Best Grocery Store
Trader Joe’s–Trader Joe’s stores-two in Manhattan Beach and one in Redondo- don’t look big enough from the outside to carry more than a few cans of sardines. But on the inside the stores magically expand to aisles of splendidly fresh delicacies, fine wines, fresh produce, exquisite pot pies and a little refrigerated cubicle in the back where shoppers can find the best hummus in the South Bay.
Trader Joe’s offers its gastronomic gems at reasonable prices and the folks at check-out are obliging, accommodating, amazingly quick and never raise an eyebrow at a patron’t choice of cheddar over brie for the crackered appetizers of their dinner party.
Among the stores’ specialties are fine wines and Champagnes, nuts and cheese, and excellent coffees at fantastically low prices. Other bargains can be found throughout the store, such as Yogi brand teas steeply discounted compared to other stores’ prices. Many TJ shoppers make the stores their first stop on the theory that everything they can find there will be les expensive than the same item and same brand elsewhere.
TJ also features demo booths with free food and hot coffee samples prepared by helpful culinary wizards like Rita, who mans-I mean womans- the booth at the Manhattan Beach Blvd. store.
Trader Joes: 1821 Manhattan Bch. Blvd., MB. 310-372-1274. 1800 Rosecrans Ave., MB. 310-725-9800. 1761 Elena Ave., RB. 310-316-1745. traderjoes.com
Runner-up: Vons, 715 Pier Ave., HB. 310-374-4484.