The Cheesecake Factory original cheesecake ($21.89), complete with graham cracker crust and the smooth cheesecake filling that we all know and love. Upside: it is all pre-cut and equally portioned for your convenience with a paper dividers; it’s the original cheesecake so you can dress it up however you like it (I had mine with berries, passionfruit, my friend added Nutella) and it tasted like I never left Hawaii.

Downside: the serving suggestion was to thaw it in the fridge for 8-12 hours (ain’t no body got time for that, I just left it on the counter until I was ready to eat it); our pineapple isn’t as sweet so I can’t replicate my favourite flavour.I take no responsibility with what you do with this information.

Costco- Hawaiian series

After coming home from a holiday, one of the first things you have to do (besides mountains of laundry) is re-stock the fridge. For this and nearing the end of my toilet paper supply, I found myself at Costco- the little slice of America we have here.

While we were at Kauai island, it was suggested to me to visit the Costco store to see all the items that we wouldn’t see in our stores back in Oz. Here are just some of the random things I saw as we made our way through the store.BBQ beef brisket sandwich USDA choice beef brisket, BBQ sauce, coleslaw ($4.99). I ordered a beef brisket sandwich and it came out really oily, the bun was way too sweet for my liking and I didn’t finish it. The sausage in the hot dog was nicer and bigger than ours but the cheese pizza tasted exactly the same as back home.

It looked nice on one side and dripping with oil on the other.I swear the Home Alone movie has made me addicted to cheese pizza.Our Australian membership got us into the store.We get chocolate pandas and they get ‘chocorooms’.Nothing really weird about this product, I just found the name amusing.‘Stranger things’ fans can squeal like I did.Croissant or sausage and egg for breakfast? Why not have both?This made me stop in my tracks… A whole roasting pig. What the?!Different versions of poke salad.They sell massive chicken pot pies! I want this is Australia.What I found very useful as a tourist in the store were their deals on Mauna Loa macadamia nuts and Hawaiian Host chocolate, both recommended to me by my Mum when she went earlier this year. They were cheaper than buying them at other stores and made for a convenient souvenir for family.Despite the food area being outside, the layout of the Costco store in Hawaii is very similar to ours. At times it didn’t feel like we were in another country, until we came across some of these unusual items.

Food coma -Thanksgiving 2013

A work friend of mine was disappointed in last years Thanksgiving festivities which resulted in her eating leftovers by herself on the day and celebrations were on hold until the weekend, so she took it upon herself this year to host her first Thanksgiving. Australia isn’t the biggest on gobbling down turkeys but obtaining one wasn’t too hard (Costco approximately 7kgs – $50.00). This thing was huge and almost took up most of the space in our small Australian oven.

The secret and tips to an amazing moist turkey: leaving time for turkeys to defrost (nothing worse than a half frozen turkey on Thanksgiving day!), marinating the whole turkey in a brine mixture overnight, buttering on top and under the skin.20131128-200327.jpg

After teasing us with its tantalizing smell for four hours, the turkey was finally ready with a gorgeous golden tan and succulent tender meat.20131128-200611.jpg

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Check out the size of the wing!

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A potluck lunch means  a wonderful mix of moist cornbread, salads, roast vegetables, dressing and homemade gravy *drool*. I only took a photo of my first plate. 20131128-200557.jpg

All finished off with a homemade pumpkin pie. So many spices with the sweetness of roast pumpkin equals a very good end to the meal.

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Nothing but a speckle of meat left and a carcass ready for stock making.

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That’s the perk of working with a diverse multicultural group, experiencing holidays from other cultures!      HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Now excuse me as I enter into a food coma…  

Costco!

——-01/08/2011——-

You would think with the amount of times I have been to Costco that I would be a member by now but no- I have been the ‘Kramer leeching neighbour’ of all my friends and slyly sneaking in with them.

It is definitely a shopping experience and a half. I think everyone should go at least once and making up their own mind if it is for them or not (you just need a friend with a membership!). For me- the sheer size, variety of food, seafood, pizza sizes, KitchenAid branded items was enough to make me squeal.

Some things are a bargain and some things are just as much if not more than your local supermarket. You just have to know roughly what things usually cost and do a mini price comparison in your head, but you also have to be realistic about how much you’ll actually use and if you have the storage/freezer space. Luckily for me as a baker, I do have enough space to store 120m of baking paper, would go through 1.5kg sticks of butter and use 1-2kg of cream cheese no problem!

Another plus (besides having baking staples in bulk) is the free food samples! Two out of the three times I have found myself snacking on free food even though I wasn’t that hungry.

So far I have tasted:

*New York cut steak (twice, the guy most have seen the bliss on my face and said I should have another)

*lasagna                                                   *american cheese

*cream puffs                                          *parmesan cheese

*organic juice                                        *Bulgogi –korean beef

*spicy fried calamari

All delicious mind you!

My first bill was around $300? Which was very surprising as my partner said we didn’t need a trolley as we were only “looking” but my membership friend insisted we take one as it adds to the Costco experience (just think the double stroller version of a normal shopping trolley). All the better to fill with items (you may or may not need) my dear!

What filled my trolley on an unplanned trip I hear you ask? Slabs of Dr. Pepper and red bull, pringles (which afterwards I decided it wasn’t that much of a bargain, I was just caught up in the moment), large jar of minced garlic for my lazy days, KitchenAid grater accessories, ‘Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals’ book, almond and cashew roca in a large bag (now THAT is a bargain if you don’t mind the packaging), buffalo wings for lunch and the smallest bottle of ranch (1.4L) I could find to have with it.

Aisles of candy, chocolate and chips.

Super sized sticks of butter!

If the wheel size of a normal cheese from the supermarket is the baby, then these cheese wheels are the Mumma!

Not that you can tell in this photo but these pie sizes are HUGE! Almost as big as their pizzas!

The ‘smallest’ ranch I could find to accompany my buffalo wings!

No kissing after consuming a 1kg of this!

Not your average sized grater.

Maybe when the membership lines die down a little and I think I can control myself around free food samples, I’ll consider joining, but for now I am just happy to go whenever my friends take me (if they’ll have me ).

Venue: Costco

Address: 39-41 Mustang Ave, Majura Park, Canberra Airport 2609

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10:00am – 8:30pm

                             Sat 9:30am – 6:30pm

                             Sun 10:00am – 5:00pm

Membership fee (annual): $60