Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cosentino's is now Lunardi's

I am in heaven once again! A few months ago my independent grocery store, Cosentino's closed, it was a very sad occasion for me and many others. I had shopped there for 30 years, and I knew so many of the staff, I felt at home there.

I never found another store I liked, Cosentinos started as a produce store, so they specialized in that. It was also Italian, so they understood the need for so many things such as good rices, pastas, beans, spices and "funky" meat parts.

We heard that Lunardi's would be taking them over, that is also and independent but much larger, I think they have 7 stores. I was intrigued but have never liked the Lunardi's in Los Gatos near my home, it always felt cold and aloof to me. Their prices seemed higher too. I don't mind paying for quality, but I don't want to pay a lot more for the same quality I could get at Cosentino's.

My mom always shopped at Lunardi's, I used to when I lived in downtown Los Gatos, my friend "R" swears by it, so maybe I am wrong, or maybe I am just being stubborn because I am losing "my store"

Well, I am pleased to say I love the new Lunardi's!

I went in today, the lot was absolutely packed!

I forgot it was Easter weekend, I am going to Jerome's so didn't plan any special dinner, but apparently everyone else in town did! 

They open at 7:00 am, even earlier than the other Lunardi's.  The first thing I noticed was it was very light and bright, so it appeared cleaner. Then I swung around to the produce section, there was the produce manager smiling right at me! He walked over and thanked me for coming back, I told him "thank YOU for coming back!" We both laughed.

He said Mr. Lunardi has been very good to the employee's, all of them came back (in produce) except one guy and he retired. He said that they could have had their seniority stripped to reduce pay, but that didn't happen. He said Mr. Lunardi is in the store everyday, checking out things, walking around. I asked if that was his stretch limo outside, and he said yes. He added that Mr. Lunardi is listening to him, listening to suggestions. He was happy.

I told him I noticed mushrooms were much more expensive (I eat a few pounds a week) and he said "Yes, It's a different mushroom program"...but he added: "If you find there is anything you need or want that isn't here, just let me know, I will get it." I know he will too.

I found a traffic jam in a few isles there, the produce guys all laughed when I said it was the wooden boxes that were in the way "There is some old guy who insists on those boxes and will tell you it's not the boxes in the way" ha ha

I saw an older man, in a suit slowly walking around the pasta section, so I went up to him and said "Excuse me, are you Mr. Lunardi?"

"Yes, what is your name?"
"Cristina! Hello" (in an Italian accent)

I thanked him for opening the store and for keeping all the staff. He smiled, then told me all about how he was remodeling and would have even more foods to choose from, especially an expanded produce and deli section.

I went to the butcher counter, I saw familiar faces! George came over to ask if I needed help, and asked how bodybuilding was going. I told him I had a broken rib...I asked if any of the sausage was Badalamente sausage, they are a very old Italian sausage making family in San Jose, their store is tiny, over in Willow Glen, it is the best. The Lunardi's in Los Gatos sells their sausage.

George wasn't sure, he went to check and another butcher shouted over "what do you need? What's the question?" I asked again, he went over and pointed to it, then George gently shoved him and said "She's mine, I'm helping her!"

We all laughed, I got my answer and didn't want any sausage, just wanted to know. I bought some Humboldt Farms grass fed ground beef, the most expensive they had, but grass fed tastes better and is better for you. I asked if it was from one animal or mixed, only one he said. They get the whole thing and piece it out. That's good, less chance of some sick contamination.

Marc the bagger waved and shouted "Hello!" Then as I was checking out with a man who must be from Lunardi's, another checker, Mimi shouts "Kristy! Hi! How are you?!"

You may laugh and think I am odd for being so attached, but I do love food, I love the interactions I have had with the people. I am a "quality, not quantity" person, and I think that is evident on what I eat and how I look.

People who want quantity tend to get heavy, they gain weight. People who like quality eat better foods, less of it and appreciate the things that can sometimes only be enjoyed in small amounts.

With all this talk in the last few weeks of food, you will see I haven't gained weight, in fact my weight is the same. I believe my body composition has changed, more fat, less muscle, but I was 5 weeks out from a competition when I was injured, and pretty darn ripped at the time.

I will post pictures tomorrow, you will be quite surprised I think.

l got home and was heaving the cases of water out of the car and realized it was like weight lifting, and it didn't hurt! I started to get excited, I will be lifting again soon, Wednesday I think. I have to write up a starter program this weekend. I feel like I am 9 years old again and it's the week before Christmas, I wonder if I will be able to sleep?