Heaven is Northgate Market
I stopped into Northgate Market in El Monte today to grab a few things. I was in heaven. Fresh aquas (watermelon, strawberry, etc.), tortilla chips and salsas made in house, good prices on fruits and veggies, and a hot food bar with all kinds of Mexican food. Everything looked delicious. Groceries were cheap, too. I love this place.
3930 W Rosecrans Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250
722 N Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA
Funny you should mention Del Real Foods. I've mentioned in another topic how I found their tamales FAR superior to anything I've bought in any nearby store. Too bad the local Northgate doesn't carry them AFAIK (Food4Less and Costco do). The steam table ones (I think are from La Indiana and) have probably been 'in the supply chain' too long.
Now if we can only get someone to relocate the fresh herbs Away from the mist sprayer - rather they would be a little wilted than moldy :-(. Papalo and hoja santa are on my list but are hard to find ....
Funny you should mention Del Real tamales. They ARE good, very good. The masa is incredibly light. I had one for lunch on Friday andthere are 4 more in the freezer here at home :-) Del Real's slasa quemada is very good as are their carnitas.
The herbs in the SD store are in a floor display and not by the misters. Ours always look a tad bit wilted but a short soak in some water at home almost always brings them back.
I know you're in LA, but the Northgate in San Diego is fabulous.It was their flagship store for a while, don't know if it still is. I've been in love with it since it opened about 3 years ago. I'm a confirmed old Mexiphile do a lot of Mexican cooking (and teach some Mexican cooking classes too) and this is always my first stop for ingredients.
Love their panaderia, and their bar cakes with fruit on top are surprisingly good. The flavor on their bollilos is pretty good, tho' the texture is a bit too airy.
Love their cheese counter, love their masa sin preprarada but I've found better regular masa elsewhere in SD.
Their produce is often better than what I can find elsewhere, except the farmers markets. Prices on produce are very good making it very easy and attractive to buy a little bit of something unfamiliar to try at home. Fresh chile selection is outstanding and quality is usually good to very good. Dried chile selection is somewhat disappointing. Usually a very good selection of harder to find fresh herbs such as, for instance, papalo.
Unlike DiveFan I've had pretty good luck with their meats. And since I have a large inventory of Mexican recipes designating specific Mexican cuts of meat, the Northgate meat counter makes it easy to get what the recipe is actually specifying rather than subbing.
Much of their prepared food is actually not made in house but comes frozen from Del Real Foods.
Keep exploring, Northgate provides a lot of options
"Groceries were cheap, too."
I guess you shop at the expensive national chains a lot :-).
I agree on the produce section - the prices are good and the quality is equal to (and often better than) most nearby stores IMO. The prepared foods, fruit drinks and bakery items are deservedly popular at the Northgate near me. Unless I'm in need of a specialty item, I don't care for the (slightly overpriced) meat and especially (defrosted) seafood departments. Skip the rest of the groceries and head for Costco or F&E for better value.
Besides Northgate, I include Big Saver Foods, Valu Plus Food Warehouse and occasionally El Super in my regular discount/chain Latino market rotation.
Big Saver Foods
14310 Hawthorne Blvd, Lawndale, CA 90260
3321 W Century Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90303
3828 Peck Rd, El Monte, CA 91732
Hi, DiveFan. How'd you know? Yes, I do tend to shop at Ralphs, Pavillions, Vons and Trader Joes, however my preference is for smaller ethnic markets, particularly Persian, Armenian or Mexican markets. I just discovered one in Pasadena called Baja King today!
Another place that's worth checking out is Galleria Market, which is a Korean supermarket chain.
Thanks so much for posting! I'm so glad to see that I'm not alone in my love for Northgate! Can't wait to go back! :)
Stopped at Northgate a few weeks ago for the first time and tried to compare the prices with another Mexican chain called Vallarta Supermarkets here in California. Very similar but a little bit more in prices especially in the prepared foods section. Producewise, it's comparable. My favorite is Value Plus in Lawndale for convenience and for the special sales. Their meat quality is subpar to mainstream supermarkets but their produce prices are more superior. Like you mentioned, skip the regular groceries and go to Food4Less for better quality and selection.