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Fresh & Easy coming in Pasadena

Got an email forwarded from someone who saw a public notice on the ex-Wild Oats (also known to Old Pasadena Hands as the ex-Jurgenson's - who remembers the cow?) on South Lake, to the effect that they want to put a Fresh & Easy Market in that space. As I have become extremely fond of some of their products (Mr. Owen's new House Red is Saludas, a private-label Spanish wine, $2.99 and damned nice) and don't always find it convenient to drive to Arcadia or Glassell Park, this news makes me a happy lad. It puts F&E right into my frequent Pavilions-TJ's-Ralphs grocery-shopping loop, and right next door to Peet's Coffee.

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  1. I remember Jurgenson's and the cow. I still haven't made it to the F&E in Glassell park, so I'll be sure to check this one out if they do open there. Thanks for letting us know.

    1. There is a Fresh & Easy in Hemet, of all places. And when I am there on business, I sometimes swing by and grab a light little supper, and a bottle of wine for the microwave and fridge in my Hampton Inn.

      1. they just opened one in van nuys. corner of sepulveda and vanowen, went there last nite and shelves were still being stocked.

        1 Reply
        1. re: triarts

          Yeah, the Pasadena notice was posted here on LA.eater.com last week:
          I went into the Vanowen & Sepulveda location yesterday, and was disappointed. Only one visited previously was the Hollywood Galaxy one which I thought might have been different due to the market it was serving as well as the project it was located in. However, it was basically the same.
          Meats looked ok, yet most everything else looked like I could have been anywhere, except with a much more limited selection. Nothing stood out and offered me any justification to be there, unless I lived around the corner, which I do not.

        2. F&E reminds me of a British Famima, or maybe a glorified 7-Eleven.

          9 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Yes, or an IKEA version of Trader Joe's. The thing I like best about the layout is that (very much unlike TJ's) it's virtually identical store-to-store: learn one, you've learned'em all. Fresh fruits and veges ALWAYS in the first aisle, meats and deli ALWAYS in the second, and so on. Don't get me wrong; I love TJ's, but having to learn a new layout every time I go into a different one (or maybe the same one if the management has decided to re-think it!) makes me crazy. I suppose that's supposed to be part of the charm...

            1. re: Will Owen

              Funny, I really enjoy that every Trader Joe's has a different layout and a slightly different product mix. It adds to the sense that you're discovering something new. Of course, I don't like predictability in life so why would I like it in my food? :)

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                A cliché, but it tends to be true: men don't shop, they just go buy stuff. You are obviously an exception! Now, I really enjoy exploring a new grocery store, but once is enough. After that, I want to go straight to the items I need and then buy them. I can do that in any Kroger, coast to coast, whether I've been in it before or not. I might enjoy looking to see how localized the meat and produce selections are, or whether they have area-specific canned goods and baking supplies (lots of self-rising flour AND cornmeal in the South!), but I can tell pretty quickly how the geography works. Content can vary all over the map and I won't mind, but navigation ought to be as transparent as possible.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  When I go to Ralph's or some other generic supermarket, I shop like a man. When I go to Trader Joe's, it's an expedition. I really don't mind lingering there.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    If the crowd inside TJ's behaved any better than they do in the parking lot, I might linger a bit more myself. Self-absorption and a deep sense of entitlement block the aisles, making navigation a constant matter of saying EXCUSE ME!! while searching for canned beans at the wrong end of the store. The magic of that eludes me.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      I find that the vibe of every TJ's is different, and its based in large part on the clientele. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guess that your stories come from frequenting the TJ's on the westside. I've experienced exactly what you're describing with the Saturday morning yoga pants crowd at the Santa Monica TJ's. Thankfully I do most of my shopping in the much more laid back shop at Poinsettia and Santa Monica, near Target... parking is never a problem, the aisles are wide, and you rarely need to elbow anyone like you do at the 3rd and La Brea store (which is just a few blocks north and yet a wholly unpleasant shopping experience). And when I used to go to the Burbank store, it was all mellow all the time (once you got a parking space, that is).

                      To readdress my initial conceit, figuring out the specific vibe TJ's that I'm not familiar with is one of the interesting parts of shopping there... part of the fun of discovery that is fundamental to the whole store concept.

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        Not Westside at all - the only one I've been to west of Glendale was 3rd and La Brea, and yes it sure was! Eagle Rock, South Lake / Hastings Ranch / Arroyo in Pasadena, South Pas and Monrovia are my most common places to visit; South Lake is the closest to me, which is why I got excited about the new F&E in the first place since it's near there.

                    2. re: Mr Taster

                      LOL, i love the idea of Shopping "like a Man" !! -- That's so Me when ever I go to any store.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                Hi, ipsedixit!
                F&E...not nearly as much fun as either!

                There is one in Oak Park (about 4 miles north of Agoura -- in Ventura County) that is supposed to open next month or October. The shelving and lighting are in and it appears ready.

              3. Wow-my friend is going to love this news! She lives right near there, although she is in Arcadia often and can go to the Fresh & Easy there. Their tiramisu is very good btw

                1. YAY! That is great news. I live around the corner from the Arcadia location and work a few blocks away from this proposed one. I really like this easy-to-shop-in store and their layout. Perfect! They also give out $5 off a $20 purchase coupons (sometimes you have to ask)! I love the self-checkout feature!

                  1. I'm a Fresh and Easy fan. Fruit and Veggies are great. They carry a great whole wheat pizza dough. The easy check out makes it great for a quick stop.

                    1. I have been loving the new Manhattan Beach location...glad to hear that the goodness is spreading to your neck of the woods!

                      1. Do you happen to know when Fresh & Easy Pasadena is scheduled to open? I experienced my first F&E in Alhambra last weekend and liked the place. The Pasadena one is walking distance from my house so I'm looking forward to it!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Augusta

                          According to yesterday's Star-News, they're hoping it can be as early as sometime in April. While it's not a serious hardship for me to go to Arcadia, or even Eagle Rock, I'm very much looking forward to having one on one of my frequent shopping routes. Their cheap wines give TJ's a run for the money, and I love their selection of fresh meats, though some of the semi-prepared stuff is frankly weird in my opinion.

                        2. The Duarte location is opening on 2/16/09. It's at Huntington and Mt. Olive (near the 210/605 intersection.)

                          1. Fresh and Sleazy

                            This place sucks. No selection what so ever.

                            1. I appreciate the inexpensive sandwich bread. With 4 kids and many lunches, it is much better quality than the cheapie air puffed loaves at Pavilions.
                              I have only purchased a chuck roast at F&E so I can't review anything else, but it was horrible. basolutely disgusting. The connective tissue never melted down, and the flavor was wretched.
                              Limited selection, but it is a regular stop now for a fvery ew staple items.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Dutchvanobvious

                                I've bought only pork and chicken parts (thighs is what we principally consume), and those were all just fine. I'm picky about beef for the most part, and very reluctant to buy any cow bits that come in sealed plastic tubs.

                              2. I've found their meat, fish and poultry to be fairly priced and excellent. Some of their cheeses are, by other places' pricing, downright inexpensive. I like their ravioli and tortellini. Putting stuff in plastic tubs with clear-to-read Do Not Sell After Dates is very honest, unlike most other stores. Ususally checking out is fast and you generally don't have to wait in line for stuff. I've had excellent scallops, pork, steaks. Even their chicken or turkey chili in cans seems to be good quality. Let them sink in a bit and you may come to appreciate their underlying integrity and lower prices. Produce I get elsewhere. Even kefir and milk and breads are fine.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: EclecticEater

                                  Am happy to have a local F & E ,but I'm more nervous about how crowded the parking lot is now w/just Peet's and Noah's. I wanted to "run in" for a bagel on Thursday morning and I had to circle that lot 3x just to find a space. I've always been surprised that the City of Pasadena allowed such a small lot for such high traffic retailers. My only hope is that the lot is currently clogged with construction workers. I go there with some frequency when I need bagels and don't want to drive too far. Anywhere else in that 'hood to get good bagels?

                                2. I went to Fresh and Easy (Covina) yesterday for the first time and I loved it. I'm a regular at Trader Joe's and will definitely be spending some TJ $$ @ F & E from now on.

                                  All I got yesterday was onions, carrots, split peas, and a dark chocolate pudding cup (49 cents) that was TDF

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: laliz

                                    There are not that many products that entice me to Fresh and Easy away from some other places I go, e.g. I buy certain cheeses in small qtys at TJs, nuts, etc. I am intermittently willing to buy 2 # of pecans for which I will pay $9 at Costco, but Costco cheese selection being excellent is too large qtys unless we are expecting guests. But prices at Fresh and Easy sure did not impress me in the cheese or nuts/peanuts/dried fruit area, Whole Foods seem high, so I often settle for Traders cheese and nuts.

                                    Most of the F&E prepared TV dinner stuff is not very interesting to me, I haven't tried it but I've looked and read ingredients . . . but I also don't buy much prepared food in general so I'm not the good judge.

                                    But -- a couple items I tried the first trip, I loved their blueberry juice pricewise and taste, and their hummus is much better than the regular hummus at Traders, I hadn't tried store bought in a while, and I tried theirs, and then I bought Traders to give it the new test/fair shot, and F&E was much better flavor and texture for what I am looking for. There are a few different hummus products at Traders, e.g. mediterranean, which has pinenuts and may have different flavor and texture, and an organic version. I am by no means knowledgeable about the different products there, all I am saying is that the "basic regular" hummus is better at Fresh and Easy.

                                    I also like to buy by the pound rather than selecting a package of stuff, so both Traders and Fresh and Easy have that as a shortcoming.

                                    And layout wise? I don't think every Krogers/Ralphs/Food4Less is that simple either for certain items, or a Vons/Safeway. And if I really had my druthers I would have Wegmans for those of you who know how amazing a store can really be.

                                    [I won't even go into Lowes and Home Depot -- too much -- if we are going to talk about manly shopping practices and the duplication of item categories in multiple sections, the inconsistencies in the distribution within the store, the inventory mgmn (ever been to the Home Depot in Pico Rivera/Whittier?!?! it IS the worst)]

                                    1. re: MaryT

                                      F&E has its place in my life. Look around carefully as they have many things that consistently are good buys. I regularly buy organic leg thigh combos at 89 cents a pound that taste fantastic compared to Foster farms. I am not someone who buys organic foods but I cant pass this up. I am always flooded by coupons in the mailers for $5.00 off of $20.00 and $6.00 off of $30.00 purchase (which isnt hard to amass once I get inside the store) I have found specials such as name brand lactose free milk at $1.30 off of normal prices, wonderful crackers not found anywhere else but in their stores...One big item for me that I have not seen elsewhere is Arizona ice tea mix. Remember if you dont like checking yourself out skip shopping there because that's what they do. At my store someone is always at the register to help me bag my items or tend to any problems I might have.

                                      1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                        The large packages of chicken thighs @ 69¢/lb are pretty nice, too! Braised a whole package of those in onions and salsa (from TJ's!) and had food for company and leftovers for a couple of lunches.

                                        The cheap screw-top wine's not bad either...

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          The REAL beauty of F&E is that everything that expires that day is 1/2 (or more) off - I go late. I have gotten whole uncooked chickens for under $2.50. Currently, their delicious milk is $1.99/gallon - all types.

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            CORRECTION!! I must have been having a flashback here - the thighs are $1.19/lb. That's still about 50¢ per piece in an 8-piece tray. I've got a whole tray squoze into a baking dish with S&P and herbes de Provence, a little vinegar sprinkled over and some sliced onion. Cheap-eats dinner for 4 plus a couple of lunches, all for less than $5 total.

                                    2. you certainly have to cherry pick the decent items at f&e and that's only been accomplished by trial and error for me. i've had some of their pre cooked items and it's been hot and cold. for instance the chicken taste like saran wrap but the penne with roasted veggies was decent. oh, and their mocha cookies are delicious. it's like an oreo but with coffee cream center. mmmm.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: trolley

                                        I will definitely try the chicken leg thigh combo or the thighs soon, I am all about dark meat with poultry, it's making me hungry reading the posts, thanks for the tip. (And the cheap wine I will deinitely try too.) I bought a quart of their F&E brand blueberry yogurt drink, it was a little thick but very tasty, we just added milk to each serving to make it a little more like a tahn consistency.

                                        I look forward to the new one opening. Btw, I think the Duarte location opens this week too, since I go to the bike trails, Home Depot and Costco out that way, I go by there a lot.

                                      2. Does anyone know if the Pasadena branch has finally opened yet? i haven't driven by there lately.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Augusta

                                          Not yet. My office is across the street. We saw them delivering shelving late last week, and it looks like they're getting ready to stock them. Looking forward to having F&E across the street. I loved Wild Oats, and stopped shopping at Whole Paychecks after they closed the store.

                                          My big worry is the traffic. Since there is one driveway, shared by delivery trucks and customers, it makes for a noisy neighborhood as they compete for the same space. I hope they recognise this as a problem and have someone on hand to direct traffic. The backup alarms and horns are truly unnerving! (Of course, with 2 construction projects going on simultaneously, it's been pretty loud around here).

                                          1. re: Stingrae

                                            thanks for the update Stingrae. So I'm wondering if they're shooting for an early summer opening perhaps? or is that wishful thinking?

                                            1. re: Augusta

                                              They are expected to get the building hand over at the end of May so I wouldn't expect to have them open until June the earliest.

                                        2. What's the deal w/ this place? What kind of market are they supposed to be? I went in (b/c I had a gc) once and I felt like I was in a Pick N Save.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: mstinawu

                                            i"ve been to the one in Palm Desert and was quite pleased. Maybe it a location and or timing thing. Found fab 1/2 price deals and very fresh veges. Even got a coupon while inside. I'll soon try the one in Westlake Village. Go without any expectations, try the end of the day and you might be pleasantly suprised. Like any place, some stuff good some not.

                                            1. re: mstinawu

                                              They do have a bare-bones Pick'n'Save kind of feel. The main difference to me between this kind of layout and, say, Trader Joe's is that I can actually push a big cart around without constantly getting into traffic jams, and if I've been to one F&E I know how to find about anything at any other one. I looooooove TJ's to death, but I don't like the free-for-all layouts, or the self-absorbed Communing With Peanut Butter clientele, either. F&E also has no parking-lot rage whatsoever, at least not yet. Maybe when they get more popular...

                                              I buy a lot of meat and wine at F&E these days, much more than at TJ's. The prices are as good or better, almost all of their captive-label wines come with screwtops, and they have big trays of chicken thighs, drumsticks or breasts for really cheap. Eight thighs for about $3.50, an hour of marinating and grilling, and there's lunch for a week!

                                              1. re: mstinawu

                                                I've been really digging F&E recently. My main tip is to stick with F&E brands, the nationals are overpriced most of time (like everywhere).
                                                Most F&E brand products don't have preservatives or fillers. The dairy products are inexpensive by the 'new' Trader Joes standard.
                                                One of the few places to get 10 inch thin flour tortillas for mini burritos, better than TJs whose formula has gone off the mark.
                                                They have some unique kinds of bread, especially multigrain. Try the green chile sourdough - killer!
                                                To me they don't have a Pic-N-Save feel, but then I go to the Manhattan Beach branch newly remodeled to their purpose. I find supers like Vons a little offensive since their 'pretty' appearance is reflected in their high prices.

                                              2. F&E is a great resource assuming they survive. Both fresh as they say, and easy in most cases, especially for the OC & MB outposts. However, truth be told, neither TJ's, F&E or the any of the supers are suitable options for one stop shopping for the value minded. If price is no object, why not just shop Wholesome Foods or Bristol Farms?

                                                A dollop of opportunity shopping really makes a difference. Now that F&E has cut back on selection, they are offering periodic specials often worth the investment, especially for those who own a freezer. Offers in the last month or so included beautifully trimmed tri-tip for $3/lb, large fresh soups for $3/container, 99 cent asparagus and many more.

                                                OTOH, you just can't beat Grocery Outlet for wine & cheese, a veritable double edge sword as some items are so enticing they're gone in a microsecond, i.e, you snooze you lose, nuts can be a good buy there too but selection is limited. Incredible Stilton for $3/lb is a distant memory. Great Pinots for $3 had a short half life too. For Med & middle east, Wholesome Choice (Irvine) is de regeur, with Jon's a distant second. Produce is best priced and selection great at Wholesome, Jon's price is good. The supers often have attractive specials on produce, check the paper of their ads online. TJ's is a good option when selection and availability are priorities, but not generally otherwise, unless you're one of those 2 buck chuck addicts (yawn). And last but not least, don't overlook 99 Cents Only if it's along your way. Peppers & onions are often OK, and wine still appears periodically but ephemerally. I lucked into a bunch of Banrock Station liters for a buck, apparently because their eco-friendly packaging didn't sell too well.

                                                So bottom line, F&E is just one resource among many in the arsenal of the value minded shopper. It's a jungle out there, some will survive but only the fittest will thrive.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: bernardo

                                                  Not everyone has a GroceryOutlet, you know. I visited one once, and there were some interesting nonfood items and cheeses, but the produce and meat weren't anything I wanted to touch.

                                                  I don't have a Jons but do have a Superior Super Warehouse for produce. For just about everything else, It's F&E as my one-stop location for every day shopping. I also go to Target when I have a bunch of sundries to replenish.

                                                  I never go to TJ's anymore, and rarely go to 99 cent (I used to, but too often the produce is rotten).