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Dining Dad: Wegmans

Look past its grocery store exterior and find the exquisite family dining experience inside.

Once and a while, a man’s thoughts turn to home cooked meals. You know, the kind that you prepare yourself. My family generally prefers the “hunt and gather” meals versus the “nuke and thaw," so trips must be made out of our cushy area to…the grocery store.

With multiple children and multiple jobs, my wife and I never get time to ourselves, so when it’s time to grocery shop, we occasionally make it a date. And is our date location of choice.

Almost everyone in the valley knows about Wegmans even if you don’t live close to one. It’s not our regular grocery store (too expensive), but when it comes time to wrangle kids, pick up toilet paper, and share a meal, it’s the go-to shop.

Parking:

What can you say? Wegmans is a grocery store, and has a huge lot. It also has dedicated spaces for pregnant women and families with young kids. The only complaint would be that we need more of those spaces. Pretty please Wegmans?

Family Perks:

#1 The W Kids program- All the Wegmans stores in the valley have the W Kids program, essentially a mini daycare where you can drop your older kids for an hour and get the hard-core shopping done.

#2 Quantity of options + overall food quality = a winner. Oh. My. God. The dinner options at Wegmans border on the obscene. The prepared foods area has about eight sections from which to choose: sushi, sandwiches, salad bar, Asian, hot entrees, cold entrees, soups, and pizza. Which means everyone’s happy.

#3 Special Events nights: Each Wegmans has different special events throughout the month, including kid’s movie night. The last time we went, there was (relatively good) live music. The guy even took our eldest kiddo’s request, and made his John Denver-lovin’ night.

So What Did We Eat??

Entrees: Prime Rib, Sushi Rolls, Mushroom Stir Fry

Here’s where eating in a grocery store gets a leg up on a restaurant: a constant supply of fresh food. Wegmans also employs some serious chefs. And you can tell when you chow down.

The prime rib was an absolute slab of beef with a perfectly pink center. Heaven on a plate.

My wife’s summer rolls were fresh and not “fishy” and the sushi was above level for grocery sushi. The mushroom stir-fry (from the Chinese food bar) had a little heat, and the mushrooms were fresh and crisp.

Sides: Pan-roasted Brussels sprouts, new potatoes, fruit salad

I must admit I am exceptionally partial to Brussels sprouts. And these were just lovely. Very green, very fresh, sliced in half and seared with a little oil and lemon. The new potatoes were not over-seasoned or over-cooked.

The fruit salad (one item we share at the table) is a make-your-own affair, meaning we can choose all grapes and leave out the evil honeydew (which the drama king still claims tried to poison him as a baby). The baby loves peeled and sliced grapes, which we take care of at the table.

Kids Meal: sweet and sour chicken (no sauce), green salad

The sweet and sour chicken is a kid’s dream. Mom’s just happy the kid wasn’t getting pizza for yet another meal. After meeting the Muhlenberg lacrosse team in line, our future lacrosse player even headed over to the salad bar and picked out a selection of greenstuffs that made us proud. Serendipity!

Drinks: Beer, glass of wine, water

Wegmans has an excellent selection of beer to buy and take home. But you can also grab a beer and have it with your meal. I chose a lovely Belgian to go with the prime rib.

My wife tried out the wine-by-the-glass machine with the help of the employee at the machine. There were even cheese samples to go with your wine. My wife chose a half glass (you can buy a sample, half glass, or whole glass) of Riesling, a drier one to go with the sushi, and liked it very much. It came in a real wine glass, which was a lovely touch.

Dessert: Chocolate dome, trifle, cupcake

After dinner, we felt it was our duty as reviewers to force ourselves down to the bakery to peruse the sugary goodies. I was talked into a shiny chocolate-y dome.

My wife had a trifle, layers of custard, fruit and sponge cake, which was pretty darn spectacular.

I’d love to tell you how the cupcake was, but the kid made short work of it. He assured me it was “too good to share with you, dad.” I’ll have to take his word for it.

Total Bill: 51.30 = 2 adult entrees, 3 sides, 1 Chinese buffet (per lb), 3 desserts, 1 beer, 1 wine

Parking/Perks: 4 out of 4 stars. Good parking, free sitting, movie nights

Grown-up food review: 4 out of 4 stars. Fresh and tasty, with lovely alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options.

Kid’s Food Options: 4 out of 4 stars. Great options, and no way out for you kids eating something healthy.

 

DAD DECIDEDLY DIGS IT!!!!!

4 OUT OF 4 STARS

Barbara Saslo March 16, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I totally agree. Wegmans fills in the void left by a regular restaurant. If you think Lehigh Valley Wegmans are "the bomb". You should make a pilgrimage trip to the flag-ship stores in Rochoster, NY. Rochester is the company headquarters and they have stores in this area on every level from small neighborhood level to two-stories of grocery-shopping, foodie heaven in Pittsford, NY. The Wegman family has always been on the cutting of the grocery industry. Always pushing the envelop for that perfect shopping experience.

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