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San Francisco Bay Area

unexpected chow shopping in San Leandro


Restaurants & Bars 14

unexpected chow shopping in San Leandro

Ruth Lafler | Apr 21, 2007 06:53 PM

I came home from a morning's shopping in San Leandro with a passel of unexpected food finds.

First, I didn't realize there's a small farmer's market in the parking lot at Bayfair (in the southeast corner beyond Macy's). Not a frou-frou organic market, but lots of sparkling fresh produce at good prices. There seemed to be strong representation of vendors from Half Moon Bay and Watsonville, and also my favorite Santa Maria strawberry vendors (who also do the Saturday market in Oakland). I bought three of the biggest, freshest artichokes I've ever seen for $1.50 each.

I managed to resist the no-name tamale vendor, but was seduced by the young man pushing samples at the Afghan food booth. Apparently these people are at many local farmer's markets, but I've never seen them. The spinach bolani he was sampling with various spreads was delicious. I bought a some and some of the sun-dried tomato hummus. Highly recommended!

I also bought some baked goods from Alonso Bakery in Hayward. The pastries were only okay -- I'll report back on the pizza-like "focaccia" with artichokes and mozzarella.

Clare's Teacakes sells downhome-style baked goods, including bite-sized pecan and sweet potato pies and red velvet cakes in a small loaf shape. Dibrova sausage, the Filipino food people I've seen at Temescal, a kettle corn stand and Beckmann's bakery were the prepared food vendors I'd seen at other markets.Rworange, you'll be astounded to know that there was no Sukhi's stand! Basically, it's a nice little market that's worth a stop if you're in the area.

At the Bayfair Target I was checking out their higher-end chocolates and came across one I hadn't seen before: Frey's (from Switzerland), dark chocolate with lemon and black pepper. I couldn't taste much pepper, but it was one of the better lemon-chocolate combos I've had. They also have the Lindt 85 percent, as well as the 70 percent.

I went into the Big Lots in Greenhouse Marketplace for shower gel ($1.50 is the right price to pay for shower gel!) and took a pass through their food selection. I'm always on the lookout grapefruit marmalade and they had some pink grapefruit from Italy ($2.50). But the score was some Redisland Australian olive oil spray: 100 percent cold pressed extra virgin olive oil; unlike other aerosol olive oils, there's no soy lecithin, just olive oil and propellants. It has a much better olive oil flavor than my TJ's olive oil spray, and it was $2 for a 5.2 ounce can. More info:

There's been a lot of discussion of wine bargains at Grocery Outlet -- anyone checked out the wine at Big Lots for hidden gems?

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