Whole Foods Market
711 University Avenue, Hillcrest
You want Thai Kitchen bottled curry bases, not just their insta-noodles? Bottled anchovies from Greece? Italian salt-cured capers? Finnish Lappi or French Explorateur cheese? Extra-virgin oil from Spain? Odd varieties of organic produce to play with? In San Diego's metro area, Whole Foods Market is probably the best single source for the full range of ingredients that serious cooks need. While they sell huge quantities of ready-made foods to go, their grocery area is at least as good. It's not just a "natural foods" store, but the closest we've got in the Metro area to a full-size gourmet supermarket. (For that matter, in the matter of meat, poultry, and produce, "natural" and "gourmet" are increasingly interchangeable.) Prices are a little higher, but nobody says that you have to buy your laundry soap in the same store where you buy your chicken.