ISO - Houston

Napa Valley Naturals Sherry Vinegar - aged - on a recent episode of ATK Jack said it’s the only vinegar he uses, Bridget said she could drink it all day, both the panel and the audience picked it at # 1. Despite the name it’s actually imported from Spain and very reasonably priced. Have looked at 2 HEBs, CM, WF; not listed on Spec’s inventory online. Anybody seen it? I don’t think we have a Spanish or Northern California grocery here!

Frontera Salsa Verde (Rick Bayless’ brand) - I’ve seen this show 2 times (ATK); recommended as best. I’m sure I’ve seen this in town but can’t find it now that I want to try it.

Rocky Ford Cantaloupes - Colorado - yeah. Not very likely we’re going to get these here. When I was in Fort Collins last year I stopped in at a King Sooper, the Kroger brand up there, just to see what it was like. I was amazed at how small the produce department was and how bad all the produce looked. My SIL said nothing grows in Colorado and all the produce has to be trucked in and it’s terrible. She said the only thing good grown in CO are these cantaloupes which are from the southeastern corner of the state, around towns like Aurora and La Junta (and Rocky Ford). She says they’re the best cantaloupes in the world and she grew up here in Houston and is familiar with Pecos cantaloupes. They’re hitting the peak season now - I’ve looked at CM and WF twice with no luck. May have to take a weekend getaway to the Panhandle.

I’ll keep a look out, I’m interested in that vinegar.

I went to Trader Joe’s today, they have great fruit. Picked up two pound bag of plums for $2.70 and some tiny sweet champagne grapes, some amazing looking marzano tomatoes to name just a few items. I picked up the frozen lasagna and meatloaf from the prepared food section after hearing people rave about the items. I wonder if the cantaloupe is good at TJs, I’m betting it is.

Belden’s, North Braeswood @ Chimney Rock, has a huge selection of Frontera products. Salsas were $4.29 AIR.

Found a smaller selection at Randall’s, Shepherd @ Westheimer. Can’t remember the price.

Because I’d already bought some at a Kroger store, S. Post Oak or Buffalo Speedway, can’t remember which. Close out priced at $2.46. Curiously displayed with the relishes, not the other salsas. Haven’t tried it yet.

The search for the vinegar goes on. Going to try the big Fiesta on Bellaire @ Hillcroft in the International section and Hong Kong City Market!

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Belden’s looks interesting. I didn’t know there were family owned grocerys around.


That Fiesta is crazy. I love it! I don’t know if you remember old time AM radio show host Alvin Van Black. He used to say bring out of town visitors there, especially those from the north for an eye opening.

It used to be a Globe, think K-Mart.

I used to go there a lot when I lived in Sharpstown. It was reliable for good veal cutlets which I would chicken fry a la Mom.

I shopped mostly at the Globe at Gulfgate. Not sure I was ever in the Bellaire one but did learn of it later.

Ah, yes. Alvin at Night! Ran into him in the KTRH snack room, once and saw him a couple of times at the Prince’s on SW Fwy across from Greenway Plaza. And I was only there (Prince’s) twice.

Great bit: Craig Roberts spoofed the Alvin at Night feature dressing up in formal attire and reporting from downtown Alvin at 10:30 in the evening.

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Famous for: high prices (not entirely undeserved, although cheaper than Randall’s on some things, it seems).

Kosher - all the grocery stores in and around Meyerland have Kosher departments; Belden’s has the biggest, recently added to after my teeny-weeny little HEB remodeled after the Tax Day Floods last year and greatly enlarged theirs.

Said to have an excellent wine department for a grocery store.

Second largest selection of lox I’ve seen in Houston (after CM).

Store made ready-to-eat offerings are pretty good, but limited. Bakery is only so-so. I grab something every now and then.

Store is very clean and mostly empty, never crowded. Like Rice Epicurean, which it resembles in a lot of ways, they depend a lot on home delivery customers.

I also have a Pyburn’s on S. Fondren near S. Main - one of more than 2 dozen small groceries owned by a Vietnamese immigrant who specializes in buying small neighborhood markets in underserved neighborhoods and turning them around. The Pyburn’s name is used on only 3 stores and is famous for its meat departments and their store-made sausages including boudin. I’ve been in Pyburn’s when there were more butchers milling around behind the meat counter, waiting for someone to wait on, than there were customers in the whole store.

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You are dead on about the prices at both places. You’ll hear some Russian spoken although not as much as at Foodarama on Beechnut and Hillcroft.

Never heard the Russian. Mostly I’m there mid-afternoon and there’s only one or two other customers. Never been to that Foodarama but I went to what was there before a couple of times - Gerland’s???

Not sure what it was but it’s been a Foodarama at least since the '80.

I’ve been behind Russians on more than one occasions using their Lone Star cards. Hmm, how do I get one of those?

I’m thinking they might be Jewish immigrants with the synagogue just down the street.

I probably would have been in it in the 90s, so… Maybe it’s just that the exterior has been redone and Foodarama has changed the style of their logo???

A comment on a thread on HAIF says it was originally a Weingarten’s.

Golden Grains, a Russian deli, is on Birdwood, 2 blocks north of N. Braeswood, the next street up behind the Belden’s. The Russian General Store is less than a mile away on Hillcroft. There are several synagogues in the area, of course. Can’t remember the name of the big one about 1/2 a mile west but it’s the oldest Jewish congregation in Texas - 1856. Not in that location, of course.

That’s hilarious. I did like Alvin van Black and know his wife. He was real Houston.

FInally made it out to Phoenicia — didn’t find the sherry vinegar. But their product line changes (dang it). I was looking for a Russian mustard (made in Poland) that I happened on one time - they didn’t have it.

I picked up several pieces of baklava!

I have yet to make it to Hong Kong Grocery. Last time I headed out that way I dissuaded myself and just went to Viet Hoa on the Beltway @ Beechnut, since most of the items I was seeking were Viet not Chinese. It’s a lot less of a traffic hassle for me and I don’t know why I don’t go there more often.

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You might try the Polish Food Store next to Polonia on Blalock. It’s an interesting store.

Yes, picked up a Polish mustard there a couple of years ago, Cracovia brand (from Canada), Polska Musztarda a la Serebska. Very mild. Didn’t like it at first but it grew on me a lot.

At Phoenicia a year or so later stumbled on Kamis brand Musztarda Rosyjska. According to the English label on the back, a Russian mustard, made in Poland (by McCormick). More complex; includes wine and paprika. Instantly liked it but it was a very small bottle.

I want more of both.

Trouble is, at the Polish store, I wind up bringing home too much sausage!

I guess I should look at the Russian General Store and Golden Grains, too.

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Never have found this but on a recent episode they were tasting white wine vinegars and a Napa Valley Natural won! I’m going to look into mail order. Haven’t looked at shipping and handling charges yet so this may not happen.

I was looking up Pecos cantaloupes recently. I haven’t seen any in years. On some site I looked at - I think it was a grower’s site - it was mentioned that the original crop of Pecos cantaloupes was started with seeds from Rocky Ford!

They have your vinegar at Sprouts, Westheimer/Kirkwood.

It’s on sale for $5.99/bottle.

I’m looking forward to trying it. Thx for the recc.

They had several other varieties as well, (Champagne, etc.).

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I like this new poster, I think he/she will be a real asset, we sure can use it.

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