ahhhh. how i love chowhound!
so i had to leave this follow-up post after i rec'd such great help from fellow LA hounders.
how's market is the place for me! i visited their granada hills location on saturday afternoon and was told that starting next wednesday, how's markets will be selling prime rib roasts for $7.99 per lb (compared to their $11.99 regular price). BUT, if you purchase $25 worth of groceries the day you purchase your roast, they'll drop the price for the prime rib roast down to $5.99 per lb. i asked if i should reserve a roast. the butcher replied that they should have PLENTY on hand all the way through christmas.
so there you have it folks! thanks to all of you my extended family will be enjoying a wonderful prime rib roast come christmas day.