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infernooo

Good shops/grocers in SF South Bay/Peninsula

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Hi everyone,

I'm currently staying in Milpitas, so I was wondering if anyone knew somewhere nearby (San Jose, Santa Clara etc) that sells good quality fruits and yogurts? I went to ranch 99, but the fruit was mediocre, and the yogurt mass produced crap.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

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I like the yogurt at Trader Joe's. (The Greek style as well as the FAGE Total Greek yogurt which is excellent - I prefer the whole milk but there is also the non-fat)

Here is a list of the Farmer's markets in the Bay area.

I have been to the one in Union City and found the produce to be excellent (two years ago).

I have been told the Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill and Hayward markets are also very good.

There were a couple of cheesemakers at the Union City market that had some lovely cheeses and I am pretty sure one had yogurt also.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Thanks Andie! I will have to visit Trader Joe's and will have a look at those farmers markets!

Being an Aussie, I have no idea who the various chain stores are, so I am assuming Trader Joe's is a chain store (the name kind of sounds that way :-) ).

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maybe a moderator can change the title of this thread as it may be misleading. milpitas is most definitely NOT socal :smile: .

so if someone can change it to norcal or bay area, that might help the search.

i do agree with andie though, trader joe's has great dairy products at very reasonable prices. their brand of butter is $1.99/pound compared with a minimum of $3.50/pound at the local safeway or albertsons.

ranch 99 won't have great dairy products because it is a chinese chain. the chinese aren't really known for their love of dairy items :raz: .

you can always check out "whole paycheck" (whole foods) as there are lots in the area.

there are also some year round farmers' markets. I think the majority of which are located in San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Mountain View, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale which are all a quick drive from Milpitas. You can probably get decent fruit/vegetables there.

here's a link, hope it works that gives locations for farmers' markets, etc.

other than that, i think there are so many little ethnic groceries (like in the other thread where you asked about mexican stores) that have good/cheap produce to check out that you'll be kept busy. el camino real in sunnyvale/santa clara has a ton of korean markets and also indian groceries.

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Hi there Alan!

My mistake - sorry about the miscorrect usage of the term - that's what you get when a non-local tries to sound in the know :-), a big mistake for an aussie visiting the US for the first time!

Thanks for the recommendations, I see what you mean about Ranch99 being chinese and thus having crappy dairy - very true from what I saw. I will definately check out El Camino real, the farmers markets and trader joes.

Cheers.

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no worries, mate! i know you're just too busy eating shrimp on the barbie and drinking fosters to fully understand that you're living in norcal :laugh::laugh::laugh: (hope you got that i'm kidding)

at any rate, here's the Trader Joe's website, so you can find a location near you!

and Whole Foods too.

how long will you be in the area, and where are you from in australia? i have a friend in sydney, and i have to say that the freshness of the food and produce there is something lacking here (even though we live near where quite a bit of food is grown for the entire united states!!!).

don't know if you're familiar with el camino real, but it is a VEEEEEERRRRRYYYYYY LOOOOOOOOOONG road (i think there are segments all the way down in socal 400 miles away)...the section i'm referring to is a length that runs east/west between Mary Avenue and the Airport. maybe someone else can correct me if i'm wrong, but that's where i've seen the concentration of korean and indian subcontinent based groceries.

best,

alana

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infernooo: Welcome to California, Mate! Yeah, I was confused for a few seconds about the "SOCAL" title. And 99 Ranch does have branches up and down the state.

ranch 99 won't have great dairy products because it is a chinese chain.  the chinese aren't really known for their love of dairy items  :raz: .

Yeah, unfortunately I have to agree with both of you about 99 Ranch despite being a Chinese myself and a fan of 99 Ranch market. The dairy products that you expect cannot be found in 99. And their fresh vegetables/produces are just okay, sometimes so-so, sometime outright crappy. You need to be careful on what to pick. I have bought rotten lychee from them before. :angry: I only go there to shop for meat, poultry, seafood and other products that they carry a good variety of.

I also like the yogurt and fresh carrot and orange juice from Trader Joe's.

don't know if you're familiar with el camino real, but it is a VEEEEEERRRRRYYYYYY LOOOOOOOOOONG road (i think there are segments all the way down in socal 400 miles away)...the section i'm referring to is a length that runs east/west between Mary Avenue and the Airport. 

Yeah, El Camino Real is really LONG! Like 400 mile long going down all the way to true SOCAL. In present day they call it Highway 101! :smile: Now Caltrans has hung some model mission bells every few miles on some posts along the whole King's Highway. I have seen them from SLO up to around San Jose. Not sure how far down they started. And they seemed to be there only in recent few years as I don't recall seeing them before.


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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I dunno about what stores to go to in that area since I am a bit north of you, but if you can find the St. Benoit yogurt, it's about as close to homemade as I've ever had. Kind of pricey though. One yogurt that I like to eat with granola is the creamy Strauss yogurt. You can pretty much find that anywhere, including at the aforementioned Trader Joe's I think.

Also, there are some shops around here that make their own yogurt. I think there's an Indian store near Milpitas where I've gotten quarts of yogurt, but I can't remember the name. You might try to find a Greek grocery as well.

For good produce, definitely hit the farmer's markets. Pricier than the supermarket but also better.


I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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no worries, mate!  i know you're just too busy eating shrimp on the barbie and drinking fosters to fully understand that you're living in norcal  :laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh:  (hope you got that i'm kidding)

at any rate, here's the Trader Joe's website, so you can find a location near you!

and Whole Foods too.

how long will you be in the area, and where are you from in australia?  i have a friend in sydney, and i have to say that the freshness of the food and produce there is something lacking here (even though we live near where quite a bit of food is grown for the entire united states!!!).

don't know if you're familiar with el camino real, but it is a VEEEEEERRRRRYYYYYY LOOOOOOOOOONG road (i think there are segments all the way down in socal 400 miles away)...the section i'm referring to is a length that runs east/west between Mary Avenue and the Airport.  maybe someone else can correct me if i'm wrong, but that's where i've seen the concentration of korean and indian subcontinent based groceries.

best,

alana

Haha, nice.

Thanks for that, I am planning to have lunch at Khanh's (supposedly one of the best Vietnamese restaurants around, but then again I suppose it depends on who you ask), then head over to Trader Joes - will report back tomorrow on it!

I'm only here for 2 weeks - last week and this week, so my time is almost up :-(. It has been a lovely trip (although very busy as it's for business), my first time in the US, so some things seem strange, but in general a very positive experience so far. The weather here has been just amazing, some of the best I have ever experienced.

I'm from Sydney, and some of our produce is outstanding, but I have been trying to make comparisons since I've been here. One thing for sure is that the local Cantaloupe (we call it Rock Melon) is noticably better than ours - much more fragrant and flavourful. The strawberries I have had so far are a bit of a let down, but that could just be where they were sourced from. Nectarines are about equal, peaches are definately better here, pineapple is quite different - sweeter but not as strong a "pineappley" flavour as in Australia (the best pineapple in AU comes from up north where it is hot year round). The apples aren't as good here as in AU, but that could be because it is not prime apple season, whilst it is in AU at the moment. The milk is about even, but it seems that all of the commercial milk here has XYZ added to it (Vitamin A, D etc), fresh juice is pasteurised which is bazaar to me - unfortunately it seems to give it a slightly processed taste.

The prunes (dried plums) are identical to the AU ones, the california raisins are _beautiful_, drier than our raisins/sultanas and a bit more "caramely". The golden raisins however were a bit boring. The californian dried apricots are very nice, a bit tangier than our ones, but almost equal (both crap all over the turkish ones which I have never liked the flavour of). Bananas are about equal, watermelon the same, and tomatoes were OK (our tomatoes are similar, the best ones are damn good, but not as good as they could be).

The other thing I was looking forward to was apple cider.... I bought a big bottle of it, and even though the only ones I could find were made from apple concentrate, it tasted like..... apple juice! EXACTLY like apple juice. I was thinking I would have to have some tricky substitute for apple cider (it doesnt exist in australia) when called in recipes... but unless someone can correct me, it seems that unless perhaps it is fresh and properly made, they are basically the same?? (I read on the label of one that cider should be tangier, but it looked identical to the apple juice sitting next to it as though they had just swapped labels).

EDIT: I bought a tub of the Montain High yogurt (http://www.mountainhighyoghurt.com/products/original_style.htm) and have classified it as OK - pretty good. Slightly sour/tangy, quite creamy, but not mind blowingly good. (I have recently bought every single plain yogurt available in Sydney to find my favourite :-) ). It has an average fat content, so it can't be expected to stand up to some of the ones with double it's fat content. (My pet hates in yogurt are: too sour, no sour/tang, bad aftertaste, fatty mouthfeel, watery).

As a disclaimer, remember that I have only tried these foods from a few different places, so for all I know I have chosen poorly!

Thanks again for the recommendations everyone!


Edited by infernooo (log)

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El Camino Real was the road/trail that ran from the southernmost California mission to the northernmost. Modern highways that run along the same route have been given that name.

This site California Highways explains it.

The story of the bells is an interesting bit of California highway history. The first ones were installed in 1906 and more were added or replaced over many years. Many were stolen, taken as souvenirs, knocked down until there were only about 75 remaining.

In 2000 a grant made restoration possible and new bells are being placed along the roadways.

That being said, there are some town and city streets named El Camino Real that really have nothing to do with the highway/trail itself. I am not familiar with the road mentioned in the earlier post.

I spoke to a friend in San Jose earlier this evening and she says they shop at the Blossom Hill farmer's market in San Jose and love the produce there. She said she got some "awesome" peaches, nectarines and some "elephant-heart" plums last week, the latter were huge, part green and part maroon on the outside and deep red-purple inside and extremely sweet. She also found some wonderful garlic, red and pink hard neck varieties.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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If you get up to Mountain View sometime, you may want to check out the Milk Pail which has both a great selection and excellent quality of vegetables and fruit; good prices too.

Milk Pail

2585 California Ave (near San Antonio Rd.)

website: http://www.milkpail.com/

They have some nice dairy products as well including manufacturing cream and a large selection of cheese at good prices. They may very well have good yogurt as well given that they have a noticeable Russian clientele.

There is a Trader Joe's right in the same shopping complex and a "Beverages and More" which is a large wine, spirits and beer store with good prices. And---right around the corner on San Antonio is Ditmer's Wursthaus, a German deli with very good coldcuts, sausages and meats. It's a great little area for food and wine shopping!


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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infernooo,

sounds like you've done a fair amount of research in a short period of time! are you considering moving here for work?

yes, the weather has been great, but of course you're here during your winter, so anything should be good. just remember that it is like this year round (hehehe...except for the seven weeks of rain we had in march and april :blink: ).

a good friend of mine that used to work for mcquarrie (sp) bank lived here in san francisco for a bit. visited him in sydney and i loved it there. what a great city! the best of san francisco and hawaii rolled into one.

enjoy the rest of your trip!

oh, and to talk about food, i think new york city greenmarkets have cornered the market on apples and cider. in the fall and winter, that's about all you can get! the cider isn't the fermented drink that you'd think it is. mostly (at least on the east coast) it is an unfiltered apple juice. it is brown and cloudy and has a bit more depth than just clear apple juice. i don't know what they're selling here as cider. and there are tons of varieties of apples available on the east coast that might not be available here unless they're in season. what you get at the grocery store is just crap (red/golden delicious, etc.).

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Hi Alan!

I have done some intensive research.... I doubt I will be moving here for work, all my family and friends are in AU. As much as I love it here, I couldn't justify leaving them.

You are right about the weather, anything is great compared to the rainy, depressing weather I left when I came here. Regardless of that however, I really love the 14 hours of cloudless-sun every day.

Sydney is great... as with any city, once you have lived there your whole life, you take it for granted and don't really think of it as that great a place until you see how much worse some people live. Weather is very nice in comparison to other places (OK not as nice as hawaii), we consider winter "cold" which is pretty pathetic considering it only ever gets as low as around 10 degrees :-).

Thanks for the kind words, I am hoping to jam in as much as I can in the last 5 days!

You are spot on about the apple juice/cider, that sounds exactly like what I had (slightly darker/cloudy, but almost indistinguishable in taste).

I went to the Mountain View farmers markets yesterday (after having visited one of the "top" vietnamese for lunch followed by one of the "top" Thai restaurants for dinner), and was very impressed!

I took photos of my trip, and overall was very pleased with my trip. I bought way more than I should have, including 6 types of yogurt, a huge array of fruits and some other goodies.

The highlight of my day was trying fresh white corn picked the same morning. It was like candy. In Australia, there is very little demand for corn, and as such, by the time we get it at the markets or supermarkets or fruit shops, it is probably about a week old, and is quite starchy. This was one of those moments that blew me away. I will never look at corn the same way and will be trying to find some corn farms to get fresh corn from when I next go on some cross country trips.

Having had fresh fruit from the markets, I have upgraded my impressions of strawberries (they are just as good as our best), the grapes were pretty good, peaches and nectarines amazing (more consistent than ours) and the tomatoes out of this world (would be very close with some of the best tomato producers in the world!)

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