When researching supermarkets and grocery outlets to visit whilst in San Francisco and the Bay area one would imagine that you would be spoilt for choice.
Supermarkets as we know them in Europe are an endangered and rare species, here in one of the most foodie cities in the USA.
Many chains such as Kroger's, Albertsons and Safeway have or are abandoning the city for the suburban areas around the city with parking and easy access form the major roads and being replaced by the more specialized, new generation stores such as Berkeley Bowl, Wholefoods and Trader Joe's and soon to open Fresh and easy [ Tesco].
These new Generation of grocery stores are offering very little in the way of the more well known brands such as Kellogg's and Betty Crocker, but more locally produced artisan products, such as bread from the Acme Bakery, Pancake and waffle mix under the Bette's diner brand both of which are situated in Berkeley close to the city.
Even when looking for something simple like pasta sauce you are faced with a multitude of products with unknown labels and maybe only one of the major brands such as Ragu .
This is all very well ,unless you are on a weekly budget and just need to buy the essentials . Its great for foodies but becomes expensive otherwise.
Having said all that the new generation stores that are replacing the major multiples seem to be serving the local neighbourhood very well.
One such place is a Berkeley Bowl . Both of these stores are situated in Berkeley and have been the highlight of my trawl of the Bay Area.
Berkeley Bowl west is situated at 920 Heinz avenue Berkeley 94710 CA.
This store is a foodie mecca, from the moment you enter you are greeted with the patisserie, with its own pastry chef in tow, it is not long before we are trying the new speciality chocolate chip scones, recommended if you drop by.
moving through the store you discover various food treats such as the hot and cold deli and take out meals, a soup station, olive bar , nuts and dried fruits to buy in bulk, the most amazing produce section i have seen from all my recent travels, with every conceivable vegetable, mushroom, potato or fruit you could imagine, and organic too.
The grocery aisles are packed with an array of products not seen in any other supermarkets, this is where i find a multitude of non typical branded American products.
In particular the home baking section here has changed from your typical Betty Crocker to a more artisan product with the emphasis on the packaging. Brown paper bags with very simplistic labels and all natural ingredients, also gluten free is everywhere, with Newman's featuring in every category.
Another area that is seeing huge growth is the pasta sauce fixture, here on the west coast it has seen growth from the smaller producers that are starting to push for more shelf space from the larger brands such as Ragu and Bertolli .
This store has so much to offer this up and coming area, for foodies and students alike, you can get everything here from general grocery, to fresh meats, fish most of which is from a sustainable source, to your cup cake kit or just a bowl of olives and of course your sourdough, famous in this part of the world.,
When you come to San Francisco you expect to find good food and wine but on this trip i have found out that there is a growing culture here of budding foodies , culinary genus, quality neighbourhood stores , and some amazing restaurants, which you would need a year to visit all of them, and i have only scratched the surface.
I'm sorry to say that i never got to see the up and coming trend of the food cart scene due to the weather, sunny California they say . Oh well another time.
for this blog i have listed below some of my favourites for this trip and once back in the UK will expand on, but if your in San Francisco make sure to drop by some of them if you can.
- Bristol farms - http://www.bristolfarms.com/
- Draegars markets San Mateo - http://www.draegars.com/
- Berkeley bowl west - http://www.berkeleybowl.com/
- Chez Pannisse - http://www.chezpanisse.com/
- Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery - http://www.bouchonbistro.com/
- Bettes diner Oakland - http://www.bettesdiner.com/
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