South Bay foodie destinations
A group of us are going to explore the top food markets on the lower Peninsula and South Bay. I'd love some suggestions for must-see places.
If you are in the south bay, you should head over to San Jose's Japantown.
San Jose Tofu (go early, and you might be able to get the yummy fresh soy milk too)
175 Jackson Street
Shuei Do Manju Shop
217 E Jackson St.
There is a Nijiya Market across the street from Shuei Do.
In Mountain View:
The Milk Pail Market (www.milkpail.com
)2585 California Street
Mountain View, CA, 94040
)400 San Antonio Rd
Mountain View, CA 94040
I prefer the 99 Ranch Market in Milpitas, it's bigger and cleaner.
Here are some Friday markets, not sure how good the markets are though.
Cupertino Friday 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Cupertino Square (formerly Vallco Fashion Park), Wolfe Road at 280,
Kaiser Santa Teresa Certified Farmers' Market Friday 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM 280 International Blvd., San Jose
Friday 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM San Pedro Square between Santa Clara St & John Street, San Jose
Vallco's Farmers Market Fridays, 9-1 backside of of the mall, across from JC Penney. It's smaller than in years' past but there are still some very good vendors there. Swank Farms, Van Gronegen & Sons, Happy Boy, Sukhi's are just some that I frequent. If you arrive close to 12:30 when the market's shutting down, and you enjoy haggling, prices are EXCELLENT (you'll have everyone loaded to bear with a bounty!)
If you are in Beautiful Downtown Stockton by the Bay (San Jose), check out San Pedro Square's farmers market. A few more vendors, a few good Mexican and Vietnamese places to get an afternoon nosh.
Andronico's in Stanford Shopping Center has an olive bar and full-stocked deli I enjoy visiting when one of my daughter-units is being seen at the rheumatoid clinic.
There are other branches of 99 Ranch, Lion, and Nijiya around the area.
1615 Half Rd, Morgan Hill, CA 95037
99 Ranch Market
1688 Hostetter Rd, San Jose, CA
675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA
Manila Oriental Foods
179 W Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas, CA
143 E El Camino Real Mountain, View, CA
Lion Food Center
1838 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA
Sigona's market in the Stanford Shopping Center has an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar. (They don't have bread on hand to sample with, but if you ask for it, the owner will gladly break off pieces of bread for you.) They also have bulk dried fruits and nuts for way cheaper than WF.
I would choose the Nijiya in MV (vs. San Jose, which is kindof small) for more variety, and if you were going to get stuff for sushi, but honestly, if you want breadth, the Mitsuwa in San Jose makes more sense to go to, b/c it is bigger and it sometimes has "food fairs" in the summertime, where they feature a specialty food from a certain region in Japan. Those a really cool, though I never know when they are happening.
Then you can hop over next door to Clover bakery and get their macha an pan or shiro-an pan. :)
Then you can drive a few blocks down and eat lunch at Zeni (Ethiopian), while you're at it. :)
If you do decide to go to Nijiya in Mountain View instead of Mitsuwa, they have this really expensive tofu--from Kyoto, which imo makes the best tofu--I think it's called otoko-something. I think it's superior to San Jose tofu, but I'd be curious to know what you think, assuming you do tofu. It has a very short shelf-life, so it needs to be eaten soon.
There are all sorts of wonderful Indian grocery stores as well. The one I go to is probably not the best or largest (there are lots of them near Lawerence and El Camino in Santa Clara), but it is close to me, and close to that MV Nijiya-- off of El Camino, on the right side going south, in one of these strip malls in Sunnyvale. It's called Namatse, and it is my go-to place for fresh curry leaves.
Go to Grand Century Mall for anything Vietnamese you need. The entire mall is like a Vietnamese supply (clothes, food, etc.) place. Oh, and if you go, go to the food court and get their Ban Xeo (Vietnamese crepe). Good stuff. Also, if you go around the back somewhere (same mall), there is a bakery that sells Banh Mi for really cheap. I haven't actually had it, b/c I don't do cilantro or meat, but several of my friends like it for the taste and price, which was very reasonable.
And I second someone else's suggestion of Milk Pail. It has the best cheese selection, and is extremely reasonably priced.
Were there specific things you were planning to get? (Produce, spices, etc.) I wouldn't call any of these places "must-see" per se, but it depends on what supplies you were looking for. Like if it were chocolate you were looking for, I do a lot of my chocolate shopping at boring old Cost Plus. Ditto wine. If I want to take out-of-country friends to a nice supermarket, I take them to the Cupertino Whole Foods.
I didn't realize that Namaste has more than one location. I live in San Carlos, and there's one in Belmont.
We didn't have a specific destination or ingredient in mind. These people are all really into food, so we've explored Berkeley extensively. We can skip Cost Plus and Whole Foods :-).
Thanks for the other info. Really helpful.
If you get to Sunnyvale, you should stop at Olsen's cherries on El Camino near Mathilda. They have some of the best fruit in the Bay Area. It's the peak of apricot season right now.
If you make it to Campbell, Cosentinos grocery store on Bascom has some of the best vegetables, a lot from their farm further south, in the Bay Area.
And, if you make it down to Saratoga, out by West Valley College is one of the last working orchards. Just keep driving about 2 miles past the college on Fruitvale. It's on the right. They'll have fresh fruit and dried fruit.
I have been meaning to go to Olsen's, b/c I heard they sell cream nut peanut butter, which was featured in the NYT a while back and one of my friends keeps raving about. I think it's the only store in this area that carries this peanut butter. I've been curious to try it, but I first need to finish eating up my meh generic WF peanut butter.
I didn't realize you lived in San Carlos. Then you pretty much have what we have a few miles south of you, and then some!
Oh oh, if you like meat-- or actually, I don't eat meat, but I have to admit I didn't mind the taste of this--I'm sure you know, but if you happen to go to the Stanford Shopping Center Sigonas (though duh. You have one in your neck of the woods, so probably not), the Shaubs there has a blackened meat that is really good (even if one doesn't eat meat most of the time. :)). It is also now home to Teuscher, fru fru high end chocolate place.
The downtown farmers' market on Friday, 10-2, San Pedro St between Julian and Santa Clara might be worth your time. It's not huge, but it has some good vendors. Also, the International Market, on Curtner and Union, is unique. They have lots of middle eastern products and a pretty good and reasonably priced selection of fresh vegetables, also a halal butcher. SuVianda, on Santa Clara between 6th & 7th, has a cremeria. And for fresh fish, the Ranch 99 in Milpitas Square.
On the lower rent side of Castro street in Mountain View is Rose Int'l Market, a Persian grocery store & kitchen. Excellent, inexpensive kabobs as well as many other cooked items (outside patio tables for seating). I know there's a small Persian store in San Carlos but this one is bigger (though not as clean) with a butcher & the cheapest olives around. I just bought a nice mixed variety last night for a party this weekend...$4.99/lb!
1060 Castro St
Mountain View, CA 94040
BTW, there are quite a few Namaste Plaza stores...
Esther's German Bakery has a relatively new retail shop at 987 N. San Antonio Rd. in Los Altos -- very close to El Camino. They also serve breakfast and lunch as well as excellent pastries. Their large German pretzels are fabulous as are their breads!!
Esther's German Bakery
987 N San Antonio Road, Los Altos, CA 94022
re: Nancy Berry
I think they are opening another Esther's in the shopping complex with the Walmart, next to the Trader Joe's on the corner. Near the Daiso. Those two blocks in Mountain View is fantastic (for a suburb), it got Daiso, Esther's, Dittmer's, Milk Pail, TJ and Whole Foods.
Has Daiso been mentioned? It is a good place to stop by for the some cheap Japanese kitchen tools and Bento gear.
550 Showers Dr, Mountain View, CA
The places I miss the most in the South Bay are:
1) Big Indian supermarkets - I used to live around the corner from Kumud Grocery, which probably saved me during residency (they have the best frozen dinners I've ever had - the frozen baigan bhartha, saag paneer, and chicken tikka masala are probably better than 90% of the versions I've had in restaurants). Pretty decent vegetable selection, huge bags of curry leaves for a dollar, giant bags of spices that still cost less than a few tablespoons of the same spice elsewhere.
2) Stan's Donuts - big, glazed, yeast-raised donuts - I think they have either egg or butter in the dough, because they're definitely richer than most - these have spoiled me for donuts elsewhere (I'm still willing to audition cake donut applicants, but re: yeast donuts, if they're not Stan's I won't eat them).
3) A&J for Taiwanese beef noodle soup - thick, irregular, knife-cut chewy noodles and a spicy, beefy broth
4) China Stix on weekends for Northern Chinese breakfast items - you tiao, soy milk (salty and sweet), purple 8-treasure rice, fish dumplings, rice rolls.