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Jul 4, 2008 01:40 PM

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.


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  1. You mean farmers markets, grocery stores, farm stands, that sort of thing?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Yes to all. We'll be doing this on a Friday, so any green markets that are on Fridays would be great to know.

      1. re: jocelyng

        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 (
        )2585 California Street
        Mountain View, CA, 94040

        Dittmer's (
        )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

        1. re: jocelyng

          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.

          1. re: The Ranger

            I think we're skipping San Jose, but I love your description. I'm not an Andronico's fan since I work down the street from Draeger's in San Mateo.

      2. There are other branches of 99 Ranch, Lion, and Nijiya around the area.

        Andy's Orchard
        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

        Nijiya Market
        143 E El Camino Real Mountain, View, CA

        Lion Food Center
        1838 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Thanks to you both. This is great info.

        2. 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.

          6 Replies
          1. re: anzu

            Oh, one other thing--since I'm offering you unsolicited advice of places to eat while you're doing your market pilgrimage :), if you go to the Nijiya in Mountain View, it is in the same shopping complex as Chaat Paradise, which has great Indian food and wonderful stuffed parathas.

            1. re: anzu

              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.


              1. re: jocelyng

                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.

                1. re: 512window

                  I believe Olsen's is on the agenda! DH loves apricots. I don't think we're going to far south of Sunnyvale, but that's good to know about.

                  1. re: jocelyng

                    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.

                    1. re: anzu

                      True, but I was hoping for hidden gems since some of the gals are coming from Oakland, and I don't get south of Palo Alto for food shopping very often.

          2. 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.

            1. 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
              (650) 960-1900

              BTW, there are quite a few Namaste Plaza stores...

              3 Replies
              1. re: ceekskat

                I don't eat Persian very often, but where is the Persian market in San Carlos?

                1. re: jocelyng

                  Adel Int'l Food Market
                  165 El Camino Real
                  San Carlos, CA 94070
                  (650) 654-3340
                  (strip mall w/ Long's Drugs)