Jon's supermarket in little Armenia
The deli counter of this place (on Santa Monica, somewhere near Western) has all sorts of interesting looking meats, sausages, and cheeses. What's worth trying?
i've been shopping at Jon's in hollywood for years..the one on fountain and la brea. still, same type of deli counter. they will give you samples of pretty much anything. plus their produce is super cheap.
Jons deli - the center of my shopping universe! They carry a lot of Eureka Meats products which are largely Eastern European and locally made. If you are a deli ham addict do NOT miss the Kruse Pitt ham.
Good selection of bulk olives there.
The baguettes from the French bakery are very good. The kind that you have to eat the day you buy them or they dry out. Once they've dried out they make excellent bread crumbs, though.
Good selection of Eastern European beers for cheap.
I tried buying from their deli counter during the grocery store strikes. I was kind of excited since they carried more Italian deli meats than a lot of places. Generally I felt grossed out both times (and I don't gross out easy with food). The guy at the counter would print out the price sticker and then stick it on his arm while he finished up. This left some arm hair on the sticker. Not my favorite thing to see when I make a sammich. Also the meat was kind of funny/watery.
I still go there for other stuff. Without question they are one of the best places for inexpensive bottled pomegranate, apricot, and peach juices . For some reason they are REALLY cheap there. Oh and sheep parts. They have a lot of sheep parts in the meat section.
Well, my stores deli has mostly helpful and attractive young ladies who do NOT stick the packages under their arms. You'll probably have to find another branch since Jons (and most retail) management is clueless and schitzoid.
My pet peeve is that products in the (Hawthorne) store are not always marked AND THE EMPLOYEES CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!! Something about 'first shifts job'. Sheesh.
Yes, some of the deli meats are not always great. Currently their 'black forest' ham brand has a bad/industrial kind of taste. My stores demographic lacks Eastern Europeans which may explain why the beer selection is skewed toward Bud Light :-(.
The meat department at the La Brea/Fountain store stinks! I wouldn't buy fresh meat there....it hardly smells fresh. But those baguettes..yummy! You have to get there at just the right time because they go so fast. And no fresh baguettes on Sunday. Also, super cheap pita and other Russian/Armenian breads. I agree with Das Ubergeek on the fetas..yummy with some olives and that fresh baguette.
Actually, for some years the Vermont and Hollywood branch was my nearest supermarket, and although I loved it in general, I stayed far from the meats. Every time I looked, the due date was the same date I was shopping! I would, however, run through the meat section for the deliciously horrifying thrill of seeing things like sheep head or beef lips. Eeeee!!
If they have a ham marked "Tambov" or "garlic ham" try it. It's an amazingly pungent (in a good way) ham...Russian I believe...but I haven't seen it lately at the Jon's markets in the SFV or Simi Valley, but they may still have it at the Santa Monica branch. I've seen another ham called "Tambovsky" at other chains (a round ham with a layer of fat around it), but this is different; it's a flattened half-moon shaped, fat-streaked ham, but with no exterior fat ring. The smell is the best clue - very potent, garlicky fragrance. If they have it, get it sliced thinly, but get only as much as you can eat within a couple of days, as the flavor seems to go off after that.
Their slab bacon is also quite good. I used it in my rouladen filling last year and the flavor was spot on. The Pitt ham is also quite good, and there's a Romanian smoked ham that's also excellent (far better than the chemical-tasting black forest ham they sell). They also sell a cooked ham labelled "prosciutto cotto" , which has a very nice herbal fragrance.
Great place for ham.
I love Jon's and have reco'd it again and again on this board. I love the Hungarian Square Salami in the Deli, great deals on cheeses, have a very good French Feta for $3.99/lb which is fabulous...they also make really good chicken salad and tuna salad at the location on Sepulveda in Van Nuys.
Their produce deals are terrific and the quality is decent.
Here are some other things I buy that are good deals:
Sadaf Pomegranate Juice
1 lb Challenge Butter-Unsalted $1.79
1 lb Package of Lox that tastes similar to Nova...very good $8.99
6/$1 Bollilo (sp?) rolls in the bakery
Excellent Caldo de Res Soup...off the steam trays
Marinated chicken legs with an Adobo rub at the meat counter
Good buys on med-large shrimp
Please enlighten us about why the square salami is so good, other than the unusual shape (heh).
To add to the list of shopworthy items:
Bottled carrot+fruit juices (brand begins with S)
Zergut hot ajvar (non-spicy, tasty, lo-cal eggplant+pepper spread)
Bottled grape leaves
Aged/dried Mexican style longaniza (hanging in deli, Not in meat dept)
The bulk Armenian coffee beans by the pound in the deli. You can buy the beans whole or they'll grind them for you. $2.99-$3.99 a pound. The dark roast is so dark and strong, that they always ask if you want it mixed half and half with the lighter roast.