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Aug 24, 2009 12:27 AM

Does anyone enjoy shopping at Gelsons market as much as I do?

For years I have enjoyed shopping at Gelsons Markets in Encino and Tarzana. Their stores in Calabasas, Northridge, Sherman Oaks, Century City and North Hollywood are nice too.

It seems that when you are a Gelsons customer you get spioled and nothing else will do.

For some items I shop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. On rare ocassions I shop at Ralphs and Vons.

Gelsons has excellant meats, produce, service deli and wolf gang puck. Benes bakery is also very good.

Prices for regular groceries are competetivly priced to Ralphs and Vons. Gelsons service deli, produce and meats may be expensive but they are much better than other places.

Why do so many people hate Gelsons and make comments like Gelsons is just an overpriced Ralphs? I find it that people are ignorant.

Whole Foods has rude employees and the food isn't as fresh ans Gelsons. Trader joes is good for certain frozen items, fresh squezed juices and wines. Trader Joes isn't good for that much elese. Whole Foods is for that unique item that you can't find anywhere else.

I hadn't been in a Ralphs in a while and I was very very dissapionted. Last night while visititing a friend in Pasadena I went into a Ralphs on Lake Ave. He wanted me to pick up some items. At the Ralphs on Pasadena on Lake I left the store empty handed and depressed.

The Ralphs in Pasadena didn't carry anything except for cheap brands of wine that were way overpriced. I was going to get some grapes and they didn't look fresh or even taste sweet.

Today on my way to the beach I stopped at Ralphs in Calabasas. The Calabasas Ralphs was so poorly stocked and carried hardly any specialty items. The Calabasas Ralphs didn't have any fresh fruit, doesn't carry juice evolution juices and was stocked with basic products.

I ended up going out of my way to Gelsons Calabasas.

Even many of thier fresh fare stores are a joke.

Whole Foods I find to be just an okay store. I have had a love hate relationship with Whole Foods.

Ralphs prices have gotten very high. Even high than Gelsons for some things.

When I tell people I prefer Gelsons they think I'm a snob. People say things like you are overpaying for your produce at Gelsons. I tend to dissagree.

Everytime I go to Whole Foods I find rude employees and produce and meets that don't look or taste fresh. Why do people love Whole Foods so much? I'm talking about Whole Foods large stores in Thousand Oaks, glendale, Venice, 3rd/fairfax and Santa Monica.

Vons is a little better than Ralphs. Vons actually has better produce and more selection of unusual grocery items.

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  1. What do you think about Fresh & Easy markets?

    3 Replies
    1. re: HBfoodie

      You mean Fresh & Sleazy.

      Half the stuff they don't have and the other half is precooked crap.

      1. re: HBfoodie

        Their meat and fish are first raate and reasonable. I've had good chicken there. I like their scallops and their other fish, very fresh with expiration dates that are truthful. Cheese prices are also reasonable. They have good frozen pizzas and excellent fresh pasta such as tortellini or ravioli. Their kefir is good and their milk is fine. Spices are reasonable priced. Getting out of the store at the checkout always flows smoothly. So those who put this place down are missing out. Try their baby lamb chops or their scallops and then comment.

        1. re: EclecticEater

          Their wild-caught salmon is cheap(ish) and wonderful, and those big eight-packs of chicken thighs for under $4 are to me Instant Party - even if we don't have company I'll season them and load'em up in the hinged grill basket and have a quick supper plus lunch for a week.

          I really like their cheap wines, especially the ones in the $4-$8 range. However, those seem to be disappearing, and I can't help wondering whether they just sold out sooner than they'd expected, or are they pulling a bait-and-switch? Easy to be suspicious nowadays...

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I live just about equidistant between the Silverlake Gelsons, Ralphs and the Vons at Virgil and Sunset. I shop at all three, usually for different things. Gelsons is indeed the winner for fish, meat (depending on what sort of meat I'm looking for - just try and get a decent piece of fatty pork at Gelsons), fowl, cheese, olives - that sort of thing. But you pay a price for it. I've done price comparisons and can't imagine how you came to the conclusion that Gelson's prices are on par with Ralph's and Vons. Except for the occasional sale, Gelsons is often as much as 50% more expensive for the same thing. I would never buy any sort of canned or pre-packaged or household goods at Gelsons. It would be ruinously expensive. Both Vons and Ralphs often have as good, sometimes even better, selections of fresh produce as Gelsons, at much lower prices. I often also shop at A-Grocery Warehouse - a mostly Vietnamese market in Echo Park that is better and cheaper than any of the other three, but only for some specific things where the quality is as good if not better.

          2 Replies
          1. re: estone888

            estone888 -
            buy Planet laundry detergent at Ralphs or Whole Foods and you pay $2.00 more than you do at Gelsons, $4.00 more if it is on sale, and the sale occurs about every 6 weeks. While salmon is more expensive at Gelson's, you have many versions, wild caught, farm raised, etc., yet have you seen what salmon looks like at Ralphs - it is a joke. You would be better off buying canned salmon.
            Produce at Ralphs not dubbed Fresh Fare is a joke, aka Trader Joe's quality. But the prices at Fresh Fare are comparable to Gelson's, and of course they never benefit from the Tuesday sale flyers - only the regular Ralphs stores get those prices.
            Would not dare buy meat at Ralphs as much of it is select grade, not even Choice, and definitely not prime.
            I feel you get what you pay for, including the mostly friendly staff, or at least at my local one here in Sherman Oaks. And the deli takeout counter and salad bars - no close comparison at Ralphs.
            I don't mention canned goods because I don't buy them, period, unless it is tuna, in which case I go to WFM like I do for their fresh Empress Valley salsas, when they have them in stock.
            And to the poster above referring to the wine at TJs, please, those are largely wines that no one else would carry. Go to a good quality local wine shop and you can find wines of way better quality for similar prices.
            No reference to Vons because they are so far away to warrant packing a lunch to get there.

            1. re: carter

              Carter, you highlight one of the problems of intellegent shopping in SoCal. Products that are recognized brands and canned or otherwise packaged (even imported) will be of the same quality whether purchased at Gelson, Von's, WF, Bristol, Costco, Smart & Final or anywhere else (assuming reasonable shelf life and rotation). For these items price comparision is the key IMO. For fresh foods, meats, seafood, produce, service deli and the like, with rare exceptions, the high end markets are the only answer (excluding farmer's markets). Jim's Fallbrook Market is exceptional for meats and seafood (the only place close by I've found with REAL sand dabs) and Vicente Foods in Brentwood is a dynamite local market if you live in Brentwood (which, unfortunately, we don't) and they have real butchers who will cut Birkshire pork to order. I think it really boils down to service and knowledge (the Von's close to us don't even have butchers) and even at Gelson's I asked the fish guy where the wild Alaskan salmon came from and he replied "Alaska." Which river, I asked, and he confessed he had no idea. The seafood manager also was clueless. So to the point: You've hit the nail on the head that there is no one-stop solution to cost-effective, top quality shopping. We are doomed to multi-market shopping. I yearn for the days of Jurgensen's.

          2. Gelsons is a nice, clean store, no doubt. Friendly staff, too. I didn't notice that the prices were a whole lot higher than the major chains, but never did a lot of shopping there. Whole Foods is pretty much for wealthy masochists. Being neither, I only went once. Fresh and Easy? None close, and a long drive makes it less Easy. Trader Joe's? Not a full range of items, infamous parking lots .

            There are plenty of places that have good, less-pricey produce. Fresh because of high turnover rate, too. Signage may be in Spanish, Korean, or "other", but this is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

            Hey, does Gelsons have a bin of pick-your-own squid?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Akitist

              AKitist- The good news is that Gelson's does NOT have a pick-your-own selection of squid!!!

            2. I love my Gelsons in the Palisades, the best meat market & fish counter in the area, as long as you don't mind paying for it - but you do get what you pay for.

              Tonight will be serving some prime top sirloin roasts. The whole weekend was a seafood feast of lobster & clams. Super fresh and really good.