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Living in America 2013

(382 Posts)
smartieknickers Wed 30-Jan-13 22:31:40

Howdy y'all! I was a long time lurker on the Living in America 2012 thread and in the spirit of my new year's resolution to 'get involved in more stuff' I thought I'd start a new thread, what with it being a month into 2013 and all that... So who's with me? grin

Link to previous thread

Brief introduction: I initially moved from Scotland to Houston, TX with my DH and DS (now 2) in 2011, but we moved to Dallas in September last year. We never really felt quite at home in Houston but for some reason we really like life in Dallas, even though it's pretty similar in a lot of ways. We have just today finally dispatched with the last of our Christmas visitors (we've had parents and in-laws here back-to-back for 5 solid weeks!!) so I'm feeling like I deserve a large wine and a medal

SquinkiesRule Wed 13-Feb-13 16:14:46

Make sure you all sign up for the emails and stuff from Cost plus World Market, they send you coupons for $10 of when you spend $30 a few times each year, and then I go in and stock up, if you live near keep watching their sales and end caps in the back of the shop for clearance, I get all our Jam, Marmalade, Pataks curry, Custard powder, Bisto, Mcvities etc etc.

NotMoreFootball Wed 13-Feb-13 18:19:52

WholeFoods has fabulous crumpets, not the muffin type that you have to slice in half but real British ones!

smartieknickers Wed 13-Feb-13 19:05:23

I have never seen a crumpet in Whole Foods! Must go and scour the shelves tomorrow...

Want2bSupermum Wed 13-Feb-13 20:00:11

Kings supermarket was owned by M&S. I rememeber the deal coming accross my desk at work. I went home that night and raided the store. Such a shame they sold the company because the prices were very reasonable and a lot of things were cheaper here than they were in the UK.

rootypig Wed 13-Feb-13 21:54:40

hello all! sorry, I lost this thread from ones I'm on, but have poked around in my settings and here you all are grin

Brow, where in LA do you live, can I ask?

Squinkies thanks for the cost plus tip. I love Birds.... from past experience living in california, I am going to miss M&S the most! and butter.

Want2bSupermum Thu 14-Feb-13 03:28:28

Rooty Butter is quite easy to find. Quite a few places have lurpak and Trader Joes carries Kerrygold. DH, being Danish strongly prefers lurpak but I buy kerrygold because it is $2.69 at trader joes. Lurpak is almost double the price at $5.

AmericasTorturedBrow Thu 14-Feb-13 05:30:43

I'm being a bit rubbish keeping up but Trader Joes also does crumpets! I didn't really miss them til my mum brought some over a few months ago, along with damson jam, Heaven.

I'm on the West LA/Santa Monica border rooty

rootypig Thu 14-Feb-13 10:56:54

Supermum wow! I never saw Kerrygold for less than six bucks where we lived, but maybe because it was a smallish town (Santa Cruz CA). now I feel much calmer smile

oh Brow we might end up being near you then! DH just waiting to hear if he has got into doctoral programme at UCLA (fingers crossed)

Want2bSupermum Thu 14-Feb-13 17:34:08

TJ is brilliant as it is owned by Aldi. They have things like lemon curd which I don't think you could get anywhere else.

Kungfutea Thu 14-Feb-13 17:48:47

TJ's has some nice stuff but I find them a bit pretentious and also pricey for basics - although agree about the crumpets!

Some other odd things about US groceries are the lack of caster sugar (not stocked in regular supermarkets near me) and the disappointing range of flour (no whole wheat self raising). I also can't seem to find cream of tartar.

I bought a breadmaker and started making my own bread. I can't stand the regular bread here - it's disgustingly sweet and 'artisan' bread is too pricey so I just make my own. Bung some water, salt, flour and yeast into the breadmaker, set the timer and we wake up to freshly baked bread every morning!

Want2bSupermum Thu 14-Feb-13 18:38:26

I use superfine sugar for caster sugar and have found it in pathmark, shoprite and kings (I have the stuff by domino which comes in a cardboard box). Cream of tartar - found it at Kings. I order flour online or buy from Kings/shoprite. I checked my cupboard... the cream of tartar is by king arnold flour.

Bread is an issue here. I won't eat anything that doesn't go stale and mouldy in 10 days (I had pepperridge out for 6 months and it still wasn't mouldy). We buy boxes of rye bread from ikea and get the TJ 6g of fiber per slice bread (this is how I identify the bread because I can never remember the name).

Agree that TJ is pricey for a lot of things. Their fresh fruit, veg is horrible and the meat is overpriced.

smartieknickers Fri 15-Feb-13 00:56:47

KungfuTea I've looked for wholemeal bread flour and couldn't find it anywhere, but (surprise surprise) I was able to order it on Amazon! Can you tell I love Amazon? We make our own bread in the bread maker as can't stand the fact that so much sugar and salt is added to the stuff you get here. We do treat ourselves to the odd artisan loaf from Whole Foods though... (no Trader Joes near us - boo)
You can easily make your own self raising flour by adding baking powder to plain / all purpose flour.
I trailed round all over the place for ages looking for cream of tartar and eventually resorted to getting friends and family from the UK to bring it with them. However I have recently discovered that practically all of our local supermarkets sell it, but it's in with all the herbs and spices and not in the baking section!

smartieknickers Fri 15-Feb-13 00:58:55

Oh and most of the standard sugar I've bought here is fine enough to be called caster sugar (not a term used here), or you can get superfine which seems to = caster.

AmericasTorturedBrow Fri 15-Feb-13 18:14:57

Yay rooty in very close to the main UCLA campus!

I heart TJ and find my shop is much cheaper there than at Ralph's...what's Kings though? Trouble is in LA everything is expensive, TJ is our cheap grocery shop!

Agree on bread, it's horrid and the butter too

Want2bSupermum Sat 16-Feb-13 04:01:47

Kings is a supermarket here in NJ/NY area that used to be owned by M&S. They are a client of my new employer and I am on the team so I get to see a little more of the workings behind the supermarket (ie their shop employees are all union). I like their stores because they tend to be smaller. I HATE big stores. I don't have 45mins to shop.

Speaking of which I nearly had a breakdown in babies r us today. Since Monday I have been trying to buy a new car seat that will work with the 2nd base we already have for my car. The one I want is $90 at babies r us and $80 everywhere else but takes up to 3 weeks to be shipped (after they told me in December and last week of January it was available in the store or ship to home in a week). Then there is the issue of using our giftcards. eGift cards can only be redeemed online and you can only redeem up to 5 gift cards against one purchase.

So today I go to the store to pick out a car seat as today is my due date. I called ahead and they gave me a list of models they had in the store. As I am HUGE I can't lift the huge box and asked for help. No one helps me so I go to the front desk to pick up the things I ordered online using the egift cards. Not able to pick up because the email was sent to DH and not to me. Arghhhhhh!!! I ask the girl for help with putting the car seat that is sitting on the shelf into the trolley. Low and behold, we finally get to the car seat to find that someone else has since been by and picked it up. Of course in a store that is at least 5000 sq ft they don't have a 2nd one. The only other Graco is $190. Double arghhhhh....

I have 8 $20 gift ecards plus another gift card with $80 on it. So I have enough to fully cover the cost of the more expensive car seat BUT I can't use the ecards in the store. I come home to order the more expensive one online and do the ship to store. It isn't an option.

And they wonder why people buy car seats 2nd hand!

anonymosity Sun 17-Feb-13 04:33:34

Hey AmericasTorturedBrow - I am also Westside LA / Santa Monica. Have you been to the continental store on Wiltshire - and aprox 17th St in Santa Monica? It has British foods and drinks - marmite, ribena (yuk yuk), tea cups (!) and custard powder - all that stuff.
Its a bit disturbing as they play benny hill videos on the overhead TV and its like walking into a 1970's time warp, but they have the specific UK things you might want (for a price).

AmericasTorturedBrow Sun 17-Feb-13 05:28:12

Hi anon! Yay a MNetter close to me! No, not been to that continental be honest I mainly miss bacon, welsh lamb and proper sausages - visitors bring me chocs, Percy pigs, crumpets, sudocream etc

How long have you been in LA?

anonymosity Sun 17-Feb-13 05:57:08

This is our 4th year. I don't come onto mumsnet very often - I will write on it and then be absent 6+ months. I find I write in the middle of everyone else's night and miss most of the conversations taking place (in the UK)!

I don't think I have ever seen welsh lamb here - what a treat that would be...

I only miss my parent's cooking, and puy lentils which I have never found here at all.

How long have you been here?

Want2bSupermum Sun 17-Feb-13 16:35:19

anon puy lentils are in our local whole foods in the self serve section. I LOVE them too.

Welsh lamb. I have been begging my friends parents to start exporting here. I really miss Welsh lamb. What they call lamb here is often mutton. Drives me nuts.

Want2bSupermum Sun 17-Feb-13 16:43:29

Tortured DH can help you out with bacon.... Here on the east coast he sells into Tommy Malones (available in shoprite). Will ask him who he sells into on the West Coast. Irish bacon isn't bad but DH doesn't trust the Irish (he was not shocked about the horse meat scandal at all) and only products from certain Irish suppliers are allowed in the house. If he isn't selling into the West Coast he will know who is.

I am a very lucky girl that DH brings home the bacon - in a literal sense!

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Sun 17-Feb-13 19:59:32

Feeling a bit sad this evening as we said goodbye to my folks for the last time before we move. Bit silly really as we'll be seeing them about 5 weeks after we move as we're back in the UK for a week. Just made it all very definite.

123yipee Mon 18-Feb-13 00:33:38

Know how you feel goodbye we did this 3 weeks ago. It does make it all very 'real'. Hope the move goes well. For us it was more chaotic before we moved compared to now we are here.

Does anyone have any advice on how to pick a doctor for DS. We have been given access to a website with all the in-network doctors. But how on earth do we pick one? He needs a doctor on his pre-school registration form so it would be great to get one this week.

AmericasTorturedBrow Mon 18-Feb-13 00:39:25

goodbye that is really tough, I cried buckets at the airport when we moved, hope the move goes well though!

Want2B that would be AMAZING! My American friends just don't get it - if I can get hold of some British bacon, I'll ask my folks to buy DH a bread maker for his birthday (I bought him a juicer, god we've become so Californian!) then it's just some decent butter and bacon butties round mine!

anon we're coming up to a year - whole foods on San Vicente in Brentwood does puy lentils in the DIY section and I think you might be able to get them in the co-op on Broadway in Santa Monica....

Kungfutea Mon 18-Feb-13 01:15:48


I looked at reviews online. If you have a local Internet forum, you can ask on there and if you know why parents locally, ask them. I know Americans also interview their pediatricians when pregnant to find the right one but I've never gone that far!

AmericasTorturedBrow Mon 18-Feb-13 02:25:08

We asked for recommendations from people at DHs work

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