middle eastern/fresh produce in the east bay
i have recently moved to Hercules, and having a really hard time finding a good market comparable to my favorite ones on the peninsula: Dean's Produce, Burlingame Farmers Market (related to Taraval FM - my dad's favorite), Draegers, Lunardis, Mollie Stone. There is nothing but Safeway and Luckys. I drive to Lunardis which is about 20 minutes away, but it would be great to find something closer. Berkeley Bowl is great, but somehow i find it very unfriendly. any ideas?
Gotcha. I can't speak to their produce, but I've had the best luck with Middle Eastern products at Oasis on Telegraph in Oakland. Very cheap olives. Great selection of desserts too, and they hand make their filo dough. This might be too big a trip for you, but it's worth it.
There's also a few places (3 IIRC) on San Pablo, 1 within one block north of University and two a few blocks walking distance to the south. All places are on the east side of the street. Check dates on everything--- one of the two places south of University has had a staggering selection of expired cheeses (Kashkaval, Halloumi) in the past. Milan International, on University, is an Indian grocery, but they have tons of cheap bulk spices you might want.
There are some Mexican markets in Pinole and San Pablo that probably have better produce than major chain supermarkets. There's probably someplace serving the Filipino community.
99 Ranch has a different selection of produce than Safeway et al.
How does Middle Eastern fit in there?
re: Robert Lauriston
that was a rather broad question :) i probably should have created 2 categories: 1) balkan/middle eastern markets and 2) good supermarkets. 1) a place that carries a variety of olives, feta and other balkan cheeses, bulk spices, nuts, unflavored kefir, jarred roasted peppers, frozen items like burek, some produce, etc. 2) a good supermarket with butcher, fishmonger, deli and bakery.
Middle Eastern, check out Zand (Persian) on Solano in Albany, Middle Eastern (Persian) on San Pablo just south of University, and Indus Foods (international halal, has some Balkan stuff) on San Pablo a block and a half north of University.
There's a Balkan market / butcher in Oakland, haven't made it over there myself:
I think this is associated with them: http://suhomeso.com/index.html