I will begin this post by thanking another blogger for providing most of the photography in this post. I didn’t receive the memo that photography wasn’t allowed in City Market–and despite more than 83 photos being available on Foursquare and Foodspotting, the aggressive security guard tried to take my iPhone and delete my photos. One thing about Mexico: I’m really struggling with the caste system here. I haven’t yet figured out that if you’re not wearing a uniform here, you should be rude, dismissive and insubordinate to those who are. Unfortunately, most of my really awesome photos of City Market got deleted. Big props to DH, who stepped between the double-chinned security guard and me and tossed my telephone in my purse before she could steal it or delete any more of my personal photos and big apologies to City Market if I violated one of their unwritten rules.
City Market is a gourmet market, with several locations in Mexico City. We visited the Los Lomas location. This store is two levels and has valet parking. The first level has fresh fruits and vegetables, dry goods, dairy, frozen foods and an extensive wall of beers. If you are planning an Oktoberfestparty in Mexico City, I highly recommend you stop in City Market to check out their beer selection.
A pharmacy and selection of cookbooks rounds out the first floor offerings.
DH was immediately excited to see many of his favorite products from the States, and began eagerly filling our cart. I was horrified and stood motionless as Barilla pasta, risotto, Kraft American cheese and Sam Adams–a lot of Sam Adams went into our cart. Of course, everything in the shopping cart included the import tax–so my knees were weak. Earlier in the day I had visited Superama, (Wal-Mart’s grocery store) and balked at the price of cinnamon rolls: $8.00USD for 8 Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and $11.00USD for Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon rolls, so I was price sensitive and in sticker shock in City Market.
City Market had a large wine selection, complete with a wine attendant. The man seemed knowledgable and friendly and many customers came up to him while we were there to ask him for suggestions and recommendations. There was also a fairly decent Reidel wine glass selection filled with glasses, stemless glasses and decanters.
In the center of the second level was a cheese store. The cheese store was interesting to me, in that customers were able to lift the glass and sift through pre-selected cheeses. I am used to a cheesemonger on site who makes suggestions and cuts made to order portions. Still,the selection was robust and it was interesting to help yourself.
The meat counter was the highlight of the experience. The butchers had a robust selection of chicken, beef, kabobs and steaks with many pre-marinated options to choose from. We brought some steaks and grilled them for dinner. We were pleased with the cuts, price and selection.
The second floor also had a cafe, bakery (with some pretty good looking treats) and an extensive fish section. The fish section had a raw bar with bar stools. Because we visited on a Sunday, it was full of families. I’ve never seen so many small children sucking down oysters. However, they were enjoying the seafood and the service, so it must have been quite good.
Reminder: Don’t forget to scan your parking ticket card as you’re leaving the store. It cues the valet downstairs to bring your car around.
The verdict: DH would definitely return. He liked the selection of products and the service at the meat counter was superb. I think it’s a great place to go when you’re missing home and the foods that remind you of it. As much as I like Mexico, I’m also struggling to really accept the reality of little luxuries like gourmet grocery stores and health clubs. In the States, a gourmet grocery store is a great experience. Excellent, interpersonal service is the expectation not the exception.
I miss chatting with the experts behind the counter and learning more about the food and where it came from. In Mexico, and at City Market, it was my sense that if you could afford the import price, you were welcome to shop there. There were no interpersonal interactions and no one cared whether you came back. I miss grocery shopping in the USA and can’t wait to visit Byerly’s, Lund’s, Whole Foods and Eastern Market in Detroit. It will be nice to talk to people who are passionate about food and committed to an interpersonal customer experience.