Restaurants & Bars

Yuma Food Resources

Ed Dibble | May 22, 200802:37 PM

Considering that Yuma is stuck in the middle of the desert at least 2 1/2 hours away from any major American city, a visitor might be amazed at the food resources available to a Yuman Chowhound.

Two Asian markets exist to help out those Yumans who like cooking Asian food. J & P Market in The Foothills (on Fortuna) carries a wide range of Asian vegetables (such as, when in season, on choi, long beans, and shiitake mushrooms), packaged Asian dishes and condiments, and even Vietnamese sausages. The Oriental Market on Avenue B gets excellent kimchi delivered from Los Angeles every Saturday. In addition, other Asian groceries are also available. One friend has even mentioned that she has found frozen sushi quality fish there as well.

Of the major supermarkets, Albertsons on Avenue B has the best selection of fresh fish and specialty vegetables. Right now (May 2008), for example, one can purchase heirloom tomatoes or organic dandelion greens in the produce section. Don't picture a Whole Foods Market, but this Albertsons is as close as you can get to that in Yuma.

The supermarkets that cater to the large Mexican-American and immigrant Mexican populations are Food City and Del Sol (the latter is an IGA). I usually patronize the ones on 16th, but each market has another location further north in town. Food City, in particular, is known for excellent prices on produce such as brown onions, avocados, limes, tomatillos, and bananas. Del Sol has an excellent cafeteria, and both are good sources for prepared Mexican food and salsas.

In addition, there are numerous small Mexican markets that often sell tortillas made in Mexico and their own special marinated meats and salsas. My favorites are David's on Avenue B., El Toro on 8th St, and Coronado's at the corner of 24th and Kennedy. Other good ones may well exist.

Another wonderful food resource is Los Roys. This small butcher shop located in Palm Plaza on Avenue A, is the place to buy top-quality, Angus steaks and burger patties. Specialty meats, for example rabbit or frog, are also available. They are the sole distributor for the locally famous Kamann sausages. In addition, their avocado salsa is outstanding, and other Mexican specialties are available as well.

When Mike opened the Old Town Wine Cellar a few years ago, most of us thought he would be out of business within six months. Instead, the business is surprisingly successful because Mike carries a wide range of well-selected wines and is a helpful resource for both the neophyte and the experienced wine drinker. In addition, the Cellar offers wine tasting beginning at around three in the afternoon on both Thursdays and Fridays. For five bucks, you get to sample six different wines. And/or one can choose a premium pour for $10 a glass.

The quality of bread available in Yuma has expanded greatly since I moved here. Markets such as Albertsons now may feature one or two different brands of European-style loaves. In addition, Kneaders, a small bakery/restaurant chain out of Utah, has opened a store on 28th, just east of Avenue B. Although not all of their breads are outstanding (and there is an issue with slow service on occasion), their rye bread is better than anything I can find in San Diego -- even at specialty German markets or the large European style bakery over there.

In addition to all of these grocery resources, two other aspects of living in Yuma have appeal to Chowhounds. First, Mexico is not far away. While Algodones is mostly for tourista, San Luis is a real Mexican city, but one that is smaller and safer than Tijuana or Juarez. On a completely different note, The Culinary Arts Department at Arizona Western College hosts a few gourmet dinners every spring semester that are well worth attending. Certainly the best fine dining value in town when they happen.


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