As anyone familiar with Van Nuys willl tell you, this burb is usually not the go-to spot for anything remotely interesting or unique...unless you're in need of a good marble and tile store, in which case, even there, I think North Hollywood has us beat. So color me surprised to find a Fresh and Easy opening up on Sepulveda and Vanowen. It's housed in what used to be the most depressing, sullen, gloomy, and miserable Ralphs known to all of mankind. This is, most decidedly, an improvement. Also, it is an area very much in need of a decent, local grocery store, and, judging by today's grand opening, that need has been met.
The fare is what I expected from what I've read here and elsewhere. There are plenty of pre-made meals, and most of them looked quite appetizing. The Husband sampled the meatloaf and mashed potatoes tonight, and gave it a thumbs up. Interestingly enough, he felt the need to add a sprinkle of salt...salt being the one thing that is usually not lacking from store-bought meals.
We'll see how the turkey dinner goes tomorrow. It does look tasty.
I appreciated the layout of the store, especially the shelves that are less than six feet high, giving the admittedly small space a larger feel. Of course, it was packed today since it was the opening, but even then I was able to negotiate the aisles fairly easily. The meats looked quite good, and I was impressed as well by the bakery, pastries, and dessert selection. I know that some have made an issue out of the fact that the produce (bananas being the exception) is all prepackaged. I suppose if you only need one tomato or one potato, this would be a drawback. But I found that the selection was very fresh and in non-Costco sizes. For instance, I really only needed one beefsteak tomato, but, for the price, I was happy to buy two. I'll find something to do with the other one. Pre-packed fresh herbs are generously proportioned and quite reasonably priced.
There was a plethora of staff, and they were all friendly. Of course, this was the first day. Will they remain happy campers? Time will tell. The self-checkput was a cinch, and quite speedy.
There's no wine or beer at this location yet, and apparently some neighborhood committees want to keep it that way. Again, time will tell. Selection on some items was rather low. I, for instance, would have been happy to see a better choice in pasta, but I can easily get by on what was there.
I can say this with all certainty. The peach-apricot bar cookies are INSANELY good.
Oh, and the parking? Not perfect, but a lot better than any TJs I've been too.
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