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Jan 21, 2008 03:02 PM

Food shopping in San Antonio

I just moved to San Antonio from the Upper Connecticut River Valley of NH/VT. I've been here a couple of months and looking for hookups to the best food markets. For example, bread. I've been searching for some good Italian/French style artisanal bread. There are plenty of Mexican bakeries. Being a gabacho, I went into one asking for "bread," and the woman behind the counter looked at me like I had two heads. OH, I thought to myself, they eat tortillas here, DUH! Next stop was La Madeleine, which has decent croissants, but their sourdough french is tasteless. City Market has bread that looks good but it's still supermarket bread. Are there any good bakeries who produce an authentic loaf?

Another quest is for real Italian ingredients, e.g. rope sausage. City Market has something that barely resembles Italian sausage and they charge an arm and a leg. Are there any good Italian delis? Asian groceries? How about a fish market. Obviously, Mexican ingredients are easy to get. Any other suggestions for ethnic/local/fresh/artisanal food ingredients, farmer's markets, etc. would be appreciated. By the way, I love it here.

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  1. San Antonio has a real problem. There is no good farmer's market.
    We're surrounded by farm land, but there's no central (good) places the farmer's bring it to sell in the city. There are a spattering of Farmer's markets, but nothing that'll do the trick.

    I think a restaurant named "little italy"... which is near blanco and west... may have a meat market... but you'll probably want to call first.

    as for bread, i've always had good luck with "broadway daily bread" which is on broadway (almost across from central market) and up on dezavala road, east of i-10.

    I'm not a huge bread snob. I like the bread at Panera, which is at the lincoln heights shopping center... but that's a chain.... and may not be what you're looking for.

    As for asian markets... I think there's one on hildebrand, just east of blanco. Never been, but I drive by it.

    1. If you're referring to the HEB Central Market on Broadway about the bread, I'd suggest that you give it another try. Although it's a supermarket, I haven't found better french bread (crusty and hard on the outside, pillowy and full of yeast holes on the inside) in this fair city. The Central Market bakery may be in a supermarket with supermarket quantities, but the breads are near-equivalents to what I used to get from my boulangerie in Belgium years ago.

      Too bad about the the italian sausage...give the chicken/feta/spinach sausage a try at Central Market. It's really good. Fish? Again, Central Market. Spendy as hell, but f-r-e-s-h. Costco has good bargains on farm raised salmon and whole trout...if you're feeding four or more.

      There's a halal market on Wurzbach just west of I-10, called Ali Babba. If you like Mediterranean food, it's a great place to get everything you need for a hummus/shish/olive/lamb fest.

      Welcome to the smallest city in the US that happens to be the US's 7th most many contradictions in this gem.

      2 Replies
      1. re: YGBSM

        I whole heartedly agree with the above assessment of the french bread at Central Market. A slice of this covered with some of their in house made pesto is hard to beat.

        1. re: RGVHound

          There are several oriental markets in town.One is TNK on North New Braunfels near Fort Sam Houston and there are others. No fish market here.You have to buy it from H.E.B.
          They sometimes have articles about farmers markets in different parts of town,or you might check out Produce Row where the restaurants and others buy their stuff.

      2. I'd have to disagree about the deliciousness of the bread at Central Market and at most "European-style" bakeries in San Antonio as well as Austin. In my opinion, the crust is not good and the flavor is generic and bland. So, I'm afraid my answer to your question about bread is: no. Texas does a good job of "home-style" soft, dense breads. I'm thinking of places like Great Harvest, which has a location on NW Military in San Antonio. But high-quality artisanal French/Italian bread is sorely lacking.

        Austin does have some larger farmer's markets, if you're interested in an occasional road trip:


        They're not of the same quality as the ones that I used to frequent in the Northeast, but they're good for this area.

        1. I am so glad I found this site and this post too! :-) I am italian and I moved to SA from Italy a few months ago. I am definitely NOT looking for the food or the ingredients I left behind me when I made the big move, but I was not prepared, I must admit, to not being able to find good "real" fruits and vegetables grown locally :-( Where do they hide them? Being the smalltown girl (if you can call a 41year old a girl...sigh...) that I am, I am not a supermarket fan, but I am pretty happy with the HEB general average quality. But...if only I could find a good special little store...that special market...something like that! I would be a happier woman :-) Other than that I simply love TEXAS and San Antonio in particular. Very happy here. Ciao ciao everybody!

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