Taking on the Costco Food Court
A comprehensive review on the infamous Costco food court.
April 25, 2018
After years and years of excruciating research, hundreds of trips to Costco, thousands of chicken bakes and churros, it’s finally done. A Magnum Opus. The Costco food court review.
For many of students growing up in Carlsbad, the Costco food court has played a pivotal role in their lives. The Costco food court was there after parents dragged us through the store for three hours. It was always there, open armed, after a long day. It consoled us after we dropped $40. The Costco food court plays a massive role in Sage Creek’s off-roll culture, instead of sitting in fifth period, many spend their sunny afternoons sitting under those classic red and white umbrellas, laughing and eating with friends.
People love the food court for three reasons. Reason number one: its affordable. It’s a place to grub where students don’t have to spend $15 everyday eating at other establishments during free times. The food offered there, for the most part, is delicious. Costco food has always had a unique, special taste, a taste that has never changed. Students can always count on food being under $10.
I am a self proclaimed Costco connoisseur, I’ve been dining at the Costco food court for many years. I have created a system of recognizing the best and worst items.
The graph helps explain why specific items were ranked the way they are.
Here are the tastiest, cheapest Costco items ranked from the best to the worst.
1. The Chicken Bake – Three words: meat, bread, and cheese, the holy trifecta. The bake is an essential part of any Costco run. Both delicious in taste and in price. Caesar dressing can be combined in the consuming of the bake for a heavenly experience. The bake is perfect after strenuous physical activity, when you just to carb load with a quick, delicious, 800 calories mass of dough and cheese. The three dollar selling point can be a bit steep for some of us, so there is always ol reliable to fall back to… the pizza.
2. The Slice of Pizza – The pizza was barely beat out by the bake, both hold titles for best taste and best price. For a two bucks, you can buy a slice of pizza, however it can considered more of a slab than a slice. It’s a basically a quarter of the entire pie, it’s cheesy folds hang off the plate. The pizza is the perfect thickness with perfect proportions of cheese, bread, sauce, and toppings. No flavor overpowers the other. Apart from the overwhelming amazing taste, there is something else that draws us to the pizza: the nostalgia. While chomping down you can almost taste your childhood, those summer evening pool parties, those movie nights, after that soccer game at Poinsettia park, the friends, the family. Any of the three variations of the pizza is a good, respectable choice, however some variations are better than others.
- Combo pizza – My personal favorite. This is the classic brew of bell peppers, onions, olives, mushrooms, sausages, and peppers. I despise olives and mushrooms, those are the two things I would never eat normally, however on a Costco pizza, I could eat these for days. That should tell you something about the quality and taste of the combo.
- Pepperoni pizza – The pepperoni pizza is in a close second. Honestly it’s all about the mood you are in. If you’re you feeling healthy? Go for the combo, there are vegetables. Otherwise, go for the pepperoni
- Cheese – Your boring, yet reliable friend. You can never go wrong hanging out with him, but is it really worth it when you hangout with pepperoni or combo and have a way better time. Cheese is a safe bet, he would never hurt you, but he would never excite you, scare you, or push your taste buds to their max.
Side note: the pizza also gains bonus points cause its just as delicious, if not better, cold. Throw that leftover pizza from the pool party in the fridge when you get home and now you can get a slice anytime for a quick, cheap, delicious snack sesh. Another plus from the cold pizza is that there is considerably less grease. When eating cold pizza there’s no need for unwanted napkins, plates, or hand washing
3. The Hotdog – The hot dog is a bold move. If you are strapped for cash, it’s always a call to grab the dog and soda combo for only a buck fifty. However for fifty cents more you could get the pizza. The dog is nice and wholesome. The meat itself is full of flavor and breaks away from that gross, boiled hot dog mentality. The bun is also sweet and doesn’t overwell the mouth with too much starchy bread. You definitely won’t have as good a time as you would with the other foods listed above, however it wont let you starve either.
4. Turkey Provolone – Costco food can divided into absolutely divine and meh. This turkey, tomato, pesto, provolone, sandwich falls into the latter. It’s composed of many questionable ingredients, normally I would be fine eating tomato, pesto, etc., however the Costco food court simply doesn’t support it. The sandwich is pre made and it goes through the oven, tomato, pesto, cheese and all. After the oven, it sits under the heating lamp until someone orders. The once juicy turkey turns bone dry. The once succulent tomato becomes inedible. While everything else becomes petrified in the Sahara desert, the massive mass of mayonnaise becomes an oily ooze that scalds the tongue and squirts out with every bite. The Turkey Provolone is something to stay away from. With the staggering price of $3.99 and the lack of flavor synergy and quality, you should always choose something else.
5. Caesar Salad – I have never eaten the Chicken Caesar Salad nor will I ever. Don’t go to the Costco food court to eat healthily.
6. The Cheeseburger – The unholy abomination. The cheeseburger, follows it predecessor in size, coming in a at a whopping third-pound patty, however it falls miles short in taste. For starters the price is outrageous, for five dollars you could just drive down Palomar to In-and-Out get a much, much better burger for half as much.
1. Churro – Ranking supreme as the best desert at the food court, the churro owes it victory to its cheap price and massive portion. For a single dollar you could have a massive cinnamon-sugar stick baked and sprinkled to perfection. The churro has the crunch on the outside, and within there is the warm, soft innards. The Costco churro easily doubles or even triples the competition on size and taste. For $1 too, it’s a must have pick up.
2. Soft Serve Yogurt – Like the pizza the soft serve is composed of three different flavors, or styles if you will. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses.
- Vanilla – This is the perfect partner for the any of the other foods on the list. Simple and quaint, the vanilla yogurt swirl can never disappoint. It’s always nice pairing the swirl with a more extreme food such as the pepperoni pizza or chicken bake. The impending heart burn will be immediately dissipated by the cold, mild vanilla. It’s a must have for any meal at the food court.
- Very Berry Sundae – The perfect stand alone desert. The fruity flavors have a hard time mingling with the others on this list so if you want to getting the sundae, this is the only thing you want to be getting. It’s the perfect walking around snack. With the sundae, the pains of roaming the aisles is suddenly mitigated. Nothing’s that bad when slurping on some sundae.
- Chocolate – While the vanilla is creamy and cold, the chocolate is almost the exact opposite. It’s not the good chocolate yogurt you would expect at the Costco food court: dark and decadent It’s very cheap, even for Costco. It tastes watered down, as if the employees cut the flavor in half. Overall the soft serve yogurt is a dank pickup, but not the chocolate, definitely not the chocolate.
3. The Berry Smoothie – again the perfect walking around drink. The berry smoothie holds perfect consistency, it’s not too dense and not too runny. It’s the Goldilocks of berry smoothies. and its flavor is one of a kind, unwavering throughout the years. It can be even compared to juice giants such as Jamba Juice in taste. However, in price at just under $2, the Berry Smoothie blows away the competition.
4. The Latte Mocha Freeze – One of the more acquired tastes on the menu. The Latte Mocha Freeze commands a legion of die hard coffee drinks. This little pick me up will give you the energy to enter the gauntlet and push that huge cart around for the next hour. The flavor is intensified when the optional is added to the mix. Just like his fruity friend, the latte mocha freeze maintains that perfect consistency.
5. Honorable Mention – The Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Ice Cream Bar- This is your long lost Grandpa that lives across the world, the one that you never met before, but still knows he exists. You only saw him once way up at that Costco at Pasadena, and he was a lovely man. A hard, cold exterior of frozen chocolate on the outside (and maybe roasted almonds), on the inside of this sweet old man, creamy vanilla ice cream. Whenever there is the option to grab this, definitely go for it. It might be for everyone but it’s definitely an experience.
Overall Costco is a gold mine of good food, good people, and good times. There is just something about sitting down with your buds and munching on some pepperoni pizza outside a beloved wholesale store that brings us back to the simpler days.