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Favorite Foodie Stores

Other than WHole Foods and Balduccis---what little places do you like to shop?

DH and I likethe Russian Gormet in McLean and there is a German store off Lee Hwy that I like to got o sometimes. We are trying to create a list of places to hit when he takes vacation in August. We don't go anywhere--we stay home, cook, and turn into gluttons.

SO far we are going to hit Penzey's and the new Russian gormet in Alexandria.

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  1. While its so expensive I really like going to Dean and Deluca. Especially for spices.

    And in terms of non-food, cooking items...I wish I could have a shopping spree in Sur La Table! Love that place!!!!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      I forgot mention I used to work at D&D! Love Sur La Table.

      1. re: nissenpa

        I love the idea of SLT, but I rarely buy anything there for some reason. W-S gets a lot more business from me.

        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

          SLT is having their semi-annual sale going on right now. This is a great time to go shop there! I was just there last wkd, need more self control while I totally drop by the front door....

    2. The Russian Gorumet in Alexandria is the same as the one in McLean. Do you patronize the Farmers Markets? They run throughout the week in various locations around DC.
      I'd also put the Lebanese Butcher in Fall Church on the list as well as the merchants at Eastern Market (check www.saveeasternmarket.org for updates on what merchant is where and when.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        Thanks for reminding me about the markets. We usually stock up on pepper bacon from eastern market. I will add other local markets to the list. Is the Penn Quarter Market worth going to?

        Have not been to Lebanese Butcher---any recommendations?

        1. re: nissenpa

          I would recommend Penn Quarter based on the vendors there. Especially Cibola, Quail Creek Farm, Sunnyside and Tiogo. I buy from all the above at other markets.

          Del Ray is small and good for locals, but I wouldn't drive far for it. I'd find something closer as there are many, many to pick from.
          Courthouse on Sat's: very good
          Dupont on Sundays: I consider extremely good and the largest of the Fresh Farm markets , I *think*.

          I also shop at Kingstowne, part of Fairfax County Farmers Markets.

      2. Two favorites which I don't get to nearly as much as I used to (or should):

        Litteri's in DC. http://www.litteris.com/ (best Italian market in DC area hands down


        Arrowine in Arlington. http://www.arrowine.com (for their cheeses...also wine and beer)

        3 Replies
          1. re: monavano

            I just discovered Uncle Bruthas in Eastern Market. Not a food store, but amazing spices and sauces. If you bbq, you need this store! http://www.unclebrutha.com/

          2. re: Lowbar

            Arrowine is where I get my aged gouda. It's so good that we take it to our friends in SanDiego several times a year.

            Havenot been to Litteri's---adding it to the list.

          3. Great list so far - there are tons of asian and latin markets to add. Too numerous to mention. A large latin market is in Herndon. Large asian markets include Lotte in Fairfax and Super H south of Tyson's (Merrifield?). A small but good one is Bangkok 54 on Columbia Pike. A small but good latin market is El Chapparal in Arlington across from Whole Foods.

            Second Lebanese Butcher. In Herndon, Medina Market fills some of those same needs. In the same place (K-Mart center) there's an Indo-Pak spices store.

            1. I like the ethnic markets here in NoVa, although it often means buying canned food (there's not much alternative to that). MY favorites:
              1. Italian Store (I prefer the cheaper Litteri's, but by the time you factor in the gasoline and aggravation of traveling on New York Ave., the Italian Store may be cheaper.)
              2. Either of the Vietnamese supermarkets in the Eden Shopping Center.
              3. Duangrat's Thai grocery (near the restaurant of the same name)
              4. H Mart (you can get lost in there, though)
              5. (Is it still closed for remodelling?) Euro-Latino market at Washington Blvd. and Pershing.
              6. Second the motion on Arrowine.

              7. And a moment of silence for Mel of Pica Deli (a butcher in the grand tradition of his profession) and Jean Jacques of Arlington City Market. (Even the places they worked for are gone now.) Both knew good food, loved to talk about it, and were generous with good advice. Rest in peace.

              PS Is the Falls Church Penzey's open yet? I use the one in Pittsburgh, since I'm up there a lot.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Gonzocook

                I don't know. I usually hit the one in Grand Rapids MI when I visit my mom.

                1. re: Gonzocook

                  Pica in Arlington is gone? I think the Reston location is still open.

                2. Cowgirl Creamery in Penn Quarter would be fun too!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: monavano

                    DH works across the street---i'm already addicted to their butter!

                    1. re: nissenpa

                      Whenever I'm down there I stop by I always pick up one of their sandwiches or their house cheese wrapped in nettles. I'm addicted to that stingy sensation. mmm.stingy cheese. mm.

                  2. What a wonderful way to spend a vacation! Everybody has mentioned all my favorites: Arrowine, Italian Store, German Gourmet, and Lebanese Butcher. I can only add the Organic Butcher in McLean on Old Dominion Drive for meat and some fish and Black Salt for fish. I don't really care much for Whole Foods or Balducci's. I prefer smaller stores and try to develop relationships with the owners and staff. Then I can trust their advice.

                    It might be fun to do a different farmer's market every day, since the vendors vary. Plus, you'll be able to get the freshest every day. One of my favorite vendors that comes to several of them is Toigo, mentioned by somebody else, too. Another is EcoFriendly Farms for chicken, pork, beef, eggs, and, sometimes, rabbits. The chickens and pork are unbelievable.

                    1. Not little at all, but the first time I went, I remarked to a friend that I'd like to play hooky from work one day during the week and hit Wegman's when it wasn't overflowing with weekend shoppers.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: weezycom

                        As I kept reading this thread, I was very suprised not to read anything on Wegman's until the very last two posts!! I live in AZ, and the last two times I visited my sis in VA, I kept promising myself I'd have her take us there for a meal (we did dessert there, but I really want to try a couple of meals, one of which is a crabcake entree! Anyone ever tried it there?

                      2. The Meditarean bakery (or store) on Pickett in Alexandria. I second the Italian Store in Arlington and the Courthouse Farmer's Market on Saturday. Wegman's rockks, too. Also, MOMs (My Organic Market).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bigskymind

                          I agree with MOM, although my husband thinks it's weird.

                          I also like the Italian Market in Gambrills.

                        2. Laurel Meat Market for steaks. They hand cut New York strips (I usually get them 2" thick) and can special order all kinds of meat. I plan to try their ribs some time this summer.

                          I need to check out Penzey's one of these days.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: 4X4

                            Hey 4x4, I've driven by the LMM many times. Are the prices good?

                            1. re: AlyKen

                              Surprisingly, the prices are better than the supermarkets. New York strip is usually around $8.00/lb. Their other prices look good too, but I've only bought steak and brisket there.

                            2. re: 4X4

                              4X4, I definitely second your choice of Laurel Meat Market. Those guys rock. What sort of stuff have you ordered there? Do you think they can get guinea hen?

                              And go to Penzey's. We went to the one in Rockville and left with a lighter wallet for sure. That's a bad, bad place.

                              Someone else mentioned My Organic Market, which I'll chime in about too. There's one in Jessup of all places now and it's big and very nice and well stocked.

                              Mastellone's in Parkville (NE corner of Baltimore) has great deli meats, cheeses, lots of fresh made pasta and really excellent wine deals, too.


                              1. re: Pool Boy

                                I haven't ordered anything from the meat market yet, but from what I've heard they're good with speical orders. I want to order a whole pork shoulder or brisket from them some time to barbecue.

                                I occasionally go to MOM's in College Park for bread ingredients I can't find at the grocery store.

                            3. I've never been, but, if I had the time, I would try the Amish Market (three locations in Maryland - Burtonsville, Annapolis, and Germantown).

                              1. Great list. I think I need to print it out to try a few of the places I haven't been.

                                Some of my favorites:

                                -El Chapparal
                                -La Union (Lee Hwy in Arlington)
                                -All the Asian grocers around 7 corners and Bailey's Crossroads
                                -The Japanese grocer on Curran St, just off Chain Bridge in McLean
                                -Total Wine & Beverage
                                -The Vietnamese Supermarket in Eden Center (RIP, sad to see it go. They had some of the best selection around)

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: buckeye

                                  All my favorites have been mentioned I won't second them all just wanted to say yes Total Wine & Beverage is amazing, I get overwhelmed and it takes me forever to get out of there.

                                  1. re: ktmoomau

                                    Out of Site Wines - Dominion Road in Vienna is the best wine shop I've ever encountered. A terrific selection of wines, many very affordable and stuff you won't see anywhere else, plus the two guys that own the store are really knowledgeable, have great taste and - most important - honest in their recommendations and opinions - something I've rarely ever experienced where wine retailing in this area is concerned.

                                    1. re: ktmoomau

                                      If we are talking wine stores, I have to throw the Daily Planet and Wine in. It's in Del Ray (Alexandria) and sells some food, including a decent array of cheeses and fresh breads.

                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                        Another wine place: Corridor on Rte. 198 in Laurel is awesome. I could spend hours in there.

                                        1. re: AlyKen

                                          But it's overpriced. Sure there are a handful of deals, but anything that is really good is priced way too high.


                                          1. re: Pool Boy

                                            Well, it's better than nothing... Maryland's laws about alcohol sales are idiotic. I grew up in Florida where I could pick up a bottle of wine, a 6 pack of beer and a bottle of rum at the grocery store. For what I buy, Corridor is great... since every other place in the area sucks big time.

                                            1. re: AlyKen

                                              Corridor is run by the same folks that own/run Total Wine in Virginia and elsewhere FWIW. I'll grant you that their overall selection and volume are impressive and worthy of mention. I just don't like their prices and it's hard to get help there.

                                              Have you tried shopping in DC or VA ever for wine? There are some great places (all for different reasons) like MacArthur Beverages, Circle Liquors, Schneider's, Cecile's Fine Wine, Calvert Woodley, Ace, Arrow Wine, etc.


                                      2. re: buckeye

                                        I read this list mentally checking off all the places I know until I got to the Japanese grocer on Currant Street. Obviously, I haven't driven past the Cingular phone store in a while. When did this arrive in McLean? Is the grocery located on Curran Street itself? In the parking lot behind Curran Street? On the lower level? The upper level?

                                        Your faves from this store? Thanks.

                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                          The Japanese grocer is on the parking lot behind Curran St. You have to go down Curran St. and then when it T's, go to the right. The store is on the upper level. It took me two tries to find it w/o directions.

                                          Bring cash as it is cash only.

                                          They pretty much have everything Japanese you'd want there. If you like Japanese pickles, they have a ton. Multiple type of Uemboshi. Enjoy!

                                        2. re: buckeye

                                          the grand mart that is over by Eden Center has most, ok well all of the same things that were at the supermarket you are talking about, they might cost a few cents more, but they have them. And not to worry to much another super market will go in Eden soon... or so the kids in the neighborhood say.

                                          Another good oriental market is the one on Colombia pike, between Baileys cross roads and four mile run, they tend to have your basic Asian junk foods(what I go after) for not a lot of cash.

                                          1. re: buckeye

                                            There's also Kam Sam (Chinese market in Annandale and Rockville), Maxim (Chinese market in Rockville), Daruma (Japanese market in Bethesda), and Maruichi (Japanese market in Rockville).

                                            Was it Eden Supermarket that closed, or the other one?

                                          2. Thomas Market on University in Wheaton (Mediterranean ... carries several thicknesses of phyllo)
                                            Amish Market in Burtonsville
                                            Takoma Park and Dupont farmer's markets
                                            Super H Mart
                                            Hung Phat in Wheaton (Thai ... fresh rice noodles)
                                            Greek market next to Duangrat's (can't think of the name atm)

                                            1. I know it's a little out of the way for most, but I love shopping at Hinata and Daruma, two Japanese markets in downtown Bethesda. It's not much, but it definitely helps to have access to Japanese goods so close to my house! And the Hinata sushi is awesome, better than most sushi restaurants in the area!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. For Chinese-specific ingredients (i.e. not Super H or Grand Mart, which has more generic Asian ingredients that cater to a wider audience), I like Kam San on Markam Rd in Annandale (esp. the fresh vegetables) and Great Wall in McLean. You will find everything you need for Chinese cooking.

                                                I second the Bangkok 54 supermarket on Columbia Pike for Thai-specific ingredients.

                                                My experience with Grand Mart and Super H is that they are GREAT for general ingredients...but if I'm looking for kaffir lime leaves or baby choy sum, I have to go to the more culturally-specific grocery stores to ensure the best quality.