Where do you shop?
Hello dedicated chowhounders -
When you aren't eating out - where do you shop?
I'm always in search for the most flavor and lowest prices in vicinity of Glendale/Silver Lake/Hollywood, but I'd rather not drive farther for quality and reasonable prices.
In search of the best seafood, meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables, cheese, breads, cakes & cookies?
Is it Whole Foods, Hollywood Farmers Market, Trader Joe's, markets in Thai town & K-Town?
Thanks so much & I can't wait to hear where everyone shops.
In Echo Park, on Sunset just east of Echo Park Blvd. on the north side of the street is A Grocery Warehouse - an Asian, mostly Vietnamese but with all sorts of stuff - market that is very good. Excellent butcher, great and cheap fish counter, good produce and all very cheap. I shop there a lot.
Trader Joes for most stuff. One of the my favorite overlooked features is perfect sizing for one person.
Local "Superior" mexi-mart for cheap produce and things you can't get at TJs, also great for fresh tortillas and sweet bread. Finally, simple Ralphs for sales/coupon stuff.
I'd go to more farmers markets... but i usually sleep in too late.
trader joe's supplemented primarily by the bulk foods department of whole foods. also, i buy my valrhona cocoa powder for my morning ice blended at whole foods.
trader joe's cookies can't be beat. ( i like the chocolate-dipped biscotti).
the parking/driving to get to the farmer's market isn't worth it for me.
Every Saturday I get up and I go to the UCI farmers' market, where I decide what it is I'm going to cook this week based on what's freshest and in season. I wander the market first without buying anything, then make a list (usually on my BlackBerry, how geeky am I) of what it is I'm going to cook, what I need to cook it, and where I need to go to get it. I then buy everything I can possibly get for my list at the farmers' market.
After I buy the produce, I may hit Trader Joe's in the same plaza (but honestly, usually not). I go to any other stores that I need, which typically are 99 Ranch in Irvine or Anaheim, Gigante or Northgate in Anaheim, Wholesome Choice in Irvine, Henry's in Fullerton, Claro's in Tustin, Frog's Breath in Orange, and sometimes (rarely) Whole Foods -- it's so expensive.
If I'm making something that requires a big chunk of meat where its quality is going to make or break the dish, I'll go to Gem Meats in Placentia and have it cut for me. If I'm not so concerned (a stew, for example, where other flavours will hide the fact that I didn't use prime beef) then I go to Stater Bros. in Anaheim, which has the best meat department.
The same goes for fish. Normally I buy my fish from Dry Dock, but when I absolutely have to have the freshest (serving raw, for example) I go to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa and buy it there. It's not that Dry Dock have bad fish -- far from it -- but I have found that their fish, particularly when bought at UCI, have limited shelf life and are not suitable for raw applications.
I buy all the stuff I can't find anywhere else (usually things like laundry soap) at my local Albertson's.
I don't ever go to Ralphs, Vons, Pavilions, Gelson's, Bristol Farms. I very, very rarely go to Costco and only when I need things where I don't care about the quantity. Occasionally when I need olive oil or specialities I will make a trip to La Espanola in Harbor City, or for spices I'll go to Penzey's in Torrance (usually on the same trip).
sunland produce (sunland and glenoaks blvd in sunland). it's worth a little trek, even with the price of gas, because you will save so much with their low prices on produce. all kinds of ethnic stuff--cardoons, fresh almonds and olives in season, the most gorgeous fennel you'll see for about 80 cents a lb...great nuts, cheeses.
fish king in glendale can't be beat for quality, but you pay $$ for it. i'm willing to do that for great fish.
Superior has great prices on produce, way better than the majors. They also occasionally have super advertised specials on pork, chicken, and shrimp.
Guilty "secret": Hows sometimes has incredible deals on "blem" or otherwise not up-to-standard veggies, huge bag for 99 cents. Baked goods, too, but we don't buy those.
Costco has good fish, reasonably priced, and the perennial baked chicken (went up a half-dollar recently, still a bargain). Bulk rice also cheap.
Trader Joe's for a few things. Milk, Two-Buck Chuck, ground turkey. Some of their package stuff is lame, especially when they try to be "cutting edge". Probably more the concept than the execution, kind of Darwinian food.
My shopping trips can take a whle. I split my shopping between:
Vallarta: good basic produce at amazing prices. Great prices on Mexican Cheese, lunch meat, nice bakery, great meats and fish.
Gelson's: nice produce and a good discount rack for meat or produce, as well as day old bakery prices. Some of the harder to find items. regualr stock stuff, like packaged goods, are often cheaper than at Ralph's. I am an addict of the deli, salad bar, and bakery. Some of the best service out there. Nice Sushi, too, for supermarket.
Whole Foods: only for the rare/hard to find produce and the Shitake Snacks. Service seems to get worse and worse. PRepared foods are just not that great. Bakery is pretty good, and the Sushi is OK.
Surfas: some stuff, i can only get there, such as Monin Syrups (don't wanna drive out to the Frys that has it.
Galleria or HK or 99 ranch Market: for asain foods I can't get at the other three, pus some good prep food or banchan for home.
Trader Joe's: basics, some cookies and other baked goods, some produce, some cheeses and Chimay
Bristol Farms: easiest place in the Westside for a poki quick-fix now that Aloha market is gone; some cheeses, pastas, specialty items
Costco: cheese selection is getting better but you have to buy a ton at a time; some meats and produce, wines, jarred pesto
Farmers markets: 3rd Street in Santa Monica, Mar Vista and Hollywood
Market Gourmet: biggest little store for gourmet/hard-to-find, ethnic; small but great cheese section
Mitsuwa & Nijiya: the seafood and pork are XLNT, of course great rice, sake and Japanese selection in general - duh...
99 Ranch: all edible things remotely resembling Chinese/Asian/Pacific Islander - again, duh...
Freshia in Torrance: Korean food fix, also prices on a lot of items straddle Japanese markets and Chinese markets
Surfas and Sur La Table: blue-moon trips for harder-to-find goods and equipment
Whole Foods: on the far side of the moon for me. Way overpriced but great selection of cheeses, some specialty items, beer, wine
Beverage Warehouse: Beers, wine, booze, decent soda selection
LA Wine Co.: Wine, decent prices on crystal too
Wally's: harder-to-find wine, booze, etc.
Bakery fixes: 3 Square, Le Pain Quotidien, Angel Maid, Viktor Bene's, Grand Casino, Jamaica's Cakes, Butter Cake, Dainties, Clementine, Amandine, Patisserie Chantilly, occasionally to Susina, Boule, Van's, Porto's, and Jin but never again to Sweet Lady Jane... Seems the "Sweet," and "Lady," were misplaced...
Thank you everyone - I cant wait for the weekend and chance to go to shop. I was just told that Pinocchio Restaurant/Monte Carlo Deli has a tiny market on Magnolia in Burbank selling great pizza dough and jars of fresh tomato puree from Italy - they say well worth a detour.
This sunday is Taste of the Nation / Share our Strength fundraiser in Culver City. Tickets are kind of pricey - they may still need volunteers.
I buy the majority of my produce and bulk loose items at Sprouts Farmers Market. I also buy produce at 99 Ranch in Irvine, and things like rice, noodles, tofu, seaweed, sauces, all kinds of things. I sometimes go to Marukai market in Costa Mesa for these things instead, and always go there for fresh fish for sashimi and sushi, and for a good selection of plum wine and sake. I buy frozen foods and cupboard items I use regularly at Costco, and Albertsons or Pavillions are my local shops for dairy products and some cupboard items I can't get easily elsewhere. Very rarely I shop at Whole Foods in Tustin (I laugh at their pricing though) but I prefer Trader Joe's. So most of my shopping is done at Sprouts, Costco, and 99 Ranch/Marukai. Bakery items are from J Sweet, El Gallo Giro, French's Cupcake Bakery and Susiecakes. BevMo or Hi-Time Wine Cellars for wine and spirits.
As someone who tries to be a pedestrian as much as possible, I haven't yet reached the point where I'll drive miles and miles to get a certain cut of meat. Then again, I live in Hollywood, where lots of markets are w/in walking distance. When I feel like making an excursion for food & related items, I drive to Surfas. Otherwise, it's the Hollywood farmers market, the Plummer Park farmers market, Trader Joes, Fresh & Easy (esp. for meat & poultry), and occasionally Ralphs (for staples I can't find elsewhere) -- all of which I can walk to. If I'm feeling wealthy, which isn't often, I'll dip into Whole Foods for something from the deli or for seafood.
I'm a big fan of Pacific Food Market in Glendale:
Pacific Food Market
1008 N Pacific Ave
Glendale, CA 91202
It's a medium sized Armenian market with its own parking lot, a full service butcher, fresh baked bread every day, a deli counter with great selection of olives by the pound. I'm especially thrilled with the HUGE herb bundles ... I like the large baby dill and the large fresh mint selections. Many brands of bottled grape leaves and sometimes even fresh leaves.
Also, I like spinach. They have ginormous cello bags of baby spinach leaves ... perhaps 4 times the size of the largest bags I've seen in the supers.
Fresh and Easy for marked down pastries and meats. Several of the spaghetti sauces and prepared meals are VERY good. Reasonable prices too, but limited on lower fat/calories options. I also shop at Yucca Market on Yucca and Caheunga. Cheap veges. Farmer's markets downtown are better priced and better quality than the Hollywood farmer's markets. I also hit the Thai grocery near Ralphs on Hollywood near Western. Good prices and fun potato chip selection. The A Market on Sunset is a good stroll, though I don't trust their veges. Ralphs is such a rip off, but I will go there in an emergency. And I think Whole Foods is way overpriced as well. My favorite these days is certainly Fresh and Easy.
Here are a few links for farmers markets in La Habra and Whittier
Correction - looking at the farmer market link, the brea one is Tuesday. But I never find it worthwhile.
For some reason the rowland heights one I mentioned above is considered to be in Diamond Bar in the farmer's market listing (actually it looks like it may be in Walnut). I think it used to be in Diamond Bar (according to dommy) but it moved to the present location (btw, brea canyon cutoff turns into fairway going north). They do have a stand with good asian veggies, and one with a good citrus selection.
Meat - Huntington Meats in Farmer's Market (3rd/Fairfax)
Seafood - Tusquellas Seafood also in FM (3rd/Fairfax)
Produce, GT's Kombucha, Teas Tea, Deli - Whole Foods
Wine and gourmet items - Larchmont Wine and Cheese
Prepared Foods, Nuts, and sweets - Trader Joe's
Last minute things - 7-11
I love 7-11!
I mourn the loss of the old Mayfair Market on Franklin and the Pioneer Market in Echo Park.
For you drivin' fools, here are a few that I haven't seen mentioned:
Meats at the ubiquitous Whole Foods and, when I can get all the way down there, produce at Chino Farm, otherwise WF or local farmer's markets. Wines at Wally's, when possible, but I've gotten good sale prices on wine and liquor at my Pavillions (with the discount card). In the desert, Jensen's, of course (although a WF is coming to Palm Desert, and Bristol Farms is already there). Halfway to the desert, Gerard's in Redlands. (Nice store, below WF and BF in selection but much more than adequate. It has several shelves of classic sodas -- including Dublin, Texas, Dr. Pepper -- and an entire small area devoted to imports from the UK and elsewhere.)
In descending order of importance:
1.La Maison du Pain (I'm French, need my daily bread)
2. Farmer's Market (Hollywood and Larchmont)
4. Korean supermarket at Western/Olympic (seafood mostly)
5. Whole Foods
6. Surfas (essentially for Danesi coffee)
7. La Bottega Marino on Larchmont for cheap Italian cold cuts
8.sporadically at Ralph's, Smart and Final, and meat at the Farmer's Market on 3rd & Fairfax
Living in central Orange County.... Order of frequency:
Stater Bros., TJ's, Whole Foods ( the one store my non-foody husband always wants to go to with me! - Hey, he doesn't complain about the bill!). a close by Ralph's (yuck), a Fresh & Easy that I keep checking out but almost never buy from.....Bristol Farms, 99Ranch, Wholesome Choice.....hope to do more farmer's markets!
My places have nothing to do with efficiency, although when I go, I stock up.
Generally all purposes are TJs and Fresh & Easy. The produce at F&E is good enough not to bother with my local farmer's market.
H Market at Diamond Bar for asian stuff - much bigger selection than 99 Ranch. There's many restaurants in the plaza so I combine the trip with dining opportunity.
Costco's for premade items, and I like their tri-tip for grinding ground beef.
Surfas for specialty food, and chocolates
Whole Foods when I need to stock up on Annie's products, sometimes cheeses and those fancy new zealand eggs (great for carbonara).
Roma's market at Pasadena for Italian cold cuts (pancetta, proscuitto, mortadella to die for, etc.), and cheeses.
Nijia Market or Mitsuwa when I need shabu ingredients or wanted otoro cheaper.
Penzey's for spices.
Beverly Hills Cheese Shop for cheeses.
Lastly, Stater Bros for the ultra pasteurized milk that my son will only drink, and some of the yogurt stuff I can't get elsewhere.