Pesto orzo salad, spicy salmon hand rolls, and spinach salad
6386 del Cerro Boulevard, San Diego
Grocery stores have been transforming before our eyes the past few years. Henry’s became Sprouts, Albertsons became Haggen, both try to play the role of a Whole Foods alternative, and even Target has decided to jump on the no-processed-foods bandwagon. All of which bodes well for me — if these guys can compete enough to keep the cost of organic blueberries and nutty granola to a minimum, so much the better.
A full-sized independent supermarket
Through it all stands Windmill Farms, “Your one-stop community market for high-quality groceries and organic foods” since 2003. For at least 8 of those 12 years, friends of mine have encouraged me to check out the family-owned and operated grocery in Del Cerro. Sure, next time I’m in Del Cerro, I probably said.
Spices by the ounce
The organic section (the conventionally grown produce section is larger)
I finally made a lunchtime shopping run to Windmill’s deli counter. Browsing the aisles on the way in I found an assortment of products, including gourmet items and organics, plus some great bulk spice drawers. Prices weren’t always as low as I’d have liked, but there were interesting options, and most of them involving non-junky, legitimate food. I seriously considered buying a box of Malden’s smoked salt flakes but erred on the side of caution — I’d most likely overdo it by putting smoked salt in every recipe.
I made my way to that deli counter, which was situated between a butcher’s counter and a sushi station, across from a salad bar. For being inside a grocery store, my lunch options didn’t seem too grim. I started with the salad bar. There was no evidence that any of it was organic, but at $5.99/pound it was a steal compared to the $8.99 Whole Foods salad bar.
I also found a small tub of orzo, tomato, and basil salad — tasty enough for about $4. But my real score was a pair of salmon hand rolls at the store’s Kikka Sushi counter. Going for about $7, the fair-sized rolls were fresh and the fish not too shabby. I mean, I don’t walk into a supermarket — even a lovely community-oriented market such as this — expecting premium fish. But I liked it enough for the price. If I lived closer to Del Cerro, I’d probably overdo it on this purchase, too.