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Jul 12, 2007 01:14 AM

In search of foodie stores in PHX and valley cities

Hello all! Would like to hear about your favorite foodie stores (A.J.'s, Vincent's?) here in the valley. Whenever I visit family in the Washington, DC Dulles area, I always wish to go to Wegman's, a specialty food store and food market (crabcakes, sushi, deli, salad bars, pizzeria, olive/cheese bar, French pastries, you name it, they've got it!), but for some reason rarely get a chance to do so. I've yet to come across a store here that matches the vast selection of foods available to order and eat. From what I've read, Vincent's on Camelback may be what I'm looking for, but I still haven't gotten around to visiting. Is this location open during these summer months? I think AJ's may be a miniature version of Wegman's as far as the grocery aisles and deli sections (Ahwatukee area, anyway).

Anyone know of foodie stores besides World Market, La Grande Orange (which I do not particularly care for, sorry) and the Ahwatukee AJ's that I should check out? Although not exactly Wegman's or AJ's, The Farm at South Mountain does offer up three restaurants and has specialty sections (organic veggie stands, bread) is closed for the summer months (although Quiessence, a restaurant I haven't tried, yet ia open from 5p to closing)... how I miss the French toast at Morning Glory Cafe!

Thank you in advance!

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  1. We have so many wonderful choices from Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Phoenix Ranch Rarket, 99 Ranch all the independents that are sprouting up that specialize in one type of food and do it really well....

    ie: Von Hansens, The pork shop, Penzeys, Andreoli, Guidos, Middle Eastern Bakery & Deli , Yasha from Russia, the local Farmers Markets....I am sure I am missing a few

    Take the time to explore......

    1 Reply
    1. re: ciaogal

      Yes, forgot to mention I've been to Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Cafe Istanbul, Haji-Baba, Sunflower Markets... Tempe's Great Harvest (bakery and sundries). I was just thinking something more similar to Wegman's in VA. I will try all these other shops you and others have suggested thus far!

      Thank you!

    2. Gotta love Penzeys spice store in Scottsdale. They have a sample jar for every product so you can spend a good deal of time sniffing about.

      There's also a Japanese market, House of Rice, on the other side of Hayden Rd., just to the South. Kind of small compared to Lee Lee, etc. but chock full of nicknacks.

      Penzeys Spices
      3310 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

      3 Replies
      1. re: tastyjon

        AJ's is the closest thing we have in the valley to Wegmans... same concept, smaller stores. -- Lar

        1. re: Lar

          Another great ethnic market that I just discovered (got a tip from a restaurant owner) is Princess Deli and Market on Broadway just east of the 101.

          Unique cheeses, spices, olives, grains, lentils, canned/jarred items, frozen lamb (almost every cut imaginable as compared with local grocery stores), flavored tobacco, olive oil and the deli serves prepared food.

          Super L Ranch Market in the Chinese Cultural Center, AJ's of course, Sprouts, Trader Joe's, all mentioned above.

          I did just see a new little tiny market between Delux and Zen 32 that used to be just a seafood store. Anyone been in yet? Anyone know the name?

          Princess Market
          2620 W Broadway Rd Ste 12, Mesa, AZ 85202

          Super L Ranch Market
          668 N 44th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008

          1. re: HomeCookKirsten

            I haven't been down Apache in a while in Tempe, but there was an Asian spice market on the north side around Apache/McClintock called "Spice Coast" or similar. Also in the neighborhood is Haji Baba, good for middle eastern spices, feta, take-out, shisha tobacco, etc.

            Defalco's Grocery on Scottsdale/Oak also has basic Italian items, cheese, frozen pasta, etc.

            Lots of good recommendations already listed, especially Andreoli if you haven't checked it out yet.

      2. I think Duck and Decanter would be a great place for someone who doesn't like La Grande Orange. I like both quite a bit, but D&D has much less of a "too cool for school" sort of attitude. There's also a fabulous furniture store named copenhagen next door.

        My other favorites would be House of Rice and of course the Phoenix Ranch Market. This place is really wonderful.

        For Farmer's markets i love the downtown one, the one at south mountain and Vincent's.

        Super L, Defalco's, and Yasha are all very good at what they do, but are less "exciting" than other places, though this is often better, depending on what kind of foodie you are.


        For a saturday itinerary I'd hit the downtown market, then head to Vincent's or south mountain for brunch, making sure to leave some time to see the other one. On your way from one to the other I'd get some pan dulce from the phoenix ranch market and do some reconnaissance work for dinner, so you won't be overwhelmed when you get there later that night. From there I'd hit up House of Rice, Super L, Yasha's and whatever chains that you might not have, if there's time. Finish the afternoon with a snack at D&D to get you energized for your trip to the Ranch Market. When you've recovered from that drive down to Four Peaks for a local brew and be satisfied with perhaps the best possible Saturday in Phoenix. (Though mine would include an English Muffin from LGO)

        3 Replies
        1. re: kindofabigdeal

          Haven't been to a D&D. Have seen signs for one on Camelback, but for the life of me have not been successful finding the place (of course, I had no time to really look as I was heading to the Fish Market both times).

          I've been to South Mountain, which is currently closed for the summer, and is set to reopen on 9/11. Quiessence is open nightly, but I haven't had a chance to try the menu there.

          I love the pastries at DeFalco's. I should go back and try some of their savory items.

          I've been to Ranch Market on Central and Southern (??). Am I to understand correctly that there is another one on 16th St and Central? The pan dulce sounds delicious (makes me think of a bun oozing of dulce de leche from the center...), but I've tried some of the cakes/cookies at Ranch Market, and they're horrible!

          1. re: starlightjulian

            16th & Roosevelt.

            Phoenix Ranch Market III
            1602 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

          2. re: kindofabigdeal

            Thank you for the itinerary!! Unfortunately, Vincent's will not be an option as I do not have Saturdays or Sundays free (isn't Vincent's only open in the weekends for brunch?).

          3. Lee Lee is huge and has all sorts of great ethnic stuff, fresh seafood, a nice selection of sake and beer, etc...

            Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket
            2025 N Dobson Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224

            2 Replies
            1. re: IamJacksBrain

              There's also Giado's World Market for Middle Eastern (plaza at Dobson & Guadalupe, and the Guadalupe Farmer's Market (in Guadalupe!) has nery nice produce and dandy, dandy salsas and jams. Say goodbye to Wegman' isn't here. But there is lot of great food when you learn where to look!

              1. re: IamJacksBrain

                I've been shopping at Leelee's since moving to the valley in 2003. Mom and I used to enjoy the fried-to-order tilapia to take home and eat with rice and a side of chopped tomatoes, onions ,and fish sauce. It's a dish I do not eat anymore since a) it's deep-fried, b) tilapia is one of many fish that cause inflammation due to AA production within the body. Another good find here is moon cake. Just be wary that they're high in calories!

                Yen Mi, the restaurant within Leelee's serves good pho and great-value summer rolls (shrimp and pork with veggies wrapped in rice paper served with yummy peanut sauce).

                Check out their bottles of Hakutsuru cold rice sake and plum wine selections to save mucho dinero!

              2. Thought I'd let you know about Summers Fruit Barn on Baseline Rd and 27th St. The fruits sold here are delicious (white grapefruit, oranges). I love their preserves and fruit butters (especially the sweet potato butter and pumpkin butter!!). [I like mixing a couple of tablespoons of one flavor with either peanut butter or almond butter and use the resulting spread as a topping on my crispy crepes!]

                SFB also serves sandwiches made from breads made at a sister company- Bread Basket- based in Mesa. Try the meatloaf... so moist and flavorful!! The preserves, jams, fruit butters, and other sweets (such as zucchini bread, cakes, and cookies) are also Bread Basket products. The store carries many varieties of honeys, dates, sauces, jellies (cactus pear jelly, anyone?), and condiments such as spicy pepper relish and peach salsa (too bad I'm allergic to peaches!), as well.