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Best Authentic Mexican GROCERY STORE in LA?

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  • Steph Mar 9, 2004 03:40 PM
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Would love to know the best authentic Mexican grocery stores so I can pick up some instant Combate. :-)

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  1. What neighborhood do you live in? There is a Mexican/Latino market on pretty much every corner in L.A. What is instant Combate?

    1. You might try Vallarta Market or Liborio Market. There are several in LA.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mc michael

        Also Superior and Gigante. Both are Mexican Supermarket chains that have expanded to ethnic regions of the L.A. Area. I'd suggest calling them first to see if they do carry Café Combate.

        1. re: Sam D.

          nm

      2. I was out at a Gigante in Pico Rivera and it was superb. But a little far flung. Anyone know of one -- or a branch of a comparable chain of Mexican markets -- a little closer to the downtown LA/K-town area?

        12 Replies
        1. re: jake

          ACK!! These two year old+ Poping back are killing me... Anyway, see my post below...

          Among Major markets, the Downtown L.A. and surrounding are is pretty much dominated by Jons (Not entirely Mexican, but they do service the community really well). There is also a nice big Liborio on Vermont near Wilshire... :)

          --Dommy!

          1. re: Dommy

            What's wrong with reviving 2+ year old posts? :)

            Last weekend we had lunch at Swan on Sherman Way in North Hollywood and we trucked across the street to the magnificent "El Super", which felt exactly like it did when we went into a similarly giant supermarket in Tijuana-- with the only difference being the absence of machine gun toting paramilitary mulling about.

            My favorite part-- smack dab in the middle of the supermarket was the evocatively named "Island of cheese and sausages"

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              That always cracked me up, and yes, El Super looks just like the "pelican store" (Comercial Mexicana). I like Vallarta better though.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Correction.... it was a new supermarket in Tecate, MX that I'm thinking of, though I'm sure the one you're referring to in Tijuana would feel the same.

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  I've visited super Mercados all over TJ and have never run across armed guards... in fact, the only time I've run into them in Mexico is in posh Mexico City Hotels or near the Monte in Chiapas...

                  Plus, in NO way Comercial Mexicana is close to what is available to here... CoMex has so much more freshly prepared food, all out and knowledgable help. I dream of the day of one of these LA stores opens up a Mole/recado counter...

                  --Dommy!

                  1. re: Dommy

                    I edited my prior post... it was Tacate, and the machine gun toting guards were there overseeing some kind of cash transfer operation. Let me tell you, those flimsy Brinks trucks we have here are nothing compared to the tanks they use there...

                    Mr Taster

                2. re: Das Ubergeek

                  El Super makes me cry... they took over the Gigantes which were much more in the model of their Mexican stores... now El Super follows the Superior model which is soul-less... No Vallarta here, but I'm satisfied with the Top-Valu, although not specifically Mexican owned, they GET it...

                  --Dommy!

                  1. re: Dommy

                    http://www.kvmart.com/

                    1. re: Dommy

                      I know. The Gigante on Euclid in Anaheim was a great store and then it got El Super-fied and meh. Fortunately we have Northgate Gonzalez and Jax.

                      But the El Super stores look like the old, unremodeled Comer stores like the one on Juarez in Rosarito. The new one on Constitucional in Rosarito is much, much nicer.

                      1. re: Dommy

                        Just a point of clarification here.... granted, I've not been in a lot of supermarkets in Mexico, but the original poster wanted the best authentic Mexican grocery store, which to me says El Super... it was virtually the exact same environment, the exact same feeling, as if I had stepped into a modern supermarket in Mexico. Experiential authenticity.

                        I love Vallarta too (I've gone to the one in N. Hollywood several times), but I have never seen Disneylandified food courts and fake palm trees at any supermarkets in Mexico (but then again, maybe I don't get out enough)

                        Of course if by "authentic" the original poster just meant "supermarkets selling authentic Mexican food products", then of course Vallarta fits the bill just as well as El Super.

                        Either way, I didn't read the question as meaning "which Los Angeles supermarket selling Mexican groceries do you like best", which seems to be how DU and Dommy have interpreted it.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          I think maybe you should head down south of the border, then... the stores in the nicer sections of Tijuana and Ensenada are way, way, way nicer than El Super. There's been quite a lot of remodelling done lately.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            Indeed I will!

                            Mr Taster

              2. The thing with the Mexican Supermarkets is that they seem to have deep respect for one another and rarely cross each other's turf!

                Vallarta in the Valley, Gonzalez Long Beach/OC, Superior in L.A... Cardenas in the IE. All these places are great. Although one could argue that the most MEXICAN one is Gigante, since it's actually a chain FROM Mexico.

                Like the poster above asked, where do you live? I have a map with all the biggies in the L.A./OC/IE area, You never know, there might be a great one aroudn the corner from you... urprised and have one near you... Many Westsiders have no idea how close Gigante (and their AWESOME Jalapeno Tortillas!) are... :)

                --Dommy!

                6 Replies
                1. re: Dommy

                  There's also El Super, but I only ever buy meat there.

                  There's a Superior on Lankershim in NoHo; Vallartas all over the blinking East Valley; and La Tapachulteca (La Tapa) on Van Nuys Blvd. in Van Nuys. These might be closer to K-Town.

                  1. re: Dommy

                    do you still have a map of the super markets locations?

                    1. re: la90043

                      If you're interested primarily in one supermarket chain, then go to google maps and enter, e.g.: gigante, los angeles, ca. Everything google knows about "gigante" in this area will pop up (including Joe Gigante's Lending Library -- so you might need to use a more-precise search term).

                      If Dommy no longer has her big map, it's also easy, depending on how adept you are with google, but time-consuming, to create a custom map from the results of numerous searches, where you select specific stores from various chains that interest you or even those that are in close proximity to favored taco stands, for example. If you don't know how but want to learn (sorry, if you're an expert on map-creation), start with the Maps User Guide -- http://maps.google.com/support/bin/st... And do post any interesting results so that we can all find our favorite LA Mexican groceries.

                      1. re: la90043

                        Yup... although it's HORRIBLY out of date as a ton of these stores have expanded AMAZINGLY... Instead of dealing with the distributor now, I now deal with a lot of these stores individually because they are major buyers of all manner of packaged food (Not just the Mexican stuff... although the availability of Mexican brands here have also exploded...)

                        --Dommy!

                        1. re: Dommy

                          Thank you so very much for the quick replies. Saw the posts were old but I gave it a try and the thread was reopened. Great! Dommy you distribute to latino based supermarkets? Are you an importer/exporter? Food processor? General distributor? All the obove in some way shape or form huh?

                          1. re: la90043

                            I work in media marketing currently, but worked in marketing and development in the packaged goods industry for 6 years before then, so whenever my company partners with any sort of food/grocery clients I get roped in. So I still get my fix regularly. :)

                    2. There's another Gigante a little closer - Azusa and Arrow Highway in West Covina - but that's still a schlep. There's a Farm Fresh near me in Pasadena and another on (I *THINK*) Sunset in Hollywood, but those are kinda grungy and have NO interesting coffee at all. I'm getting fond of King Ranch in Monrovia, sort of a less-gigantic Gigante. And the Cuban market in NoHo has an amazing selection of Latin American coffees, including some I used to get back east.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Will Owen

                        There is a Gigante on Peck Road, just north of I-10 in El Monte, been there at least 15 years.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          The real downside to these old threads is sometimes we wind up discussing the dead. Gigante in West Covina is of course no longer a Gigante, the Farm Fresh on Orange Grove is now a King Ranch, and very nice at that (though still not as big as the one in Monrovia), and the Cuban Market in NoHo has been boarded up for years.

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            Or the real upside is that some well informed hound comes along and updates the outdated info... ;-D>

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Indeed!

                              Mr Taster