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Where do you do your grocery shopping in the DC area?

Just curious where people are going for the chowhound style of home cooking.

I'm doing a lot of Whole Paycheck combined with the Harris Teeter on Glebe road until they open the one across the street from me in Adams Morgan.

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  1. We do most of our shopping at Eastern Market with some staples from Giant. Occasionaly we will visit the Dupont Farmers Market if we don't have any conflicting plans on Sunday.

    1. I do most of my day-to-day shopping at Harris Teeter, but I'll go to Safeway in a pinch. And I augmented by some specialty items from Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

      Harris Teeter's produce, meat, and fish departments are ok, but I like the dry-aged steaks, the organic produce, the rustic bread, the cheese and the olives from Whole Foods. I only to to TJ's a couple times a year.

      1. Grocery Shopping in DC can be tough Trader Joes can be good for some staples. But there are a bunch of Farmers Markets in the area. People sometimes say that they can be expensive but the prices are comprable to Whole Foods and you are buying from the farmers. Of course if you can venture out to VA to go to Wegman's that is always special.

        1. For normal groceries, we mostly buy at the local Giant, the nearby Wegmans, and Costco for some nonperishable items and sometimes meat and wine. Specialty items like nuts and wine at Trader Joes. Fresh vegetables and fruits, and fish at Grand Mart or Super H or H Mart. Sometimes for Chinese groceries we go to Kam Sen or Great Wall.

          3 Replies
            1. re: bensherman

              There are two Kam Sam's (note the correct spelling). One in Rockville, MD and the other in Annandale, VA. Google "Kam Sam" for the addresses.

            2. re: dpan

              Grandmart has excellent meat and veggies, better than super H I think. I didn't appreciate it's quality until I bought some meat from Shoppers and had it go bad in three days.

            3. The Disneyland of grocery stores - Wegmans when I'm in Northern Virginia. Can't wait until they open Wegmans in
              the Potomac Mills area, probably 2008. Then it will be only a 28 mile drive instead of 50 miles!

              10 Replies
              1. re: Vera

                I've only gone to Wegman's once or twice. I wasn't particularly taken with the place. (Though I do remember being pretty stunned when I discovered they devoted two whole aisles to dog food.) Can you enlighten me on why you think Wegman's is worth a 50 mile drive?

                1. re: davefaris

                  Did you pass by the bakery/chocolate/meat/deli aisle? Did you notice the produce? Did you stop at the sushi bar, where there are generally 4-5 people constantly turning out the stuff? The cheese dept? The olive bar? The prepared foods? The pizza oven? The dry-aged beef?

                  Actually, everything you mentioned above that you like about Whole Paycheck, Wegmans has better and cheaper. And real groceries too. And really good quality store brand products in just about every category.

                  1. re: johnb

                    No. I did see all those things, but I also probably went during a peak time, so I couldn't get very close to any of them. Although it's in no way convenient to shop there for me, maybe I'll give it another shot.

                    1. re: davefaris

                      Now I understand your reaction. Wegmans during peak times is like all the things they say about Filenes's Basement. Weekend daytimes are BAD. It's better to wait until an off hour if you can. I guess it'll stay that way until they get more stores open, or maybe it will then get worse!

                      1. re: johnb

                        Which Wegman's did you go to? I've only been to the Sterling location once, right after it opened, and it was a zoo. Now, I live and work close to the Fairfax location. I usually stop by early in the morning on the way to work to pick up something, or on the way home after work, and never had to wait more than a minute or two to get through the cashier, and there's always plenty of parking. I think the Fairfax Wegmans is probably better in terms of crowds.

                        1. re: dpan

                          I've been to all three local "original" Wegmans (ie including Hunt Valley) and several elsewhere such as Dewitt (Syracuse), Woodbridge (outside NYC in NJ), and Wilkes-Barre. The DC area stores have had by far the largest crowds I've seen, but I probably wasn't at the others at peak times (Woodbridge was practically empty the time I was there).

                          Overall I prefer Sterling, but can't quite put my finger on why I like it better than Fairfax. Maybe I just like simple surface parking and spread-out spaces--Sterling seems more commodious. Also Fairfax is a flip-flop of Sterling's layout, and Sterling is what I originally got used to. But probably that's just me.

                          AFAIK the real peaks at Wegmans are on weekends; I'd guess that if you go before and after work on weekdays the crowds would be less, which would make it a more satisfactory experience.

                          But even if you have to go on weekends, it's worth an occasional drive out there to stock up.

                          1. re: johnb

                            Initially I hated Wegman's but soon I learned to appreciate it. Definitely a big-time avoid on weekends. Even when its crowded, they get people checked out quickly with seemingly dozens of lanes open at ones, but it is just impossible to navigate the store and everyone is seemingly meandering about with their heads up their a$$e$. Even at peak times I've never had a problem finding a spot there, I don't really take issue with walking a few hundred feet from a "far" away spot to the store so I don't really look for prime real estate.

                            The main benefits of Wegman's for me: 1) I am able to get all of my staples which I used to have to go to Safeway, Whole Foods, and TJ for. An occasional trip to TJ is still required. This saves me time, which is most valuable to me. 2) I no longer have to pay whole foods prices for high quality meats, produce, cheese, etc, which is quite valuable to me. and 3) it can be made to be on my way home from work once a week if I modify my route a bit.

                            But then again if I had to drive 50 miles for anything higher end, I would just make do with Safeway.

                            1. re: Franklun

                              Actually, the new Safeways, mostly out in the burbs, aren't so bad. Big, clean, and well stocked. But if budget is a concern you have to stick to the sale items.

                2. re: Vera

                  I live much closer to Wegman's but I still don't go. It's way too big. The first time I went, I had a headache before I was halfway through the store. I felt like I traversed the store a hundred times. They have everything I want but it's a scavenger hunt! Super Walmart meets Whole Foods.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Wegmans is an experience where if people have the time, they can lollygag all day there. People from Upstate NY love it b/c there's nothing else to do in Upstate NY. Unfortunately for a lot of people in this area, the efficient use of time is critical, so even though you can blaze through a Wegmans line fast, you still don't want to deal with something of this enormity.

                3. One of my biggest complaints about the NoVA area is the food shopping--chains and more chains. The farmers markets are okay but not great. I wouldn't have thought twice but have just moved back here from the Bay Area in California where there are small independent stores that stocked local organic produce; humanely certified, organic meats from local farms. I shop from a variety of chains: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Costco, Shoppers (which has the most diverse food of any store), Safeway/Giant when I need to pick up one or two things, Great Wall (or my MIL's two huge freezers...).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    On a trip out to California a few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in Monterey for the weekly farmer's market. ** Wow. ** Makes anything we have around here look pitifully anemic. I understand your pain.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Oh man I can totally empathize with the inadequacy of DC's grocery culture. I felt like I was in another world when I visited my cousin in Newport Beach. Organic and local is the standard over there.

                    2. Surprisingly, Wegmans prices are very reasonable and sometimes cheaper than most area chain stores. They make real bagels with their vat of boiling water and then baking. Getting bakery products while they are still warm is great. The meat display is wonderful, the variety of products is phenomenal compared to other local chains. To me it's a destination grocery store but because of the distance (50 miles) I can't shop there as often as I would like to. As far as Virginia grocery stores, Wegmans rises to the top, IMHO. Another grocery store that's
                      only 18 miles away from me and I think it's worth the drive in my area is Ukrops. Family owned out of Richmond. Very nice store too but they don't have some of the amenities that Wegmans has. Anyone out there, if you've never been to Wegmans but were thinking about it, give it a try - what fun.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Vera

                        Where is Ukrops? I'm not familiar with that one.

                        1. re: johnb

                          The closest Ukrops to Northern Virginia is Fredericksburg, with other stores in Williamsburg, Ashland but most in Richmond. Ukrops is very popular with Richmond residents.
                          Very well run. I believe Ukrops was voted in the top five
                          business to work for in Virginia at one point. The employees also cart your groceries out to you car and won't accept any tipping. They always have service with a smile. They are not open on Sundays so their employees can spend time with their families. Very family oriented which is sometimes hard to find in the corporate world.

                        2. re: Vera

                          Ukrops is a nice store. Unfortunatley I think the closest one for DC-area residents is in Fredericksburg.

                        3. Whole Foods for most. Balducci's for some. Giant if I must. Yuck.

                          1. On a related note, has anyone been to/formed an opinion on, any of the new Blooms stores (Food Lion's upscale brand). How do they compare to, say, Harris Teeter?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: johnb

                              I have not been to Harris Teeeter- but was very disappointed in the Bloom store- they had no club soda, very slow check out - it was nothing special at all.

                            2. Impossible to relate to driving 18, 50 miles to buy groceries. I gas my car about once a month because I can walk to Eastern Market to buy fresh produce, organic or not, from local farmers, organic poultry, prime beef, superbly fresh seafood, wild game, flowers and potted herbs. The cheese monger sells milk and butter from Lewes Dairy and cream so thick it barely pours; he lets you taste the cheeses before you buy. Fresh pasta and sausages. The bakery products are tops and they will slice your bread to order. Murky Coffee roasts their own beans. "Yes! Natural Foods" sells bulk spices, teas, produce, meats and other products including organic frozen foods.
                              A short drive to Litteri's for Italian specialties. Quick trips to the neighborhood Safeway for paper goods and cleaning supplies. Schneider's Liquor store has some of the areas best prices and an incredible selection of top wines many of which they import themselves. The H Street Farmer's market is the younger sibling of the Dupont Circle Farmers' market - founded by the same organization. The large DC Farmers Market at RFK has rules limiting the vendors to mostly what they grow themselves. For large parties, I often go to the Florida Avenue wholesale market where many vendors will sell retail if you are willing to buy in the standard quanity volume. Lots of Asian merchants are easy to deal with.
                              Capital Hill is looking forward to the opening of Harris Teeter which will expand our options even more. About the furthest I venture is the fabulous Cowgirl Creamery in Penn Quarter or a very occasional trip to the Pentagon City Costco. With what I have at my doorstep, Whole Foods is a serious chain-store overpriced disappointment.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: MakingSense

                                What kind of prices are you paying for your prime meat?

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  I shop at Whole Foods but I totally agree w/ you on it. And, it's terrible at the locations I go but the sad part is, it's the best place we have near me!

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    Ah, the joys of urban living. I wish I lived within walking distance from the places I love to shop.

                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                      You seem to have solved most of your food shopping problems. However, I'd be careful at Litteri's--their stock turns slowly and sometimes things get old.

                                      I can't stand the Costco at Pentagon City. Anybody who doesn't like the crowds at Wegmans will melt down at that Costco. It once took me a half hour, literally, to get out of the parking lot. Never again.

                                      Harris Teeter will be a nice addition to the mix.

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        Making Sense - You misunderstood me. I go to Wegmans when I'm in Northern Virginia - I don't make a separate trip just to go there. Where I live, there are no grocery stores for ten miles. So if I head into Fredericksburg, Ukrops is a great little chain. If I'm in NoVa for other reasons, I always swing
                                        by Fairfax Wegmans because it's close to the Fairfax County Parkway which I take to Rt 123, then I-95. I have to travel
                                        for everything in Stafford because I live at the end of a long
                                        road. But I'm on vacation everyday because the Potomac River is
                                        my backyard and I watch the swans, heron and eagles enjoy the
                                        area too. I guess it's a tradeoff that is worth it to me.

                                      2. The new Harris Teeter in Alexandria on Duke Street in the Foxchase Shopping Center is beautiful. They have a great deli, nice hot bar, bakery is top knotch and an incredible wine department. I grew up in NC where the HT chain is based. But, I can't stand the Pentagon Row area so I have been missing my HT fixes. NOw this new one is within 5 minutes of my house and I am in heaven. Goodbye Safeway and Giant!

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: DC Gal

                                          I'm curious what you dislike about the Pentagon Row HT?

                                          1. re: davefaris

                                            I'd venture to guess the parking situation.

                                            1. re: Chownut

                                              If I've ever had problem with the surface parking, I park in the underground garage. They'll validate your parking at the front desk, or near the self-checkout.

                                              1. re: davefaris

                                                I've tried that before and it's not too bad in the underground parking lot during offpeak hours, but it can be a madhouse with all the new restaurants and shops they have there. I went to Costco during the holidays once and it took me about 30 minutes to find a parking spot, and then 30 minutes to find a shopping cart. PC is like Tysons...not somewhere you want to be during the holidays.

                                                1. re: Chownut

                                                  I guess I see that as an issue with suburban living, not the store itself. That'd be like blaming Harris Teeter for the traffic backups on the Beltway.

                                                  1. re: davefaris

                                                    Oh yeah. Harris Teeter seems to be a great supermarket. It was not a small sacrifice for them to build an underground parking lot for their customers. Do you though, see the difference between what they offer and what Whole Foods over in Clarendon offers? What about Balducci's over in Mt. Vernon?

                                                    1. re: Chownut

                                                      Whole Foods in Clarendon and Balducci's have even worse parking than Harris Teeter. And going to either place (or any place, for that matter) on the weekend or other peak hours is just a nightmare.

                                                      But maybe we should just wait for DC Gal to confirm that her issues with the Harris Teeters in Pentagon Row really has anything to do with the parking lot instead of something more substantive, instead of continuing with this derail based on your assumptions.

                                                      1. re: davefaris

                                                        Sure, but my question was whether you see a big difference between the yuppie offerings from Whole Foods vs. Balducci's vs. Harris Teeter?

                                                        1. re: Chownut

                                                          Well, I'd like to think I'm shopping at Whole Foods for reasons other than yuppie gratification, but I could be fooling myself. The items I buy at Whole Foods, yes, I do notice a difference.

                                                          I think the strip steaks are a thicker cut at Whole Foods, and I like that. I don't think Harris Teeter can afford to offer anything that's dry aged. I've also not seen free-range turkeys offered at Harris Teeter, but they usually have one or two fresh free-range turkeys at the Whole Foods in Clarendon, and when I've tried them, I thought the flavor of those were better than the standard supermarket birds. I also like the slab bacon I can buy at Whole Foods better than any of the packaged variety that Harris Teeter offers. (I buy bacon so infrequently now, that when I do, I figure I might as well splurge.)

                                                          I find that Whole Foods seems to get some varieties of produce a few weeks before Harris Teeter does. A recent example I can cite was Honeycrisp apples. Whole Foods carried them (organic and conventional) about 3 weeks before they started showing up at Harris Teeter, and when they did show up there, they only came in the conventional form.

                                                          I've also found that the quality of some of the produce at Whole Foods is just noticably better. I make a recipe that calls for chopped fennel bulbs. The fennel I buy at Whole Foods had a much stronger (better) flavor than the ones I could buy at Harris Teeter.

                                                          As I wrote way up top, I shop at Harris Teeter for about 95% of my groceries, but there are a few special luxuries that I get at Whole Foods. (Oh, and I don't go to Balducci's at all any more. When it was Sutton Place, and a little more convenient to where I lived, I tended to stop there sometimes for produce and specialty chocolates, etc., but it was always a luxury. Their prices were always way more than I thought was reasonable.)

                                                          1. re: davefaris

                                                            is it true that "free range" only means that the chickens at some point have access to the outside, but the "outside" may be a tiny, barren plot? I am just trying to keep up with the newish labelling here but from what I have heard "free range" doesn't necessarily mean the chickens actually roam or graze any more than one raised in a confinement barn. i'm sure whole foods looks into and verifies sources though so I would not be surprised if their chickens have a somewhat more open existence.

                                                            I agree that the primary benefit Whole Foods offers is for special items. I make regular trips to whole foods to buy fresh buffalo, which is of better quality than is available at wegmans, and while I'm there I usually pick up some particularly good looking produce, whatever berries are on sale, some bottled water (their generic brand is good and well-priced), etc.

                                                            Oh, and the other thing is the Whole Foods salad bar. A bit pricey but it makes for a really excellent salad lunch.

                                                            1. re: Lowbar

                                                              Yes, but you can look for humanely certified meat if you want. There are a few different organizations that certify. Humanely Certified is one that's pretty rigid. I've actually found certified humane chicken at Shoppers, cheaper than TJs, even.

                                          2. re: DC Gal

                                            Well, I tried the new Harris Teeter on Duke Street this morning, in spite of the dreaded weekend crowd effect with any supermarket. It seems to be the largest one I've been to in the area ... (though I can only compare it to the Pentagon Row and Glebe Road stores), and I agree, this one has a few amenities I noticed that the other ones lack. The things that I noticed first off were the pasta bar and the asian food buffet (which was how it was labelled, though it was stocked with breakfast fare). Also, the butcher counter and seafood area seemed to be better manned. (I sometimes feel like I'm disturbing the guys behind the counters at Pentagon Row.)

                                            I stuck mainly to the outer ring this morning, but my wife ventured down the aisles, and she said she thought this store had more variety than the one on Pentagon Row. I did notice that they had a whole half an aisle devoted to cookware and kitchen gadgets, though I didn't take the time to check to see if the prices were any good.

                                            They had everything I was looking for, add to that the $5 off a purchase of $20+ that they've been mailing to me every week for the last few weeks. It's hard to find any fault with them. The store on Duke Street is maybe a little bit closer to me than the one in Pentagon Row, but it's more out of my way. Nevertheless, I think I will try doing a weekly shopping trip there some weekday morning soon.

                                            (Sidenote: I noticed the funky lazy susan style checkout areas (as opposed to the more conventional conveyor belts), and I asked the clerks if they liked it better than the old way. I got an immediate response... "No." When one person is bagging, the new configuration offers no place to pile up the items already bagged. I think they need to work a little on the workflow of that system.)

                                          3. We still like Rodmans for interesting, chowish food. It's no longer the sole source of affordable 'gourmet' ingredients, but it still has some great stuff.

                                            Also, Glut co-op in Mount Rainier stocks some wonderful produce and bulk items (including great cornmeal for polenta).


                                            NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Nosher

                                              Glut co-op is another new one for me. What does "Glut" refer to?

                                              1. re: johnb

                                                I believe it's just a reference to plenty and abundance.


                                                NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                                            2. For most things I go to Whole Foods in Silver Spring. I went to the Tenley WF the other day, as I was nearby, but never again! I know they're remodeling, but the parking is a pain, the veggies are all over, the aisles are super narrow ... nope, not gonna.

                                              I also go to Giant, occasionally Safeway, for paper goods and a few odds 'n ends. My Giant has some more ethnic things than WF, or at least different ones, and that comes in handy. It's closer, too.

                                              I now work just a couple of minutes from Balducci's in Bethesda, so I've just had to stop there at least once a week lol. It's expensive, but I love their selection and some things there are just better.

                                              I also make an occasional trip to Trader Joe's, usually for a peanut butter pretzel fix or roasted red pepper-artichoke spread or something, and to the Amish market (yea, I know that's not the real name) in Burtonsville. I happened to have some time today and found that it's SO much better to go on days other than Saturday--logical, I know ... I just hadn't been able to before. :)

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                IIRC it's called the "Dutch Farmer's Market", and there also a slightly smaller one in Gaithersburg (Germantown??). Good you mentioned it--it's a great spot for some things, but very down home--the opposite of yuppified. They carry good creams and similar dairy products, bulk stuff of all desriptions, meats you don't see most other places (e.g. rabbits), etc. etc. Worth an occasional trip. Run by real Mennonites who I think drive down from Pennsylvania. VERY crowded on Saturdays. Limited hours, and open only Th, Fri, and Sat. The fried chicken wing stall is extremely popular.

                                                If you like really good Cuban food, Cuba de Ayer is a few hundred yards down the road.

                                                1. re: johnb

                                                  It is very down home, I agree (though you wouldn't nec. know that from the Web site): http://www.burtonsvilledutchmarket.com/

                                                  I'll have to check out Cuba de Ayer. :)

                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                    They've got very good jerky, although pricey.

                                                  2. re: johnb

                                                    That sounds like a great place (the market). Do you think it's worth driving from NoVa or just stop by when/if I get to that area?

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      Hard to opine on that--depends on you. Either way, I'd be sure to check the open hours before I try, since they are so limited (the link above has them).

                                                      The one in Germantown is called Lancaster County Farmers Market and may be more convemient for you---it is pretty much the same tho smaller.

                                                      The best restaurant near that one is a Chinese place called Peking Palace which has a lot of Hunan dishes as well as home style dishes. JamesG found it first, along with some of his Chinese buddies, and posted here maybe two years ago. I've been once and thought it was pretty good, but I was alone so couldn't sample much.

                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                        Thanks! I'll keep it in mind when I get up that way (but it'll be hard enough to get there with all the places I want to try there!). Maybe I can make a day of it.

                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          I wouldn't make a special trip for it, but if you're nearby it's worth checking out.

                                                2. Trader's Joes. Is there any other?

                                                  1. I live in DC and work in Bethesda so... Harris Teeter in Pentagon Row for staples. Banducci's or Litteri's for some specialty items (although I order condiment olive oils online from O&Co or get them from the store in NYC), Dutch Country Market in Burtonsville, MD for Amish dairy and butcher, Han Ah Rheum on Georgia Av for fishmonger and Asian vegetables. Makes for some long but pleasant drives on weekends.

                                                    1. Has anyone visited the El Grande supermarket in Alexandria yet? Driving along the beltway, I saw banners and flags announcing a grand opening. The Latinos in this area probably decided that they're better off shopping at a market that caters directly to them as opposed to something like Grand Mart. Most ethnic groups in this area have their own market now.

                                                      1. Went to El Grande today and was pleasently surprised. I usually go to Super H but El Grande on Backlick is a lot closer. It has the variety and fresh produce to rival Super H. I has a superior meet section (wider range of fresh poultry, different cuts of beef, pork and also fresh charizo). I picked up a whole brisket for $21 (a bargain in my mind). It also has a greater variety of non korean stuff (e.g., hispanic food stuff).

                                                        1. I like to go to the latin markets in columbia heights/mount pleasant area. They are a lot cheaper than Giant/safeway and their produce is better IMO

                                                          1. I live in downtown DC and used to go out to Harris Teeters at Pentagon Row, and TJ's in Old Town. Since the TJ's opened in Foggy Bottom, I've done just about all of my shopping there, with a twice-yearly trip to Costco for paper products, detergents, etc. The Foggy Bottom TJ's has much better produce than any other I've seen (I also am a big farmers' market shopper -- Dupont Circle on Sundays -- during the season). The fresh meats also are good, as well as some of the frozen stuff -- uncooked shrimp, rack of lamb, boneless chicken breasts, etc.. For many years, I only shopped at TJ's for speciality and specific stuff, but it really has expanded to carry practically everything I need/want. And the Foggy Bottom store doesn't seem to have the chronic "we're out of it" problem I experienced at Old Town. I also hit Whole Foods on rare occasion, but have gotten very turned off by their high prices...the very same produce often is available at TJ's for much less.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: TopChefwannabe

                                                              I'm a big farmers' market shopper too. You might enjoy the flexibility of the other markets run by the same people who operate the Dupont Circle Market. They're in Penn Quarter on Thursdays, H Street on Saturday, and Foggy Bottom on Wednesdays. http://www.freshfarmmarket.org/market... They have some other ones as well. There's a good organic farmer at Eastern Market. The big market at RFK can be really good.
                                                              Yes! Natural Foods at Eastern Market has an excellent bulk foods section, including herbs and spices and grains.

                                                            2. My absolute favorite place to buy groceries is Grand Mart on Rte 50 at 7 Corners (there is another one across from Landmark Mall), and Foodway in New Carrollton. they both are international markets with a fascinating selection


                                                              they have the *best* produce and it's **soooo** cheap! Unbelievable. I NEVER go to Giant, Teeters or Safeway, or even Shopper's anymore. Egh. The food at these Int'l markets is so much better.

                                                              I do make a Costco run every once in a while when I need TP and kitty litter.

                                                              1. A mix of Whole Foods on P Street, TJs in the West End (which is ridiculously busy on the weekends, the line to checkout begins where you walk in the door), Safeway on 17th St. for paper products and some other basics, and then out to Costco in Pentagon City for certain frozen goods. Looking forward to the Teeter in Adams Morgan..
                                                                I'm jealous of the Capital Hill people who live next to Eastern Market!

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: sixfive

                                                                  You'll be even more jealous of Capital Hill when our Harris Teeter open in a few months, seven blocks from Eastern Market.
                                                                  We also just got home delivery of milk, eggs, yogurt, etc. from a small dairy. Hormone-free, no growth homones. They also offer pastured beef, pork, chickens from neighboring farms. Fast becoming a Food Paradise.
                                                                  A group is trying to open a food coop on H Street, NE. Who knows if they'll succeed.

                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                    Who do you use for the dairy home delivery? I'd love to find something like that. Plus, getting an aggregate of our meat would make it so much easier.

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      They just started at the end of January on Capital Hill. I think they deliver in one neighborhood in NW DC too. What a service! http://southmountaincreamery.com/
                                                                      We have so many young families with children on the Hill and some of them arranged it. I haven't used them yet but can't wait. I have been buying cream and butter from Lewes Dairy at the cheesemonger at Eastern Market for years. I'll see how this compares.

                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                        Thanks--I'll check them out and see if they deliver to my area. I'm really excited about this!

                                                                2. I live in Rosslyn and basically go among three markets, Giant at Virginia Square for sales items, Harris-Teeter at Glebe Road for take-out stuff, and TJ's in Foggy Bottom for the stuff that TJ's sells. I know this is crazy but they seem to have the best bananas. The line on weekend afternoons is indeed long but they are organized enough that it only takes about ten minutes to get to the cashier.

                                                                  1. For regular grocery shopping: the Harris-Teeter in Stone Ridge (my brother Orson W. who lives in NYC was very impressed)
                                                                    For bulk items: Costco in Chantilly, BJs in Fair Lakes
                                                                    For quick stops on the way home: Shoppers in Chantilly, Giant in Greenbriar, and now Whole Foods in Fair Lakes (really a beautiful store)
                                                                    For occasional produce: GrandMart in Centreville (for example, when we needed some parsnips recently) and in season, farmers markets in Middleburg, Leesburg (open year round now), and Cascades
                                                                    For various oddball stuff: TJ's in Centreville
                                                                    For running in for one item and coming out $100 poorer: Wegmans in Sterling, uh I mean in "Dulles"

                                                                    And of course, for the best peaches on earth, the Moutoux Orchard stand at Potomac Vegetable Farms!

                                                                    1. Would recommend the International markets in the DC metro area. If you want fresh seafood, don't go local national chains. overpriced and quality is questionable.

                                                                      However, some of the stores are hit and miss. Super H usually has a great selection and prices in the Asian department. Grand Mart is so so. Bestway usually is good in price and quality.

                                                                      1. If I had only one source, it would be Wegman's hands down. No one else combines their quality, value and selection. I believe the Food Network selected the top three national supermarkets as Wegmans, TJ, and Whole Foods, in that order. They are right.

                                                                        The ideal:
                                                                        (1) This time of year, farms or farmers' markets for produce.
                                                                        (2) Whole Foods or Wegmans for produce not available at farmers' markets.
                                                                        (3) Wegman's for everything else, except maybe their seafood, which is overpriced, though selection is excellent. (BTW, gotta love the posters who say Wegman's is too large - I guess they don't like a wide selection of high quality goods and would feel more at home in a soviet store where they don't have to make such big decisions.)
                                                                        (4) TJ's for seafood, pepared foods, coffee, olive oil, cheese. desserts, nuts, specialty items.
                                                                        (5) MacGruders for bargains, such as their roasted chicken.
                                                                        (6) Ethnic markets for special items and the new spice place on Rockville Pike for spices.

                                                                        The reality:
                                                                        I live 35 miles from Wegmans (thanks MC pols) and 10 miles+ from the others listed above. God-awful Giant, Safeway, and SFW are all within a mile, so unless I am in the areas of the good places, I often wind up buying what looks good and cheap at those three dumps. By using all three, (which are actually all within walking distance of each other), I buy only items that look fresh and are weekly specials or at least very reasonably priced. About all I can say good about their standard priced items is that the Giant near me has decent seafood, SFW has good cheap house brand paper goods and baking supplies, and all have meat that is usually edible.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: foodcheck

                                                                          Don't think Food Network would have selected those as ""top three national chains," unless it was just for ones that some people like.
                                                                          Wegmans is in only 5 states, WF has fewer than 190 US stores while Safeway has close to 1800, and TJ has fewer than 300 stores serving only 22 states.

                                                                        2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned My Organic Market (M.O.M.). We get virtually everything there, save for eggs, beef, chicken and dairy (all of which we get from a farm in the area). Also use the local farmer's market (for us, College Park).
                                                                          I love that it is a locally owned store (now a mini-chain, with multiple locations). Great customer service, including that they carry all bags to the car for you (and no tips allowed).

                                                                          1. Mostly the Ft Belvoir commissary.... : ) Groceries are too expensive these days to not take advantage of this unique military benefit.
                                                                            I like Whole Foods for certain things and will make a special trip there; also like TJs for other things. i will try the Wegman's in Woodbridge when they open it.

                                                                            1. Whole Foods for the most part. I also like trader joe's, but I am going to skip there body stuff (most things have parabens). I would also suggest MOM's, but it really lacks a lot of stuff. Whole Foods is my number one go to every week. Also, there is a small farmer's market in Del Ray that is open on saturdays. It features a mushroom vendor, french bakery goods, and several great fruits/veg stands. Also, on Mount Vernon there is a cheese and now a butcher shop. But this year I am doing CSA (community sponsored agriculture) for 20 weeks this summer/fall through Bull Run Farms. I would really recommend CSA's to everyone! You know exactly where your produce and other items come from- and it's local and sustainable.