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Thursday, February 27

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Review Tue May 04 2010

#2 Fairplay Foods

Fairplay ext.jpgFairplay Foods
4640 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL. 60609
(773) 247-6997

Neighborhood: New City (Carnaryville)

Michelle_Obama_and_813c.jpgBottom line is this place is a fat factory. OK, that's my opinion. As you enter the store, sale items are well stocked by the door and they usually are condiments, an over-processed grain of some sort and canned goods. It's beginning to click for me why I should shop more consciously. I'm not exactly on the "organic" hype wagon, but I do agree one needs to eat well to maintain health.

Here's a video clip from an Oprah show about making food choices at the store.

I can't afford grass-fed beef any more than some people can afford to buy more produce than carbs. And it works to shop at Fairplay to feed a family because of the family-sized groceries. But if Michelle Obama wants to fight childhood obesity she is gonna have to get Da Prez to sign a bill that puts a living wage in people's pockets. This "shopping more consciously" isn't going to come at the good ole low price of four for $5. Plus, sometimes it's hard to do it when the frozen food aisle is filled with frozen selections of TGIF-type dishes. It's almost like a Sam's Club for those who are too broke, have no transportation or seeking to feed a family of six with $10.

Service/Added Features: Generally customer service is rather good here. Chatty checkout cashiers (say that three times fast) who will inquire about what you're going to cook if they see something of interest in your purchase. And making a return is not very hard. The service desk offers the usual services, money orders, exchanges,etc. Yet, you're not going to get change if you're trying to get the bus. I've have never had to wait a long time in the store, however I would advise one to stay away on the 1st and the 17th of the month when Link cards are recharged. Venture in on one of those days and you may find yourself getting hassled for cash in exchange for use of someone's card.

Price: It's a low-end grocery store. But what works is that if you aren't really picky about the type of dried goods you want to stock up on, then I'll say it's a good place to hit. On occasion, the sales are pretty good.

Selection:One thing I like is their cake selection, which I never buy, ironically. They have Seven-Up cake, caramel cake (my fave) and Sock-It-To-Me cake. I never get any because I'm single and can't justify spending $16.99 plus for one. The Fairplay produce aisle.jpgproduce isn't bad, but it's not -- here's that buzzword -- organic. One good thing is if I can't make it to Chinatown to get a veggie or staple I need I can occasionally find it here. They offer value packs at the deli. One pound of meat, cheese and 3 pounds of cold deli salad all for the price of $29.99. Good stock up foods for the playoffs.

If must have pork, then you're gonna find the rooter to the tooter here. I've even found Fairplay Meats.jpgcountry ham, which is a very salty version of pork, for an Edna Lewis recipe. If you're on a soul food diet plan or trying out a recipe from "The White Trash Cookbook", cook book.jpgthen you'll easily find the fatty, salty and diabetic-inducing additions here. The meat tends to be OK, but I'm certain that the cows here aren't grass-fed. They have a selection of marinated meat but there is something about a vat of meat sitting marinade for days on end that just scares me. E.Coli, anyone?

Cleanliness: Err. OK, the place is clean, but how much fun is it to shop under a haze of yellow lighting? I'm aware that soft light in film makes Barbara Streisand look like a goddess, but what does a yellow filter do for my food? Is it supposed to remind me of the sun? The only "complaint" I have about the cleanliness is that I wouldn't buy the smoked turkey. Let's just say, I've seen some pieces which looked ready to take flight.

Accessibility: You could drive the SUVs of wheelchairs in here and still have room to get around. It's right off of Halsted, which means the #8 and the #44 Wallace bus stop in front. Parking galore.

Location: In a strip mall. I hate strip malls but it's a saving grace for me in that it's on the way home from church.

Overall: It's up to you. Just bring sunglasses.

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Morydd / May 6, 2010 8:01 PM

To be honest, Fairplay is pretty awful. If you can make it a bit further west, Super Mas Market is small, but the fresh food is much better. For the same kind of quality at better prices, there's Food 4 Less. And if you're able to make it over to Pete's Fresh Market, you'll have a better experience in just about every way.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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