New Costco in Woodland Hills [Giveaway]

In celebration of the new Costco warehouse opening in Woodland Hills on September 12, Agoura Hills Mom is giving away a $100 gift basket!

Costco has been courting me with gifts. They arrive at my house in unremarkable boxes, which are filled with the most random assortment of items. Chocolate covered raisins, body wash, canned tuna, granola, freeze-dried apples and grapes, peanut butter. Each time we receive a box I am so delighted that I made a big deal of it, and the kids come running. Yesterday the big hit was an enormous plastic bin of animal crackers.

All this is to build excitement for the new Costco Warehouse opening in Woodland Hills on September 12. This location will provide all the amenities — on top of the bulk purchasing, prepared meals, discounted household items, and inexpensive pizza we know and love — that other newer buildings have. It’s big – 154,000 square feet. There will be an Optical department with an eye doctor, a hearing aid center, and a pharmacy. Plus it will have a 20-pump gas station!

As a Costco member for many years, they had me at “Hello.” However, in Agoura Hills, we have one of the nicest Costco warehouses I have ever visited close by in Westlake Village, so the bar is high for this new location to dazzle me. Gas pumps with less expensive gas should do the trick right there.

A Costco membership costs $55 year for a household, business and executive levels are also available at additional cost. You can sign up now at Nordstrom in Woodland Hills, otherwise the new location at 21800 Victory Blvd. opens at 8am Saturday, September 12.

What I didn’t know because of course before this I barely had time to pay attention — your boxes of nuts and body lotion got my attention, Costco! — is that Costco offers savings on services too, like auto insurance which I am shopping around for right now. There is also Costco travel, which I did poke around on this summer when planning a short family getaway. Costco is also focused on supplying healthier and more sustainable products and food items.


Giveaway: To get a taste of the eclectic fare they sell, enter here to win a basket of Costco items valued at over $100! Just leave a comment here by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, September 9, 2015. One entry per email address. Extra entry if you share this post on Facebook and tag Agoura Hills Mom. Winner will need to arrange local pickup Saturday, September 12 or later.

I received free products from Costco and an invitation to the VIP opening party to facilitate this feature. All opinions are my own. Follow Agoura Hills Mom on instagram to catch my pics from the party on Friday the 11th.

Hallelujah, Dunkin’ Donuts Is Here

Hot and Iced CoffeeOkay, not here, here. But close. The first LA-area Dunkin’ Donuts is scheduled to open at 5AM on September 2 in Santa Monica.

As part of the grand opening celebration, the first 100 people in line will receive a Dunkin’ Donuts tote bag filled with special items and the first person in line will be rewarded with free coffee for one year.

That is actually the kind of thing that the pre-child me would consider standing in line for. As for me now, well, even a new DD in town isn’t enough for me to leave the Bubble on a Tuesday morning (and finding parking there, GAWD) just to get some coffee. (And donuts. People keep talking about the donuts but true Dunkin’ lovers know what’s really important.)

Yeah yeah. Those are tasty, too.

Yeah yeah. Those are tasty, too.

Another cool thing about this opening is that they are giving $5,000 to the LA Food Bank. What a great way to celebrate.

So, anyway. In other news, Baskin Robbins is selling one-scoop ice cream cones for $1.31 on Sunday August 31. Because…heatwave and holiday weekend. Or…ice cream. Nuff said.

c31 sugar cone

Dunkin’ Donuts
1132 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Smashburger Has Arrived in Thousand Oaks

As if there weren’t already 245 burger restaurants on our side of town – a figure that I just made up, but you know what I mean – Smashburger, a new-to-us burger joint opened last week on Moorpark at Wilbur in Thousand Oaks.  I attended their opening night party for three reasons:

1.  It was not east of Calabasas, as most “VIP” events to which I get invited usually are

2.  Free food

3.  My friend Melanie agreed to come with me

Thusly enthused, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the VIP attention – Smashburger founder and “Chief Concept Officer” Tom Ryan personally ordered a huge spread of food for us to taste, not rattling the cashier at all, at least not visibly – and the gimmick that the chain uses to make its burgers taste like I think burgers should taste.

In spite of all the extras layered on to the various combinations (like the newly minted “L.A.” – Crispy wonton, fried egg, cilantro, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and Japanese steakhouse ginger dressing on a black bean and white sesame bun), one can taste the actual burger.  And it’s yummy.

The “smash” in Smashburger is the gimmick:  each patty starts out as a meatball that gets smashed by the cook to lock in the flavor.  The process is very precise asTom Ryan demonstrated for us in the very crowded kitchen.  I’m sure the cooks were delighted to have us there.

Melanie and I sampled the L.A., the Fresh Mex grilled chicken sandwich, the Fresh Mex salad, veggie fries, regular fries, and sweet potato fries.  Oh, and two flavors of tea from the Smash tea stand.  Also, while we waited in line, servers came around with tiny little samples of milkshakes topped with a spritz of whipped cream.  I recommend the Nutter Butter.  Quite strongly, in fact.

Aside from the surprisingly standout taste of the burger, I found the chicken to be quite delicious as well.  The restaurant doesn’t so much smash the chicken as they do pound it – the result is a thin filet of chicken that is tender and juicy, not dry like you’ll find in other burger/sandwich establishments.

What I also found surprising is that I’ve never heard of Smashburger before.  The Thousand Oaks location is store number #143!  Ford spoke of flying back to his home in Denver after the opening party, on a plane that he had made sure was stocked with wine.  I’m thinking that smashing thing?  A lucrative “gimmick” indeed.

Prices at Smashburger seem comparable to other fast-casual restaurant chains, and the kids’ meal (very important info here) is less than $5, drink included.  You order at the cash register, get your number, get your drink, and your tray is brought to you by a server when your order is ready.  Maybe next time you’re heading up Moorpark, just go a little farther than Jack in the Box and pull in to Smashburger to give it a try.