One of the first L.A. Fresh & Easy Markets is in my neighborhood. There’s also an old Trader Joe’s as well. Both stores are similar – not quite full supermarkets, but bigger and more well-stocked than a convenience store. They both carry mostly store-brand products, manufactured mostly to be somewhat upscale gourmet yet affordable.
Trader Joe’s used to publish a Gluten Free guide to products in their store. Unfortunately, they rarely updated it and eventually discontinued it. I suspect their sourcing methods made it impossible to guarantee the food’s gluten-free status.
There isn’t a whole lot I can eat from Fresh & Easy, other than relatively unprocessed foods like produce, cheese, meats, etc. They have a line of pudding that is suspiciously similar to Kozy Shack, and is labelled “Gluten Free”.
A few weeks ago, I noticed a small-ish (two 4-foot shelf sections) dedicated Gluten Free section at Fresh & Easy. It’s mostly other brands, but it’s pretty awesome that they’ve recognized the need. There are other GF items in the store not in this section (the obvious stuff) but there’s a nice selection of pasta, snacks, sweets, and baked goods, all labelled gluten free.
My wife and I both work in Burbank, but on opposite sides of the city. It’s not a big city in comparison to Los Angeles proper, but over 100,000 residents, it’s certainly not a small town. So it’s not too surprising that we’ve never had lunch together. There are so many food options on my side of town, so I’ve never had to go over there.
But when she told me about a new gluten-free market opening up over on her side of town, I had to go visit.
Pam MacD’s is a small market, but it’s jam-packed with all kinds of gluten-free goodies. They’ve got all the stuff you expect – Bob’s Red Mills flours, Glutino crackers, Gorilla Munch cereal, etc. – they also have a whole range of products I’ve never heard of before. And they don’t just focus on snacks and breakfast food (the easy stuff) – they’ve got stuff for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desert. They focus on gluten-free foods, of course, but many of the products are also free of other allergens, and I saw some vegan cupcakes in the refrigerator case. I was easily able to fill a shopping bag with lunch and safe goodies for the office and home.
They’re at 3516 Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505 and are open 7 AM to 7 PM every day in their “preview” period. I assume hours might change after their official opening on Friday.
There just aren’t a lot of stores like this in Los Angeles. It’s nice to have a store that not only gets it, but is actively supportive of the GF community.