Central Market is a Texas grocery chain, specializing in high quality products, diverse selection and awesome customer service. It's a bit like Whole Foods (another Texas native), but I actually prefer Central Market. Maybe it's the bulk spice bar, perfect for a nomadic chef such as myself. Or maybe it's the homemade tortillas, still warm in their bags... or the gelato bar... or the dip bar (with the ever present and delicious CM Love Dip)... or the awesome homemade beef jerky...
Prices are on the higher end as compared to other local supermarkets, but you can find some great deals. Last year I picked up a jar of excellent mixed berry jam for $2. And they do carry some products from the HEB supermarket chain, so you don't have to pay $6 for a jar of spaghetti sauce. They also have "Foodie Finds," specialized food products on sale, which is how I've gotten exposed to some great stuff...
Pixie Tangerines: sweet, seedless, so tasty. They have a wrinkled skin, so they aren't the prettiest pixies around, but they are delicious.
Sweet Limes: It looks like a Meyer lemon, but it's a lime and a sweet one at that. I haven't sliced into it yet, but I'm wondering if this could be a subtle variation in a meringue pie.
Astica Torrontes: It's one of the most flavorful white wines I've ever had, made from Torrontes, a grape grown in Argentina. And it's been on sale at CM for the past couple weeks, going for $7.
Mandarin Orange and 5 Spice Beef Jerky: I love love love good beef jerky. It isn't the sexiest food to eat, but I don't let that stop me from diving in. (I just tend to do so in private.) So when I saw the selection of bulk beef jerky this week, I had to try some. They had pork and beef jerky, in a few different flavors. I opted for the Mandarin Orange and 5 Spice beef variety and it was worth every unsexy moment.
I could actually keep listing the awesome features of Central Market. Instead I'll just wait to see what things I find on my next visit.