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Best Place to Shop for Gourmet Foods San Francisco 2002 - Draeger's Market

We fully expected to give this award to a business within the city limits of San Francisco. Alas, we could not, in good conscience, say that any market in the city beats Draeger's for high-end, gourmet, can't-find-it-anywhere-else groceries. The store stocks practically every oddball fancy food known to mankind, which means you need only shop in one place before the important dinner party with notable guests. The meat is top of the line, produce is bright and perky, baked goods are soft, eggs are fresh from the hen ... you get the point. And, the most valued commodity (grocers of San Francisco take note): The staff is genuinely helpful. You ask for something, they find it. You have a question about coffee, the coffee expert comes to talk to you. Wow. It's the Nordstrom of food stores. Draeger's also offers culinary classes, and there's an actual wine chiller in the store, which will quickly cool the chardonnay you pick up on your way to a soiree. How cool is that? Certainly, this is all compensated for at the checkout counter (we're fairly sure they sell the most expensive vanilla beans in California). But it's well worth the splurge, particularly if you've already committed to the effort of creating a beautiful meal.

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