I shop all over this city hunting down food for my clients and I think I know pretty well where to find the best of…whatever. If it’s white truffles or Armenian feta or galangal or Korean chili paste I know where to find it. I shop at specialty markets and specialty butchers and cheesemongers and mushroom farmers and boysenberry purveyors and I know most retail locations for the most esoteric of unusual ethnic goodies; but for my job I rely heavily on a single store for the majority of my needs.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating — I’m a big fan of Gelson’s Market at Century City. I can get all the usual stuff — organic dairy and sugary cereals and frozen stuff and good bread — but the butcher (Siggy or Ziggy) is first-rate and the produce manager John is an interesting and dedicated guy. You might, upon reading this, think I’m getting some kind of Gelson’s kick-back. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’m a fan of the staff, the management, and the products and I don’t mind sharing that.
While I can get better tomatoes at any of the Westside’s Farmer’s Markets and I can get a broader selection of organics at any Whole Foods, the produce department is the one best conventional super-market produce departments I’ve ever seen. John must constantly be sourcing and scouring and hunting down new and interesting farmers and products. This year I’ve had fabulous melons and stone fruit and berries, but I’m excited about these Witch Finger grapes, which I’ve only seen starting last year, and only at Gelson’s. These pointy little grapes are specially cultivated by the fine people at The Grapery (also producer of the fantastic Cotton Candy grape which will probably show in stores shortly), a grape-centric producer in San Joaquin Valley. If it’s anything like last year, these cute grapes will be gone in three weeks, so snap them up if you see them.
The Witch Fingers are sweet with a hint of tartness. They have a nice little snap to them and are irresistible as a snacking grape. Probably very nice with a little salty cheese and some hazelnuts.
Check out last year’s post: http://spencerhgray.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/witch-finger-grapes-are-an-unusual-variety/
More into on The Grapery: http://www.grapery.biz/
More info on Gelson’s: http://www.gelsons.com