Tired of spending your hard-earned pennies on antique produce, meat that tastes like the styrofoam package it comes wrapped in, fish that's fresh only from the freezer, and canned, bottled, and packaged stuff full of ingredients you can't pronounce and don't want to eat?
If you answered yes, here's the cure for the supermarket blues -- five specialty markets that sell meat, fish, produce, and packaged goods with real, you know, flavor. That's how you can tell them apart.
Bedner's (12033 State Road 7, Boynton Beach; 561-499-3994). Though this family-owned farm has been growing fruits and vegetables on an 80-acre plot at the end of Boynton Beach Boulevard for 60 years, it was only this year that it opened a market for its own and other locally grown produce. All your favorite fruits and vegetables are twice the quality and half the price of the average supermarket crud, and you can even find such rarities (in season) as delicate, golden squash blossoms and fresh wild mushrooms.
Boca Oriental Market (2431 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton;
561-361-3130). This is where local chefs go to find even the most
obscure Asian products, a small, friendly spotlessly clean space jammed
with virtually everything the professional or amateur cook needs, from
produce and packaged goods to woks and utensils. The market's focus is
on Chinese food products, but other Asian cuisines are represented there
too. Pick up some sweetly porky lap cheong sausages and enjoy the fact
that you're getting a deal on the real deal.
Capt. Frank's (435 Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach;
561-732-3663). Probably the premier fish market in the tricounty area
is a cramped, unassuming, blue-and-white building just off I-95. Nothing
is frozen, much of the seafood is locally caught, all of it is of
impeccable quality. You can tell it's fresh because the only smell is of
the sea. Live lobsters and softshell crabs, dry-pack scallops, several
species of clams and terrific Cape Canaveral shrimp are just some of the
impressive selection. (Note: Frank's closes for its annual summer
vacation from mid-August through September. Until it reopens, Old Dixie Seafood -- 7000 N. Dixie Highway, Boca Raton; 561-988-0866 -- is my substitute of choice.)
Carmine's Gourmet Market (2401 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens;
561-775-0105). Hold onto your wallet when you walk into Carmine
Giardino's spectacularly well-stocked market or you might blow a month's
salary on the innumerable goodies packed tighter than Serena Williams'
tennis outfits on shelves. There's so much, it's hard to know where to
start. But just a few examples: Wagyu hot dogs and burgers, fresh wild
mushrooms, artisan breads and cheeses, imported Italian pastas, and the
whole line of excellent Rothschild condiments.
Joseph's Classic Market (5250 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton;
561-347-2314). Something of a cross between a small "gourmet" grocer and
your neighborhood giantsupermegamarket, Joseph's can make you feel like
a very hungry kid in a very large candy store. The produce selection
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puts the major markets to shame, and there is all manner of
high-quality canned and packaged items, mostly Italian. The prepared
foods selection is extensive, and there's even an in-house pizzeria to
get fresh-from-the-oven pies.