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Grocery Stores: A Local(ish) Shopping List

Any hidden gems, little shops, mom & pop's, you’d care to share?

It seems the general consensus around here is that we avoid poor Cousin whenever possible, and pay the occasional visit to his rich relations in La Cañada or Hastings Ranch. In addition to the well-heeled side of the Ralphs family,  likely most of us can, at some time or another, be found at a TJ’s, Whole Foods or

But surely, there must be something else within whistling distance of Altadena.

As several people have mentioned, is worth a stop. It’s right across the street from our town and features fresh spices and roasted coffee beans, nuts, a meat counter, produce, sandwiches, a cafe.  

Also, given the right time of year, they offer an abundance of locally (or regionally) grown fruit, such as apricots, grapefruit, and tangerines.

Some other worthy places to add to the list? Bliss? Roma? Hen’s Teeth Square? Where and how far do you travel for some tasteful alternatives?

Lisa Maiorana January 21, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Karin - The Good Food Market is also a local Armenian market located next to Starbucks and Vons, here is the yelp link if anyone is interested. I personally do not like them as much as Altadena Food Fair but it's a good alternative and proces are pretty much the same... http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-good-food-market-pasadena
Angela Odom January 21, 2012 at 06:48 AM
My shopping spots are Whole Foods, Sprouts, and the Farmers Markets in La Canada (primarily for honey) and Pasadena. I only go to Super King for the English Butter I've been following around for years. First TJ's had it, then Whole Foods, now Super King is the only place I can find it.
Karin Bugge January 21, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Lisa, AFF sells a dangerously delicious pastry on Saturdays. That's why I never go on Saturdays. Angela, LC Farmer's Market has an amazing cheese vendor. (English butter, eh? Will have to give that a try.)
Mitzi Shpak January 21, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Please do not overlook Oh Happy Days! our very own Altadena-based grocery that carries organic produce, dry goods, vitamins and has a home-style vegetarian cafe. OHD carries FRESH organic produce at prices much lower than Whole Foods---and you can have lunch prepared while you shop. It's right across the street from pitiful Ralph's. Ample parking in the rear.
Laura Monteros January 21, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I absolutely hate grocery shopping, and I almost never shop in Altadena since they kicked out Altadena Market at Lincoln & Altadena Dr. I used to go there when I had a short list, and still drop in to the new location for milk, bananas, etc. I have mixed feelings about Super King. I like the produce, but it's lacking in selection in other things I buy. It seems to be a wild and crazy mix between Latino and Armenian. And of course, the parking is horrendous. I do most of my shopping at Smart & Final. Good parking, good prices, good employees. They've also increased the number of non-bulk-size items they carry. Plus they have Altadena Honey EggNog during the winter holidays. For things I can't get there, I was using Vons on Fair Oaks (which among other necessities carries marzipan and almond paste), but I discovered the Altadena Ralphs is (believe it or not) much better than it was when I first moved here 22 years ago. I'd be interested in knowing more about Baja--it was the pits when it was Jacks' Apple--has it improved? Since I hate shopping, a good west side location (generally on my way home from other places) is important.
Lisa Hastings January 21, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I had no idea that Oh Happy Days! carried organic produce. Is it certified organic? If not, there is no way of knowing if it is indeed grown organically. I shop at Trader Joes about once a month for a few items. Generally, I avoid the produce grown in Mexico. I regularly shop at Whole Paycheck only because it is the only place to get certified organic produce grown in California as well as non-farmed seafood. And, the only farmers market I shop at is the South Pasadena one because they are the only one close by with certified organic produce. You cannot trust the other market vendors when they say that they use no pesticides. Even the most well-respected vendors have been known to promote their produce as chemical-free, when in fact, it is not. See this article: http://www.laweekly.com/2011-11-10/news/l-a-farmers-markets-exposed/ I don't shop at Ralphs or the other markets. Except I did buy ice at Vons during the power outage.
Susan Carrier January 21, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I find myself shopping more and more at the nearby Altadena Food Fair. Karin, what is this pastry of which you speak? I really have to gird my loins to go to battle at Super King. The parking lot scramble, shopping cart bottle necks (especially in the produce section) and (friendly) but unhelpful staff leave me stressed out. I may have to brave the crowds to search for that English butter.
Karin Bugge January 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Don't know the name of the pastry, Susan, but they're fresh and available in boxes near the cash register. I believe they sell out rather quickly. And I'm with you, gotta get prepped to face the crowds at Super King. I'm going to try out Oh Happy Days!, for sure.
Natalie January 21, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Super King have English butter, Danish butter, French butter and, I think, even butter from more easterly parts of Europe. I stock up whenever I find a parking space in less than 2 circuits. My rabbit would like to add that he appreciates the 5 packs of parsley for $1, and all the other inexpensive vegetables.
Lori A. Webster January 21, 2012 at 11:27 PM
True, Mitzi, and I'm guilty of not remembering that John has produce as well as food, which is delicious! So glad that you posted....
Nico January 22, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I love Super King for its great deals and wide selection of dried beans, rices and products such as orange flower water and those pink turnip pickles that no-one I know but me seems to love! I also am a tea-lover and find great deals for Twinings and other brands there. The produce variety is intriguing and welcome; Where else could I find fresh almonds still in their fuzzy jackets, even if I don't know what to do with them. My hubby loves yucca (cassava) root -- it tastes like a waxy-textured potato with a slightly sweet taste. Super King has it for 1/4 the price of Vons/Ralphs and it is much much fresher at Super King too.
Lisa Maiorana January 22, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Yea Nico, I have to agree w/you there. Super King has one of the best deli and meat counter's I have ever seen. The selection and prices really can't be beat. Other than trying to find a parking spot (which is hard anywhere out here) it's a great place to shop if you're on a budget and still want quality food for your family. If you're saving $1.00 per item when you and you buy 100 items, it truly adds up. Go to Ralphs or Vons anymore and you have 6 things in your cart and it's over my budget. If people don't notice that those large Grocery Store chains are more expensive then their not doing a good job looking for deals and should broaden their horizons a bit.
Angela Odom January 22, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Oh my goodness yes! Having discovered Oh Happy Day here on Patch, I've been there several times. Didn't know about parking in the rear. That has hindered my visits. I'll look for that next time...hmm, maybe later today.
Angela Odom January 22, 2012 at 07:31 PM
The English butter is near the liquor section where they also sell Paneer and other cheeses. Rich and delicious
Angela Odom January 22, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I do have a problem with the produce at Super King, I juice a lot and maybe I've gone on the wrong days but I've found produce purchased today is often wilted or bad the next. Rarely have I found kale or watercress there. They've been good for English butter and ghee.
Karin Bugge January 23, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Lisa H, I googled Whole Paycheck. (New organic produce store? Where? Where?) Don't tell anyone else I'm that naive -- it will be our secret. Angela, I'm racing Susan and you for the butter.
mister altadena January 23, 2012 at 05:02 AM
@ Karin - If I'm remembering correctly, Whole Paycheck is a nickname for Whole Foods. The idea is Whole Foods is so pricey you use your "whole paycheck" to buy groceries.
Karin Bugge January 23, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Don't rub it in. I get it now.
Revvell January 23, 2012 at 04:40 PM
OHD gets fresh produce in on Tuesdays, fyi... which doesn't mean don't go the rest of the week. It's still possibly fresher than WF's and definitely closer and less expensive.
Revvell January 23, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I purchase kale from Super King quite often. Maybe that's why you can't find it. I've got it!!! Heh!
Robby January 23, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Yeah, that cheese guy. Wow. And yeah, he has butter.

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