After opening their first store in Anaheim in 1993, the grocery gurus behind Super King Markets noticed the globe-spanning diversity of their customer base. This keen insight led them to stock shelves with brands from across the world and around the corner, a policy which helped them win LA Weekly's Best Ethnic Deli Counter of 2009, Best Place to Buy Nutella of 2010, and Best Palace of Cheap Produce of 2011. Now expanded to five locations, the store still fills each outpost with fruits and vegetables, quality meats and private-label seafood, and an assortment of shells in the mixed-nut bar. Staff members behind the service deli weigh imported salamis, caviar, and cheeses for their upcoming high-school wrestling matches, and clerks in the liquor aisle dole out advice on each spirited beverages. Additionally, the Los Angeles, Altadena, and Claremont locations invite shoppers to linger longer with an expansive fresh bakery.
When co-founders Luis Quismorio, Ruben Perez, and Anthony Bermudez began plotting their market, they envisioned a place where fresh, healthy produce, groceries, and meats met the standards of upscale stores and the budget of an average Joe. At Figueroa Produce, their dream is realized thanks to groceries that, like new slang words for "tractor," are sourced from local farmers and small foreign distributors alike. Colorful bouquets of freshly plucked fruits and veggies claim a big chunk of the shop's floor space, appealing to both the mouth and eyes with organic produce from the South Central Farmers Co-op and regional farmers who form personal rapports with store staff. The grocery section represents exotic locales from New Zealand to Mexico in its bounty of mostly organic and all-natural products, many of which are free of artificial components. At the deli, staff members slice grass-fed beef from Open Space Meats, organic and free-range poultry, and specialty cheeses for at-home use or service in overstuffed sandwiches. Vegan or vegetarian eaters can also get in on the deli action, devouring sandwiches loaded with ingredients from brands including Teese, Diva, and Tofurkey.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Locali, which means “community” in Italian, is dedicated to their mantra of serving fast, casual food with a conscious, and offering sustainably-sourced artisan products for everyone to enjoy. Part gourmet deli, part take out café, Locali is frequented by hip Hollywood Hills types who lean towards organic, vegetarian and GMO-free food, though anyone is welcome inside. A few tables and benches line the sidewalk out front, where folks sit to soak up the sunshine while sipping organic lattes or noshing on sandwiches made with artisanal vegan breads. Arugula, spinach, kale or quinoa salads are made fresh, and there are plenty of grab n’ go items, from sandwiches and wraps to lush vegan cupcakes and coconut ice cream. To drink, find organic coffees and teas, a variety of kombucha, biodynamic wines and local craft beers.
The chefs at Los Cinco Puntos strive to correct the Americanized image of ground-beef tacos by marinating, braising, and frying a trove of traditional Mexican meats. Sizzling carne asada, spiced carnitas, and lengua, just to name a few, play starring roles in the eatery's authentic menu and get executive-producer credits for each movie made about the restaurant's quesadillas. Chefs roll these meaty specialties into burritos, layer them atop fluffy buns for their special tortas, or twist them in fried tortillas for perfectly crispy flautas. They also create tamales by the dozen, filling the husk-wrapped treats with a similar array of succulent meats.
Recently featured in LA Weekly's blog, Silver Lake Natural Food Market proffers nutrient-rich, raw goods, often from local sources, to satisfy organic needs. Polished concrete floors and lofted ceilings with exposed duct work set the stage for perusing market thoroughfares, which are lined with shelves stocked full of grocery goods, vitamin-packed snacks, all-organic produce, and homeopathic remedies. Bag a bushel of fuji apples to replace the ones that fell from your backyard apple factory ($2.29/lb.), or share your deepest secrets with a bottle of Honest tea ($1.75). Half-gallons of orange juice ($7.99) and Silk almond milk ($4.99) enliven boring breakfasts, while Voss water ($2.79) replenishes the body's tear reservoir.