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Dec 13, 2000 08:40 PM

Any gourmet food stores in the Pasadena area?

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I was wondering if anyone could recommend a few places where I can get my hands on wild mushrooms (chanterelles, black trumpet, porcini, etc.), jumbo lump crab meat, and other fine goods. If anyone's lived in New York and been to Agatha and Valentina, a place like that would be perfect! Thanks.

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  1. But of course -- Bristol Farms on Fair Oaks in South Pasadena has everything. Also check out Wild Oats on South Lake in Pasadena, which is a large health food chain store that carries some of the items you seek.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Sarah

      I'm afraid there's nothing like Agata & Valentina, or Balducci's, or the Gourmet Garage, or any of the terrific food emporia that make New York so amazing. Not in Los Angeles, and certainly not in Pasadena.

      Bristol Farms and Whole Foods are extremely limited, and, I think, inconsistent. Their prepared foods are pretty dreadful.

      The Beverly Hills Cheese Shop stocks some nice cheeses, fois gras, truffles, things like that.

      You can get good fish at the Santa Monica Seafood Market, but your best bet is to order from Farm-2-Market ( I think you can order any kind of mushroom from Marche aux Delices at too.

      LA is a great place to get to know mail order. Unless you have lots of time to drive downtown first thing for the fish market, to Santa Monica Saturday morning for the Farmer's Market and so on.

      I'd be pleased to be corrected if any one has other suggestions.

      1. re: Deborah

        The prepared food's not so great at Bristol Farms, but it sure isn't at Balducci's or Gourmet Garage (or Agata & Valentina, or Dean & De Luca, or Fairway) either. There are limitations inherent in the medium.

        But the produce at Bristol Farms (not to mention even the produce at the smallish Pasadena growers market) blows away anything available in NYC, and the meat market, especially the sausage section (though not the fish), is superb. And not ten minutes away are the phenomonal Asian supermarkets of San Gabriel, with their enormous seafood sections.

        What the area doesn't have is remarkable cheese stores (the deli at LaBrea Bakery has pretty great stuff) or Italian delis (although Roma, up on Lake, will usually do), but the ability to buy a vegetable that actually tastes like a vegetable is not to be underestimated.

        in NY, Harry's Berries would be a shrine.

        1. re: Pepper

          I wish I knew if Bristol Farms's produce is better than NYC, but I've heard from 2nd hand information that produce in California is much much better than those in other states, including NYC.

          Anyways, I've seen chantrells, but not black trumpets or porcinis in Bristol Farms, but I've seen oyster, portobellos, and a few others there. Depends on the time and season, I suppose. You could try Whole Foods on Foothill, they may have gourmet mushrooms. Wild Oats on Lake as someone suggested. Also, you could try Trader Joe's which always has portobellos and crimini mushrooms. In the summers, they have great tomatoes!


          1. re: Pepper

            In New York, any place selling consistently good, farm-ripe produce at non-ridiculous prices would be a shrine at which I'd be honored to worship. Move east of the Rockies and you will never take California produce (as it is sold in California) for granted.

            1. re: Pepper

              Oh, Pepper, you refer to the smallish farmer's market in Pasadena . . . Indeed it may be small compared to those in Santa Monica, for example, but I would be overjoyed to find anything even half as good as the Saturday Pasadena market here in New Orleans. We do have a couple of weekly markets here, but they offer precious little in the way of fresh produce. Yes, living in California does spoil one for fresh fruits and vegetables! You forget that these things aren't available everywhere.

              1. re: Pepper

                I would add that there is a pretty good cheese store in the Silver Lake area: "Say Cheese" on Hyperion between Griffith Park Bl and Rowena; shares a parking lot with Trader Joe's.