Sorrentos, Giulianos or Bay Cities for fresh ricotta and groceries?
I live in the south bay (hermosa beach) and have been doing a bit of chowhound research trying to find the best italian market in the area for groceries (mainly ricotta since I need some for my easter dinner / sopranos season premiere dinner) . I would prefer not to drive to far but from what I can find the only ones around here are Sorrentos, Giulianos and then Bay Cities (a bit farthur than I would like). Which one of these do you recommend for some good fresh ricotta and other groceries? Will the closer two (sorrentos and Giulianos) do? Not too concerned with bakery items and sandwhiches ... but more the homemade pasta, cheeses, meats etc.
On another note, I usually go to the torrance farmers market. has anybody seem the cheese stand there carry fresh ricotta?
Thanks and sorry if this has been covered a gazillion times!
I have never been to Giulianos. Used to go to Sorrentos a lot but got really tired of the service...or lack there of. Service can be slow and they usually get something wrong. We always end up going to Bay Cities and love it except for the long lines but we found the trick you can fax in your order. We have never had a single problem with staff or products at Bay Cities.
re: Burger Boy
I stopped going to Sorrento's years ago. Their stock does not turn over as fast as Bay Cities, and there is sometimes a problem with freshness.
Bay Cities has really good fresh ricotta. I believe it is whole milk, if that matters to you. The only packaged brand I will buy is Sierra - nothing else is as good, in my opinion (part skim). Fresh is available at the cheese counter in the back (not a long wait, usually) - they will scoop it out for you. Sierra is available, in various sizes, in the refrigerated section adjacent to cheese counter.
I believe Giulianos carries Calabro ricotta -- if you search the board, you'll find some raves for it. Here's a blurb from the SF Chronicle: "Most domestic ricotta is bland and watery, used as a innocuous filler for lasagnas. But Calabro, a 43-year-old Connecticut company, makes a specialty ricotta that tastes like what you find in Italy, with so much buttery flavor and such a wonderfully light, fluffy texture that you can eat it straight. Calabro's old-fashioned hand-dipped whole milk ricotta comes piled into a cute metal pail that has holes for moisture to drain out."
I think Sorrento's would make a great set for a movie as it is packed with all sorts of foods and ingredients from Italy and beyond - much like how I would picture a Mom&Pop Italian deli, but as other posters have mentioned one can have issues with their rotation and service.
I've gotten canolis there that they said were fresh, but didn't live up to this claim upon tasting them. The sandwiches can be good, sometimes very good, but not great, and I think they have become a victim of their own excessive inventory. It's fun to see all the stuff in there but sometimes I wonder if it's all for decoration.
I can comment on Giuliano's as I haven't been to one since I stopped working in the South Bay. I've found their inventory can be very sparse at times. And their deli menu is respectable, but I haven't eaten there in years...
Bay Cities has the feel of a relatively conventional market but it's all Italian and Mediterranean goods and they have a great service deli as well. So much business flows through these doors it's hard to imagine that anything sits for too long. And I've found that if you go early ,that seems to be when the older folks from the old country shop there - they're always good for some great tips on food as well as life...