It's the blog post you've been waiting for. It's the supermarket version of the Oscars, it's more in-depth than consumer report, and our expert panel has narrowed the field down to the top 3 grocery stores in the Mira Mesa area.

These contestants were victims of the dreaded "mystery shopper". He's the guy who knocks over the pyramid of apples in Von's and asks questions in Spanish at the Chinese grocery store. The guy who leaves his cart blocking checkout aisle number 8 at Albertsons and tells the store manager at Seafood City Supermarket that his store smells fishy.

All supermarkets were unaware that they were being graded on price, service, appearance, variety and a number of other categories. In one week mystery shopper visited six Mira Mesa destinations: Von's, Albertsons, Seafood City Supermarket, Vinh Hung, Smart & Final, and India Food & Grocery.

Our winers are - Vinh Hung, Von's, and Smart & Final.

Losers - Seafood City was out of peanut butter, India Food & Grocery had brown lettuce on the shelf that smelled like curry and Albertson's is priced like the rest of SoCal...overthetop.

Vinh Hung - This treasure is worth seeking out. All produce is 1/3 the cost of the competition and try fresh fish at $3 dollars a pound, compare that to the $20-$30 per pound elsewhere. Fresh squid, quail eggs, lobster, noodles everywhere, and produce you've never heard of makes this an exciting destination, a treat for your taste buds and a test for your cooking skills. Employees may struggle to answer your questions but the savings, selection and overall quality make this the jewel of our top three.

Von's - These guys specialize in customer service. When Mr. Produce man lunged at the falling pyramid of apples he simply laughed when he realized he had arrived 2 seconds too late. His apples tumbled all over the shining floor and he simply re-created his display. Employees go out of their way to help you locate tough to find items and the fresh breads are fantastic. Pricing is high, but the bright environment will make you smile. Sunday night lines won't make you smile. Buying 1 pint of ice cream may not have been worth the half hour wait in the 15 items or less line. Overall a quality destination.

Smart & Final - Buying in bulk or for a party? Smart & Final has to be your top choice. Buy most of your produce elsewhere, but the large quantities means you're getting one of the best deals in town. Their alcohol selection is simply impressive. Gear up for your 4th of July weekend by swinging by to load up your cart.

All grocery bags carried on a.... 10 speed bike

Stay cool


gandrus July 3, 2008 @ 10:59 a.m.

Thanks for the suggestions! I just moved here from the east coast and was astonished to find the high food prices on the west coast. I've now started going to Vinh Hung and am saving at least 30$ a visit!


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