Lately, most of my grocery shopping is at farmer’s markets and small grocery stores (Sprouts and Fresh & Easy are my two favorites). Today it was raining and the farmer’s market just did not sound fun. It will be wet. I am feeling lazy and want something for lunch that is pre-cooked and warm, like soup. So, I went to one of those HUGE super grocery stores. Huge mistake. The parking lot was a crowded mess. There were tons of people wondering around looking lost, and I soon joined them. I found ricotta cheese and many refrigerated blobs of food-like product, but no cottage cheese (something on my grocery list). I found dry soups, canned and boxed soups, soups at the deli, and soups in jars. Due to food allergies, I check every label before it goes into my cart, much less my body! Every soup label I read contained non-food unpronounceable items. Same label problems for the milk, yogurt, gelato, and meat that are also on my list.
Too late for my favorite farmer’s market, I gave up on the gigantic grocery store that contains no real food in the ¼ acre building, and I headed to my comfortable little F&E. When I walked in I was struck by how tiny it really is, how quiet and clean, and how easy it is to find food. Within a few minutes I had everything on my list, including 3 kinds of lovely soup that contain food, and only food! Chemical and pesticide free food!
If you are still shopping at the large format grocery stores, give the small store and farmer’s markets a chance. It is a more enjoyable experience, I did not get lost, shopping is faster, and a dozen other reasons will keep me going back to the farmer’s markets and small shops – rain or shine!
One of my favorite casual dining restaurants is Pita Jungle in Chandler. As the name suggests, they offer a wide variety of dishes with pita. In addition, they have a great selection of hot & cold salads, delicious baba ganoush, and tasty wine selection. The menu features fantastic vegetarian options, and good selection for anyone with food allergies.
Last night we enjoyed a crisp bottle of South African Chenin Blanc with Tuna and Salmon salads, and finished with a baklava sundae. Delicious! Fresh fruit and vegetables are the basis for their light meals.
The best part? The view from the patio!
Update March 2014: I still love this place and ate lunch there yesterday. The view was spectacular as always. My friend ordered the chicken special, and I ordered the grilled chicken club wrap. Being good friends, we sampled each others meals. Both were good, but the specials are almost always the best item on the menu and yesterday this was very true. Delicious.
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