Thursday, November 3, 2016

Out of My Comfort Zone: WNY Taste of Excellence

A few weeks ago I received in the mail an invitation and ticket from Top's Supermarket to attend the WNY(Western New York) Taste of Excellence. I immediately called in my RSVP. I have lived here over 6 years and had never been invited before. Evidently it is an annual event. 

It was being held in two sessions. I opted for the 4:30 - 6:00PM session. My ticket would get me and a friend in. I asked Hubby to go with me and he told me that it would be as interesting as watching paint dry. Then I asked a few friends who were not interested. So I marked my calendar and pretty much put it out of my mind.

Yesterday morning, the event popped up on my calendar. I had all kinds of reasons why I couldn't go that ran through my head all day. I had never driven to the venue which was Samuel's Grande Manor . Would I get lost? The rush hour traffic will be horrible. I don't like to go alone. Would it be dark when I got home? What was Hubby going to eat? There is limited parking. Will I be able to find a spot? Should I go early? I was still very tired from traveling this past weekend. I procrastinated for most of the day.

Finally I put on my big girl pants and decided I was going. I programmed the GPS to find my way there. It would still be light when I got home since Daylight Savings Time doesn't start until this weekend. So I ventured out into the rush hour traffic a little bit early going down. I figured that as long as I got a parking spot, I could wait in the car until it opened. 

I found the venue with no problem. However the big parking lots were almost full already and I could see cars driving around and around looking for parking. Fortunately Hubby had shown me the venue on Google Earth so I knew that there was some limited parking on the other side of the building. I headed over there and had no problem finding a spot. 

Once inside, I found that they were already letting people in. You had to go to the registration table and give them your name. They took your ticket and marked you in. Then they gave you a Top's cloth shopping bag that had a Top's Christmas Entertaining Book and a $ 10.00 Top's Gift card.

The event had manufacturer's or vendors tables set up around the walls of the rooms downstairs and upstairs.  They were all giving out food samples of new products that are or will be in the grocery markets in our area from now through January. Some vendors had coupons but most did not. 

I managed to sample almost everything they had. I ate plenty of chicken, pizza, sausage, Healthy Choice entrees, lasagna, garlic bread,  Juniors cheesecake and ice cream. Magnum was there giving out their bars. I made that my last stop before I left. I enjoyed one that was vanilla ice cream covered with white chocolate. It was so delicious. I also had a cup of coffee with International Delight Creamer to end the afternoon. I had been warned on a Top's Facebook group not to eat before I went and I was very glad that I hadn't. This all was my dinner.

But besides the $10.00 gift card, the few coupons that I was able to get were well worth it. Each vendor was giving out one coupon per person. However I quickly learned that if you told them you have enjoyed their products for years, they gave you more. I was given 18 Perdue $1.00 off coupons which don't expire until 3/31/17. I also managed to get some Free coupons for a pint of Kemp Frozen Yogurt, I Can't Believe Its Not Butter, Country Crock margarine, Magnum Mini Bars(3 of them) and Breyer's Gelato Indulgence products(2 of them). The free coupons have to be used by 12/31/16. I also got an assortment of a few other products.

I am so glad that I went out of my comfort zone and attended. I loved seeing how beautiful the venue was, meeting some other people, talking with the vendors and tasting the new food. Of course the giftcard and coupons were the best part. They will get used over the next couple of months. Now I need a great sale on Perdue products.  

The $10.00 giftcard will get used on a $ 50.00 grocery order this month. Top's is running a deal where every time you shop this month for a minimum of $50.00 in groceries, you get a point that gives you $10.00 off a $50.00 gift card. They have quite a selection that include restaurants and various  stores. I am done with my Christmas shopping but I will be using these deals to get discounted cards for places that we shop or eat at in 2017. A  20% discounted gift card is quite a deal. You can bet that my stockpiling this month will be done in separate $50.00 orders.


  1. So glad you had a good time! Great deals on the gift cards and coupons. Proud of you for going; it would have been out of my comfort zone to go by myself.

  2. Nice Score!
    I've been stockpiling in $50 increments(here you only need to spend $50 BEFORE coupons are applied)to earn a $2 savings(take a survey and spend $40)and earn 10 gas points(for spending at least $50). 50 of the gas points are earning me a free protein for T'giving and the rest I can use toward a 5% discount on my grocery orders(in 10 pt. increments).
    It's more important than ever to "work whichever system you have" at your stores! ;-)

    1. Hi Slugmama,

      It's great to hear from you. What a great deal you have! We get 10 gas points for every coupon we use up to 10 a day.

      I hope you have fun working your deal. I am hoping to do mine it a few times. So many people were telling me so many different things about the use of coupons that I just called the Top's customer service line and found out that the $50. is before coupons since coupons are a form of payment. WooHoo!

  3. Sounds like a fun day! Those magnum bars are so yummy!

  4. If I lived close to you, I would of loved to go with you. Good for you to step out and go 👍

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      Thank you so much. I would have enjoyed the pleasure of your company.

  5. Well that sounds like a very worthwhile and fun outing. I am so glad you had a good time and got all those wonderful coupons too. :)