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Advice on shops

elained Jul 30, 2013 09:41 AM

Hi all,

I have recently moved to WA (loving it so far) but being originally from Ireland I don't know the differences between the trader Joes to the whole foods.... Would a kind soul out there give me a quick over view of the super markets here?

I have been going to Redmond farmers market which is great! But some recommendations for places to buy good quality fresh fish would be greatly appreciated :)

Thanks in advance to all you hounds out there :)

  1. e
    elained Aug 4, 2013 04:48 PM

    Thanks a million guys! I'd not even heard of PCC or Met Market so I will go investigate these. Tim's seafood is pretty close to me, and I'll defo give Mutual Fish and University Seafood a look as well..

    thanks again guys! I feel much more clued up now :)

    5 Replies
    1. re: elained
      mrnelso Aug 5, 2013 12:43 AM

      Always room for more clues...
      Big John's PFI

      1. re: mrnelso
        elained Aug 5, 2013 05:58 PM

        awesome, sure keep 'em coming! and to say thanks...


        I'm sure half of you will probably know this place already, but if your over Redmond way and looking a doughnutty sugary fix, this is a great spot.... but beware, they close at noon!

        thanks again guys :)

        1. re: mrnelso
          Booklegger451 Aug 6, 2013 08:24 AM

          Awww, MrNelso, now you're giving away secrets! I had to be here for 3 years before someone clued me into Big Johns PFI. ;)

          1. re: Booklegger451
            firecracker Aug 7, 2013 11:37 AM

            It took me a lot longer than 3 years to find my way there. I still wouldn't have discovered this hidden gem if it hadn't been for a gingershelly post on this board. Now I'm there a couple of times or more a month!

            1. re: firecracker
              c oliver Aug 10, 2013 01:02 PM

              I found it while visiting and a friend wanted gigante beans. I googled and found it. What a treasure! We're returning next week and it will be on our regular route of dim sum at Jade Garden, then Uwajimaya and then Big John's.

      2. k
        kaleokahu Aug 3, 2013 08:13 PM

        Hi, Elaine:

        George's Deli in DT Seattle for E. European charcuterie and packaged products.


        1 Reply
        1. re: kaleokahu
          elained Aug 4, 2013 04:51 PM

          o lovely! thanks :)

        2. terrier Aug 3, 2013 05:47 PM

          Uwajimaya is your best bet for fish on the East Side. It serves communities for whom fish is a staple protein. Mutual Fish is great but I'm not sure it's really worth the drive from Redmond under most circumstances.

          Others have covered the supermarket angles.

          1. p
            PAO Jul 30, 2013 11:19 AM

            I think the two best places for fresh fish are Mutual Fish on Rainier Ave.South and University Seafood & Poultry in the University District. But those may not be close to where you are if you're going to the Redmond Farmers Market. Supermarkets? There's the national chain, Whole Foods, if you can stand their founder's politics. PCC is the local co-op, but don't let "co-op" scare you away--its newer stores are excellent. Both WF and PCC focus on organic food. Met(ropolitan) Market is also locally owned and excellent--THE place to buy peaches during peach season; they also focus on other top end fruits on a seasonal basis. Any of the Town & Country chain (also locally owned) is excellent--they frequently go by the name "Central Market". Since ownership is Asian American, their Asian foods section is much better than any of the others other than Uwajimaya and the smaller Asian grocery stores in the ID. Also one of the few groceries where I'm willing to buy seafood. QFC used to be locally owned, but alas, is now part of the Kroger chain. May still be the best of the national chains along with Whole Foods, but I'm sure others may have other opinions. I usually buy fish at a fish monger's. Since I live in NE Seattle, that's University District Seafood & Poultry. Also a good place to buy reasonably priced poultry.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PAO
              bourbongal Aug 2, 2013 08:59 PM

              PAO is right on all counts = Mutual Fish, University Seafood, Met Market & PCC are all very good. Can't go wrong with almost any product in any of these establishments.

            2. c
              christy319 Jul 30, 2013 11:15 AM

              Whole Foods is a large, full service grocery with an emphasis on natural foods, humanely raised meats, organics, etc. I love the meat and cheese selections there, and the salad/hot food bars. I believe they have banned GMOs from their shelves though I'm not sure if that's gone into effect yet. Their nickname is Whole Paycheck because it's easy to spend a lot there, though I find prices on their house brand quite reasonable.

              Trader Joe's is more about great prices on pantry staples--they don't have a deli or butcher, and most of the produce is packaged/bagged and from CA or elsewhere. Their food is generally without preservatives or crappy stuff in it, so TJ's kind of falls under the banner of natural foods.

              Certainly they are both worth checking out. I patronize both.

              1. s
                sweetpotater Jul 30, 2013 10:29 AM

                Where do you live? That would help...

                5 Replies
                1. re: sweetpotater
                  elained Jul 30, 2013 11:22 AM

                  What an eejit... Sorry! I live in Redmond :) but I am not to worried about going out of my way for good food! Just looking for a good general opinion on shops and supermarkets, so I don't make to many more blunders :/

                  1. re: elained
                    sweetpotater Jul 30, 2013 01:29 PM

                    Metropolitan Market has both staple and specialty items, good produce. That's my default, but it is overpriced.

                    PCC is good for organic produce. I like their prepared foods counter.

                    QFC has good sale items, but I don't buy meat there, and produce is so-so. They have the only good rotisserie chicken of all the places I mention.

                    Safeway is relatively inexpensive for staple processed items; I avoid the meat and produce there.

                    Trader Joe's is cheap, best for frozen items and snacks and packaged staples like yogurt and pasta. Their meat is not consistently good, nor is their produce, which is sold in prepackaged amounts.

                    Uwajimaya is fun, not as cheap as Asian markets I was used to back east.

                    I get most of my produce and all my meat from the farmers market from spring through fall.

                    1. re: elained
                      firecracker Aug 4, 2013 02:33 PM

                      Elaine, try Tim's Seafoods (across the drive from the QFC) in Kirkland Parkplace. The fish is usually wild caught (not farmed), a little pricey and impeccably fresh! They're also concerned about sustainability.

                      I agree with sweetpotater on getting fresh produce from the farmer's markets as much as possible. I also like Yakima Fruit Market on Bothell Way. The Poage family has owned and worked this stand for 75 years and they are big fans of Skagit Valley and Eastern Washington produce as it turns warm and fresh everything is at its very best. The Market opens the first Tuesday or Wednesday of March and closes by the first weekend of November. After that it's supermarket stuff for a few months :(

                      1. re: firecracker
                        sweetpotater Aug 5, 2013 03:46 PM

                        Ballard farmers market is year-round.

                        1. re: sweetpotater
                          firecracker Aug 5, 2013 05:44 PM

                          It is and that's a good thing. The drive and parking make it not so ideal though.

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