I try to avoid grocery shopping when hungry, but just driving into the parking lot at Scotts Valley Market when smoke is drifting upwards from the outdoor grill makes me ready for another meal.
Every day they fire up wood chunks to cook meats for their deli. Today spice-rubbed tri-tip, large racks of ribs, and chicken legs lent their aroma to the smoke.
The market is the sister of Ben Lomond Market, and locally owned by a family which has been in the grocery business since 1946. The merchandising is sharp and orderly with products supported by stainless Metro-style wire shelving. The produce is locally grown when available and 40 percent of it is organic.
My destination on this visit was the deli, with a case full of prepared salads from pasta to tuna and Chinese Chicken. There's a fresh fruit bar and a two-sided salad bar with a great selection of greens and toppings.
If you're in a hurry, preassembled salads are also available. A whole turkey was brought from the oven, and a chef prepares Chinese take-out.
You can build your own sandwich ($5.79) from a custom order sheet choosing from seven breads, nine spreads, and almost 30 fillings including meats, cheeses and vegetables. They have grilled burgers and pressed panini ($5.99), wraps ($4.99) and cold sandwiches ($5.99 to $7.99) such as Turkey-Cranberry and the Steamer Lane Louie.
I had heard that the Tri-tip was extraordinary. The sandwich man thinly sliced warm, well-trimmed, juicy beef and placed it onto an eight-inch long sourdough roll with Jack cheese, mayonnaise, a touch of tangy barbecue sauce, and a stack of produce. He suggested it's better when pressed in the panino machine. The cheese melted and the aroma was enticing, even to the check-out clerk.
Scotts Valley Market, 14 Victor Square at Scotts Valley Dr., Scotts Valley, 438-4324.
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