Kris and I made an expedition to northwest Portland today, searching for menu items for an upcoming dinner party. Amy Jo had told us that City Market at 21st & Johnson was a great place to pick up top-quality meats and cheeses. She wasn’t kidding.

City Market is a playground for foodies. It’s a small place, but it holds an amazing variety of good food. Unlike New Seasons and other similar high-end grocery stores, City Market doesn’t do any catering to the lowest common denominator. There are no breakfast cereals here. The junk food is all quality junk food.

City Market features a fine seafood section, a butcher department, and a huge variety of cheeses and deli meats. There’s a long aisle of wines, a case of gourmet beers and soft drinks, and a corner filled with produce. As I said, it’s a small space, but it’s packed with good stuff.

Kris selected some cheeses while I sampled smoked salmon and asked about clams.

“Wow,” I said as we walked back to the car. “That place was great. That’s exactly my kind of grocery store. I could shop there all the time.”

“Yeah,” Kris muttered. “Except for the price.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“This is a half a bag of groceries,” she said, holding up the bag she was carrying. “It cost us $75.”

“Oh,” I said. “Good point.”

I guess City Market isn’t a good place for everyday shopping. But I sure intend to return there to pick up stuff for future dinner parties!

2 Replies to “City Market”

  1. Amy Jo says:

    We’ve found some good deals there such as large containers of our favorite olive oil, but like you said, most of the items are specialty, hand-crafted, artisan, and the like, so you will pay more for them. But doesn’t food look, sound, feel so much better and more exciting at shops like that? They make me want to eat a wider variety of foods. We typically only shop there a few times a year, when we are entertaining or preparing a special meal. For me, it is worth the splurge now and then.

    It pays to knows to what you typically shop for and where you can get the best price for those items. I went to the Oak Grove Safeway last night and paid a lot for items (even the same brand) that I typically buy at New Seasons and Trader Joe’s, and since those are some of our staples (cereals, peanut butter, bulk walnuts, dried fruit, organic milk, etc.), it makes more sense for me to shop at New Seasons and Trader Joes versus Safeway. I don’t typically buy what Safeway has on sale except for the occasional hunk of cheddar, etc.

  2. Amy Jo says:

    Okay, I’m not so coherent tonight. Three nights of piss poor sleep and my brain has left me. I meant to say: It pays to know what items you typically shop for and where you can get the best price for them. I went to the Oak Grove Safeway last night and paid a lot more for items (even the same brand) that I can buy at New Seasons and Trader Joes for less . . .

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