If you live anywhere near the San Gabriel foothills, you will be familiar with the drive north up Lincoln from the Rose Bowl or thereabouts, into the giant, impossibly crowded parking lot across from a tiny carnicería, and into the cavernous interior of Super King Market. It is a huge semi-warehouse of a place that has three locations, two in this town and one in Anaheim, where the operation was started by the Fermanian family in 1993.
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Inside you can get astonishingly inexpensive produce, including raw almonds, a dozen chiles, clean and leafy greenery, and donut peaches when they're in season; a great meat department, with cases full of fresh chorizo, pigs feet, and al pastor, etc.; a huge selection of Middle Eastern items, including bulgur (we lost count of how many grades) and yogurts and cheeses and nuts and even Turkish Delight like a secret Narnia flashback by the door; a working bakery producing Mexican and Armenian breads and pastries at a rapid pace; and, well, one could go on.
You will also find rows, sometimes boxes in the aisle waiting to be unpacked, even crates if you're lucky, of mystifyingly inexpensive Nutella, that Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread that is, depending on your lifestyle choices, either a great kids' snack food, a terrific filling for handmade crêpes, or a perfectly reasonable substitute for sex or methamphetamines. You can even buy a whole flat if you ask nicely.
Super King Market: 2260 North Lincoln Avenue, Altadena; (626) 296-9311.
Look for more "Best of L.A." pieces in our annual Best of L.A. issue, coming Oct. 7th.