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Aug 7, 2009 08:26 AM

Peninsula detours for unique food shopping

I'm going to be heading to Palo Alto on business so will be able to shop at places between there and SF that I don't usually get to. Some I think of off the top of my head:

Beltramo's & Weimax: hard-to-find wine, liqueurs, and liquor

Draeger's: truffle products I haven't seen elsewhere hereabouts

Gourmet Corner: biggest selection of French stuff in the area

Any other suggestions?

Beltramo's Wines & Spirits
1540 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Draeger's Supermarket
222 E 4th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

Draeger's Supermarket
1010 University Dr, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Weimax Wines
1178 Broadway, Burlingame, CA

The Gourmet Corner
873 N San Mateo Drive, San Mateo, CA 94401

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  1. Try Piazza's up the hill in San Mateo. In the Laurelwood Shopping Center, on West Hillsdale Blvd off Highway 92 exit. Very similar to Draegars, but more of a neighborhood market, and somewhat less imported goods. But still a very good place to shop.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rednails

      Piazza's is a great market but I don't think they have anything I can't get close to home.

      I don't much care for Draeger's overall, I pretty much never buy anything there except a few hard-to-find imported items.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        True. Piazza's, Bianchini's, Lunardi's and a few others all have pretty typical stuff you'd find in any market in the Bay Area. They are great markets to shop in if you live around here, but not worth making a special trip for.

    2. I work in the area and I have been meaning to check out Esther's German Bakery in Los Altos. It might be worth a stop.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mari

        They make some of the best German bread in the area.

      2. I assume you won't be stopping to eat in Palo Alto.

        1. A few other places to consider that might have some more unique finds that could make a stop worthwhile:

          Nak's at 1151 Chestnut St in downtown Menlo Park, (650) 325-2046. It's a Japanese market that also stocks goods from Holland. Odd mix, fun store. Very small, 5 minute stop. Super nice man running it. Some sake options and hit and miss on fresh fish and veggies.

          Gourmet Haus Staudt in downtown Redwood City. Owned and operated by a German family, recently handed over to the second generation. They stock lots of imported packaged goods, sausages, meats, wines, and beers from Germany. Nothing else like it in terms of variety around here.

          Chavez Market. If you go to Beltramo's, you can go a few blocks up El Camino to the big Chavez. They have one of the biggest collections of Mexican ingredients and food in the area. Great store. It's on El Camino & 5th (turn right at the Shell station).

          Up the road a little further in RWC is the British Food Centre. They have imported canned and packaged goods from the UK, plus some frozen meat pies and sausages (meh). If you like that sort of thing, it's worth a stop.

          Sigona's Market in RWC sells the best produce in the area. They are family owned and operated and stock lots of local, direct from the grower produce. They also have some good house brand olive oils, lots of smaller batch brands, and some decent cheeses. Definitely focused on local, sustainable, and organic stuff.

          If you are willing to go south from Palo Alto, Rose International Market in Mountain View is a great Middle Eastern market (20 minutes south of PA).

          There are lots of Indian stores but I have yet to find a really good one for produce. The best one for everything else is in a dying little strip mall in Foster City. The store is called India Cash & Carry.

          There is also a Persian Market in San Carlos next to Kabul Restaurant called Adel (171 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA 94070-2403 (650) 654-3340‎. They have a pretty good selection.

          Also, as an aside. If you have time to stop for a bite to eat. Do check out Refuge in San Carlos for the pastrami. Or go to Joy in Foster City for great Chinese. Both places are covered extensively on CH.

          Joy Restaurant
          1489 Beach Park Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

          Chavez Supermarket & Taqueria
          46 5th Ave, Redwood City, CA 94063

          Rose International Market
          1060 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94040

          Sigona's Farmers Market
          2345 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA

          The Refuge
          963 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070

          India Cash & Carry
          1058 Shell Blvd, D Foster City, CA

          Nak's Oriental Market
          1151 Chestnut St, Menlo Park, CA

          9 Replies
          1. re: Shane Greenwood

            I was in Namaste in Belmont last week and saw tiny Indian eggplant, okra, fresh Indian type chilis, curry leaves, turmeric roots, and sadly an empty bin marked gongura (which is what I was trying to find) in the produce section. Today I stopped in Berkeley at Indus Foods and Halal Food on San Pablo, and I can say that Namaste has a lot more to offer but no meat counter.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Good to hear, last time I was in there the stuff was not looking that great. They had the variety but it was on one of the very hot days a few weeks ago and they do not have AC. Was about 95 degrees inside and everything was looking pretty sad.

              1. re: Shane Greenwood

                I bought gongura at Namaste this morning. Fresh methi bunches (fenugreek) and drumsticks (snake gourd) also available today and not wilted.

            2. re: Shane Greenwood

              I'd check out Alhana Foods on 37th Ave. in San Mateo. The store is immaculate, the stock is extensive, well organized and turns over so nothing is old or stale. Just as an example, they have about 5 or 6 different brands of phyllo in the frig/freezer. Good olives in bulk. Interesting dried fruits and candies. All kinds of things from all over the Middle East. Here's a link to their website:

              Place link doesn't want to work for me:
              27 - 37th Ave San Mateo, Ca 94403 - Two Blocks South Hillsdale Mall

              1. re: RWCFoodie

                This store is really great, I was going to recommend it but couldn't remember the name. They have fantastic stock.

                1. re: RWCFoodie

                  Wow, never heard of this place before, thanks for the link!

                  1. re: RWCFoodie

                    While you're in San Mateo, stop by Romolo's for one of their delectable cannolis!

                    Romolo's Ice Cream Spumoni and Cannoli Factory
                    81 37th Ave, San Mateo, CA

                    1. re: alina555

                      Thanks for the info. I stopped by Romolo's and picked up half a dozen cannolis. They didn't last long with three teenagers in the house. The shell was perfect and the ricotta filling delicious,

                      1. re: alina555

                        Alhana is right next door (or a door or two down from) Romolo -- great cannolis, and nice people.

                  2. I forgot about the Penzeys store in Menlo Park. Places link's not working at the moment: