Someone I was talking to at a meeting last night knows of my passion for cool grocery stores, and told me about Dogwood's Marketplace on Foothill in Monrovia. I had some business over there anyway, and besides that wanted to check out the refurbishing of another Monrovia fave, the King Ranch market, so I fired up Old Quicksilver this afternoon and headed east.
Dogwood's is very cool. Mostly produce, with a strong Middle-Eastern slant that gets a lot stronger in the dairy and canned-goods department; I didn't ask, but I'm betting there's some tie-in with our own Lake Avenue Produce, as they have tons of the same Mediterranean/Slavic/Arabic cheeses that LAP used to carry a lot more of, plus all the various pulses, grains and dry legumes. The fresh meat case hasn't much on display, but their beef is halal, and they have pre-packaged leg of lamb both fresh and frozen. There are lots of interesting sausages and pastry items in the freezer, too. I was just on a fruit-and-supper junket, and bought a one-pound-plus bunch of super-skinny asparagus at $1.99/lb, and four Fuji apples at 69¢/lb. Nice and clean, and they have a very interesting salad/fruit bar, a deli and a pizzeria, things that seem to be all the rage these days.
That was just a few doors east of Magnolia, so it was a straight shot down to the mall that has King Ranch in it, on Huntington. The new facade is handsome, if much less interesting than the old one, and inside they've de-cluttered and expanded their bakery and deli, with a big hot case full of Mexican-style charcuterie: carnitas, big slabs of cooked ribs, buche, roasted chickens and more. The old haphazard aisle layout has been reorganized, and it's much easier to find everything now than it was. Unfortunately, one of the things I kept finding over and over was that they no longer have a lot of stuff that I used to go there especially for. No more big cans of Peruano beans (though they have large bags of the dry), and the only salt fish they have now is pollock, either packed in bags or wrapped on trays, whereas they used to have both pollock and cod, with the options of boned, with bone or smoked. I didn't spend enough time there to check out the sauces and pickles, but I hope they haven't weeded those out too. Gotta come back anyway - I need to get some of that cooked stuff to drag home.