Hidden Gems: City Discount on Polk [San Francisco]
City Discount is a shop based on a model that my grandmother would recognize. It reminds me a lot of the Fruitery, the produce shop on Main Street in the town where I grew up, a family-owned place where the proprietors carry your basket and select your produce, using their expert judgment to select what is the very best mango or tomato that day.
You don't shop at City Discount because they've got the lowest-priced reamer or paella pan (though the prices overall can be pretty reasonable). I shop here because the owners source carefully and well, and if I'm shopping for a food mill, I know that any employee I'm speaking with has tried everything on offer and has road-tested advice. Since I'm lucky enough for a $1 price difference on a lime squeezer to not make a huge dent in my well-being, I'd rather shop here.
They mostly sell cooking devices, but have a small (mainly European) packaged-goods food section. I've been a regular lately after discovering they have Cipriani egg noodles--the quality and bite has really made an improvement in quick week-night dinners, and make even olive oil/garlic simplicity feel like something special.
Some other grocery items I noticed today: a few different types of cookies, Biscoff speculoos spread, As do Mar tuna in olive oil and a few types of Spanish conserves, Antica Enotria tomato sauce. We talked shop about olive oil for a bit. They carry a few Spanish and Italian brands as well as at least one unfiltered oil. She recommended that I try Monte Pollino olive oil, the one she uses as at home (which apparently some Chowhounds like as well: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/481954).
Despite the fact that she has about 50 years of accumulated wisdom on me, the proprietress insisted on carrying my purchases to the register.
Address + details: https://plus.google.com/1080885199957...
This reminds me of a curious experience I had in Paris last year in a produce store there. I pulled a plastic bag and proceeded to select my produce. The proprietor let loose a volley of shouted "&@^!" which I translated to mean "STOP, you Stupid American!"
He then selected my produce for me, and looked at me for indications of when to stop.
OK, so I learned something. CHs, don't be gauche!
BTW, the little melon wrapped in tissue was $7! But it was the most unbelievable melon I've tasted in my life.