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Jun 17, 2009 06:31 PM

What do you like at Bristol Farms?

We aren't too far from the Westchester one, but I rarely go. I'm wondering what anyone loves them for - what's worth a special trip?

I recall they seemed to have a nice bunch of more exotic pancettas and salamis and things like that.

Lately have tended to buy more from Vons (for cost/convenience), Ralph's (I like the produce at the one on Sepulveda in Westchester), Gelson's (for a few certain things) and these days 99 Ranch and Marukai (for Asian stuff and fresh veggies).

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  1. The guys behind the meat counter, at least those in the South Pas store, are honest-to-Pete butchers who know meat, and who have a terrific customer service ethic. The meat ain't cheap, but in my estimation it and the help are on a par with Howie's and Marconda.

    They also have the best deli potato salad I know of, though it's expensive,

    2 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      I agree, Mr. O., I used to frequent that store for 6 years before moving west, and miss that deli & meat market. Always went there for special meat & fish dinners. Their produce was always good looking, too.

      1. re: Will Owen

        Totally agree with the meat counter rec. I've been able to find garlic cheese there, on ocassion...great in grilled cheese sandwiches!

      2. They sell bresaola, which I love and Whole Foods won't sell.

        1. Their meat, in general, is a cut above the other supermarket in Los Angeles. Gelsons has better veal but only better veal. At least some of the staff in the meat department have some decent meat training.

            1. re: azibo

              When one has Vicente Foods in the neighborhood, and their great butchers, I find no need to go to Bristol Farms. Bristol Farms failed at the Brentwood Country Mart (before City Bakery tried and failed). I recently visited the Westwood site and was unimpressed. The market was nearly empty. The food in the prepared food section looked very tired. As well, the produce section smelled nasty..too much old produce in the bins. I walked in and walked out .

              1. re: maudies5

                I am not as impressed with the Westwood location as the one in South Pas that I used to frequent. My local Gelson's is better the BF in W'wood.

                1. re: maudies5

                  Vicente Foods is superb. I'm in Brentwood at least twice a week, and have been eating a lot of Berkshire pork as a result. Their butchers know their stuff AND they work late. I found Let's be Frank dogs there, which I couldn't find at Bristol. But, since I work 1/2 mile from the Westlake Bristol, I end up going there for higher end meat and seafood. With a few limited exceptions in meat an seafood, Gelsons is just as good.

                  1. re: TomSwift

                    In regards to comparing the Westchester Bristol Farms to the Marina del Rey Gelson's, I find the beer and cheese selection to be far better at Bristol Farms. The "gourmet" cheese counter at the Gelson's is pretty sad. But I like Viktor Benes much better than Bristol Farms' bake section. Also, Gelson's "supermarket" portion of the store kicks but on Bristol Farms.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      You're right that BF's cheeses are superior to Gelsons, but I find that the Woodland Hills Whole Foods cheeses are superior to Westlake BF. A wider selection and WF has a very, very good cheese woman. She knows her cheese. Benes dances all over the pastries at both Gelsons and BF. What is the "supermarket" portion of Gelsons?

                      1. re: TomSwift

                        I find cheese depts at WF in general to be very good. Te personnel obviously varies from store to store, but if you know what you want, it's not much of an issue.

                        The "Supermarket" portion of the store is what I consider to be non-department/counter areas, like dry goods, canned products, etc. You know, the stuff in the aisles. Gelson's always seems to have a great broad inventory and the product is almost always faced up for maximum impact - I like this just because it's easier to find stuff...

                      2. re: bulavinaka

                        i agree with every word of your post, bulavinaka.
                        perfect summary.

                2. I go to the Westchester Bristol Farms because they are an easy one-stop for many things that one would find separately at certain specialty stores. They have a respectable cheese department, wine department, and decent selection of beer. It's easy to find things like decent pimenton, rose water, orange water, certain kitchen tools etc., there as well. The baked goods are just ok for the most part, and the meat department has nice cuts of Choice, but I don't know if the guys behind the counter are true butchers - most I've seen look to young to have picked up the trade. I think most Whole Foods carry a broader selection of specialty and gourmet goods, but I don't like the crowds there (and the kind of kooks WF draws), so I choose to go to Bristol Farms if I know they have what I want.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    The wine sommelier (used to be Lisa) at the Westchester Bristol Farms is really good. I also have had decent luck with ordering speciality meat at this store.

                    1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                      The wine sommelier I think is now guy named Sean. At least he was a couple months ago. He is extrememly knowledeable about vintage, origin, pairings etc and I've never had such a thorough explanation!