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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.