What kind of connoisseur lobster dinner can you buy from ingredients at your local dollar store? Well, a surprising good one is the answer. I was able to find Pride & Joy brand lobster sliders there for just one dollar. Pride & Joy is an American fish company located Chavin, LA. So there was no questionable imported fish involved here. And, I’ll tell you that these lobster sliders were nearly as large and nearly as tasty as those $7.99 Seafront Bistro crab cakes sold by Safeway stores, yet just 1/8 the price. These lobster sliders were very good in terms of taste.

And a good seafood dinner needs a nice sauce, and I found an incredibly good tasting cocktail sauce, Bookbinders, from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to go with this meal. This was a very good cocktail sauce for just a single dollar. Safeway has their own sauce at about $2.99 a bottle, in a little larger size, but it sure doesn’t taste quite as good as this dollar store brand. Bookbinders red seafood sauce is one of the very best brands that I’ve ever tasted. Exceptionally good. Bookbinders has been created quality sauces since 1865, and could teach a few new kids on the block like Skipper’s how to make a really great tasting cocktail sauce. This brand uses quality Silver Spring horseradish in their cocktail sauce for one thing. Dollar stores give a lot of excellent small brands a distribution outlet for their products. It’s hard to imagine how so many small companies that produce such good brands can sell their products for such low prices like this compared to the jacked up prices at the name brand grocery stores. But, there’s more than few dollar store food products that are a fantastic value compared to the overrated national brands, which not only cost more, but often taste less good as well. Lay’s Potato chips are a good example. The standard larger bag of Lay’s now retails for $4.29, although Lay’s often offers discounts on their products or two for one sales. However, a slightly smaller bag of Granny Goose Potato Chips costs just $1 at your local dollar store, a terrific value by comparison, and Granny Goose have a very good taste as well. Both are nearly comparable products, despite a huge difference in price. Lay’s biggest advantage is more aggressive marketing than Granny Goose, not better value or much diffrence in taste, although Lay’s does tend to use better olis in their products compared to Granny Goose which often relies on the that cheaper cottonseed oil, while Lay’s more often uses corn oil. I personally prefer Lay’s because of their better oil selection, while others may find Granny Goose a better value.

And, because I wanted a little more fish to go with this wonderful lobster meal, I also warmed up LaMonica clam strips, another dollar store item from Millville, NJ, that was also very tasty and comparable to Gorton’s clam strips which retail for around $3.50-$3.99 at many stores, although La Monica is in a slightly smaller size package. LaMonica also believes in both wild caught and sustainable fishery as well.

So there you have a true gourmet seafood dinner that includes lobster sliders and clam strips complete with a wonderful red seafood cocktail sauce all for just $3 when a very similar meal at your local Safeway would have set you back about $14.49 for just one person.

Can you really strike out with a few dollar store food brands that are simply awful? Certainly. I bought something that looked like Swiss cheese slices, only to find out that the item was basically oil and water made to look like cheese with very little nutritional quality and 0 grams of protein per slice unlike real cheese which is rich in calcium and other nutrients. But, I also found this wonderful lobster meal with 5.4 grams of protein per lobster cake and 8 grams of protein per serving of the clam strips. Both were an amazing value for high protein, iron rich foods that are very heart healthy. Getting fish into your diet is an important health aid as fish is known for helping to prevent plague buildup in the brain that is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. And generally, it would be very difficult for the average person to consume abnormally high mercury levels from eating too much fish, as many fish may contain some slight traces of mercury from ocean water. For, the most part the health benefits of eating fish vs. any negative consequences are quite high. You probably get more trace amounts of mercury from those old dental fillings you have than any number of seafood dinners could ever add up to.

Your local dollar store makes a connoisseur dinner with lobster quite affordable and very tasty. I also purchased a very nice little metal can of Giovanni’s Lobster Spread as well, made wih cognac, but that’s for another story here for another day.

The bottom Line: Pride & Joy Lobster Sliders ***(Three stars, good), LaMonica Clam Strips***(Three stars, good) and Bookbinders Cocktail Sauce***1/2(Three and one half stars, or nearly excellent). Need I say more?