The In's and Out's of Grocery Shopping

I know going to the grocery store is one of the last places most people want to go. You're going on your way home from work, tired and wanting to just get home. You go when you’re hungry and end up buying the whole store. Or maybe you just seem to go during the busiest times. Trust me, I get it. The grocery store is a place that has always stressed me out. Even if I made a list, went prepared, I always end up forgetting something on one side of the store or feel rushed as I am trying to pick out the best produce as I am in someones way. There’s always something that makes me not enjoy the experience.

When I think of certain memories I don’t necessarily always think of big events such as a birthday party or graduation. Some of my favorite memories are some of the most simple daily tasks that I enjoy and look forward to doing again.

Now I know I said I don’t enjoy shopping in a grocery store and that’s 100% true. I try to avoid it at all costs unless absolutely necessary. I get that sometimes life just gets busy and you need to run errands as fast as you can to get them over with because there’s another one on your list to get done for the day, or several more for that matter. Life happens and that’s okay.

As I have mentioned before I think we sometimes forget to take a step back and enjoy what we are doing in the moment.

Not every week is the same for me, nor would I want it to be. I typically cook for my friends and family about 5 days a week. I know not everyone has that luxury and again, thats okay. Even if I am just cooking for myself, I enjoy the process of preparing a meal with the freshest ingredients.

And with ALL that being said, grocery shopping has now become one of my favorite things to do. I have found a routine that works for me, I know it might not work for everyone. But I’ve made memories along the way even if it’s from this simple daily task.

So here is my secret to how grocery shopping became something I enjoyed, while finding some of the freshest ingredients and creating memories all without stepping foot in my typical grocery store.

I have 3 go to places to shop for my food:

  1. Farmers Markets

  2. Butcher Shop

  3. Cheese Shop

The Farmers Market: To me the Farmers Market is the perfect combination of fresh ingredients and creating memories. From the vendors to the customers, I love that I see almost the same people every week. You get to build connections with them and really support local businesses. The farmers market almost becomes this community that once you go you always look forward to going back. This is also a place that you can relax and take your time. Enjoying the fresh air and bringing your family and friends along can allow you to make a day out of something that would normally be a task. And although I have been more times than I can count and have my go to favorite booths, once I’m there I always make my way to the end of the market before I start shopping. I love going right when they open almost guaranteeing I will get there before the crowd and can really pick through the best produce. The farmers market is where I get my bulk of food for the week from. From the fruits and veggies to the French Baker selling the best baguettes of french and sourdough bread, the options are endless and there really is no comparison on quality to shopping at your typical grocery store.

 

Recommended if your near the LA area:

Palisades Farmers Market & Malibu Farmers Market

 

The Butcher Shop:

This is a game changer. My go to place to get all my meat, seafood and poultry. Finding a local shop that I loved took a bit of research but let me tell you it is so worth it once you find the right one. The customer service is unlike any other as they are extremely knowledgable and will order anything I need if its not something they get in stock regularly. The quality is just about as fresh as it gets. And last but not least you build a relationship yet again and create this memory that brings you joy and fulfillment. I encourage you to ask questions when you go. If you don’t know the difference between which cut is better, what the difference of lump vs. claw crab meat or anything that could help you in your cooking process. Ask! They specialize in this field for a reason and you might just learn something that could taking your cooking to a whole new level.

 

Recommended if your near the LA area:

Jim’s Fallbrook Market (Woodland Hills)

 

The Cheese Shop: 

First off who doesn’t love cheese? Second, I know you might be thinking that I’m crazy for including this in my top 3 places I shop or would even include in my list at all, but just hear me out. Just like your butcher shop, your local cheese shop specializes in cheese. Meaning, they get the best of the best, you’ll find unique cheeses that you can’t find in your regular grocery store and as repetitive as it sounds you’re supporting local businesses and building yet another relationship with people who leave lasting memories on you. This might be the hardest place to find out of my top 3 places to shop but it will be worth it! Fresh cheese makes such a difference when cooking. I ALWAYS say you should grate your own cheese. This will keep it as fresh as possible and also allows you to use the block of cheese in multiple ways. Say on a Friday night I will be using some freshly grated parmesan cheese to top of some delicious ravioli and Saturday I can use the remaining block to add to my charcuterie board that I serve to my guests. And again when shopping ask questions! What is something they recommend that you may have not tried before? What day do they get their cheeses in for the week? How long is the shelf life? Remember if something doesn’t have preservatives, it won’t last as long. Although personally, I would rather something have a shelf life of 4 days than worrying about what can keep my food last longer than it should.

 

Recommended if your near the LA area:

Cheesemongers (Sherman Oaks)

 

These 3 types of markets have changed my outlook on grocery shopping. The process of preparing a meal starts at the market, so why not enjoy the whole process from beginning to end. You never know what you’re going to find when going into a speciality store. You may just end up discovering your new favorite thing.

Cheers,

Lauren

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