I’ve just discovered that I love Gelson’s. For those of you who don’t live in L.A., Gelson’s is a fancy (and expensive) supermarket. There is one in my neighborhood, but I only go when I need some gourmet ingredient that regular supermarkets don’t carry. Last weekend, I did my weekly shopping there and it seemed like less of an ordeal than my usual supermarket.
The key to shopping at Gelson’s is to buy as much of your weekly shopping items at Trader Joe’s first, so you don’t get stuck paying a premium for all your groceries. I always shop at Trader Joe’s before going anywhere else anyways, and occasionally I can avoid the supermarket altogether. And believe it or not, Gelson’s has sales.
The first thing I saw when I walked in were the wines on sale. I’ve recently begun buying wine at the supermarket, because during the holidays, Ralphs was offering 20% off if you bought six bottles. I got tired of the Trader Joe’s selection, and Ralphs offered good variety. When I saw Gelson’s offering a Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc for almost half price, I couldn’t resist. I’m usually a red wine drinker, but I love Rodney Strong.
I then proceeded to the deli counter where I bought the same Boar’s Head deli that I get at Ralphs for Gelson’s (higher) price. But they do a great job at slicing, thin with paper between the layers so the slices don’t stick together. I don’t think that’s worth paying a premium for, but whatever. I then spied the prepared salads, which looked delicious. I never buy prepared salads from the supermarket, but these looked like perfect lunches for me to pack for work. Yes, I could make them myself, but then I’d have to buy all the ingredients, put forth the effort to make the salads, and then most would probably go to waste. So I sprung for ½ lb of barley salad with bell peppers, almonds, vinaigrette, and parsley and ½ lb. of Waldorf salad (not the usual gross kind, but one with several kinds of apples, dried apricots, and light on the white sauce). It’s much less expensive than going out to lunch.
The rest of the shopping experience was normal, other than the fact that the store is well-stocked, neat, and the salespeople are super helpful. And they have items I haven’t seen elsewhere, like this good Kashi cereal with currants and walnuts.
Some people love the bakery, which is called Victor Benes, but I think it’s overrated. I’ve bought cakes and cookies from there and didn’t think they were that great. They taste like attractive supermarket baked goods.
I think I’ll go back, but after my Trader Joe’s run, to control my food expenditures!