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Jacksonville, FL


Rachel Perlow
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Going kind of backwards. Red Chilies is on Baymeadows. I think it's pretty good. Our dentist's wife (who is from India) prefers Cilantro in Mandarin - but that is really far away from us (and not near any places where we have to run errands).

Ethnic specialty stores - Indian - east Asian - central and south American - etc. - are scattered all over the greater JAX area. They are mostly stores that cater to average people - not "gourmet stores" ("tiendas" - not Dean & DeLuca). So you will find ingredients that average people use in average ethnic cooking. Whatever you can't find here - you can buy on line. And your choice of stores will depend on where you work/live (for example - there's a relatively large east Asian grocery store on Southside just a mile or so north of where you'll be working). You don't want to spend $10 worth of gas for something that costs $1.99!

Publix will be your "go to" grocery store for everyday shopping (what it carries in terms of more unusual stuff depends on the neighborhood - it's easier to get a "Jewish" brisket in some - fresh bok choy in others - since there is a Publix on every corner - the stores tend to cater to the specific demographics of the neighborhoods where they're located). Fresh Market has - until recently - had much better meat - but now Publix (at least in certain stores) is fighting back with a higher end meat department. I don't eat much beef - so I am not the best person to give opinions about this (I do tend to prefer Fresh Market for what little beef I buy). Don't expect to find "prime beef" anywhere here. There is a small local butcher shop in Mandarin - forget the name (went there once - it is not worth the 50 mile round trip for me). Whole Foods hasn't opened yet (is supposed to open later this year) - and the store will be about 25 miles from where I live. I don't know how much shopping I'll be doing there.

The best place for "everyday" cheese is Costco (and I don't mean large packs of Kraft singles - there's a nice cheese selection). For higher end/exotic cheeses - you need mail order (I use fromages.com - but have been disappointed lately since it is impossible to import raw cheese into the US - guess I will have to wait until we go to Paris in the fall to get some raw Epoisses). There are artisan bakeries in various parts of town. Ours here at the beaches just closed. Don't expect anything like what you'd find in New York - or La Brea bakery (not enough sales volume for the most part when it comes to bread - which is to be expected in a geographically large metro area of about a million people). OTOH - there are places I know about - but don't go to - like a place on University Blvd. that supplies a lot of high end restaurants - by the time I get myself in gear and arrive at 2 pm - they are usually sold out. We do go to Costco at least once a week - and Total Wine too (they're within "spitting distance" of one another - about a 25 mile round trip from where we live).

I think you get the general idea. There are lots of places - but some will be pretty far from where you live/work (depending on where you live/work). Really high end stuff is hard to find - or doesn't exist. OTOH - how many times have you driven to Lobel's to buy prime beef? For 99% of your cooking - you shouldn't have any problems. And for the other 1% - the internet works fine. Note that we chose to live out at the beaches - where our golf is a mile away - and non-everyday food shopping is a much longer drive. I play golf more often than I shop for food :smile: . Robyn

Edited by robyn (log)
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Yeah, I think I'm coming to the same conclusion. I will find most of what I need in Jax and I will order what I can't find on the web. I can get a little obsessive about sourcing this stuff because we have an embarrassment of riches in the Philadelphia area. OTOH, you can get almost anything on the web. The aforementioned Lobel's is on the web. Did you know you can even order Poilane bread straight from the bakery in Paris? I'm not going to spend that kind of money on bread but it's nice to know that it's available.

My wife gave me some perspective the other night after she read my last post on this thread. She turned to me and she said "You know, it's not like we're moving to Botswana!". We both burst out laughing. I need to relax :smile:

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