Vintage Grocers Open in Westlake Promenade

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Last weekend the new Vintage Grocers market opened at Westlake Promenade where Bristol Farms used to be. The Grand Opening featured a live band, tastings, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and gift bags for the store’s first 500 shoppers.

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Owner Paige Laurie and market director Eric Fuchser cutting the ribbon at Vintage Grocers Westlake Village

(Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)

This is the latest local new business I’ve gotten to check out and share with you. Market director Eric Fuchser led a group of local media around the store about an hour before it officially opened, and we could tell that there was buzz building because would-be shoppers were trying to enter early!

Vintage Grocers crowd

(Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images)

This is only the second location of Vintage Grocers, the first being at the old Trancas Market site in Malibu. It’s what I like to call “last chance groceries” before heading up to camping at Leo Carillo or Sycamore Canyon, or when we used to accompany my husband when he surfed at County Line. (It’s been a while!) Recently on the way to a camping trip I had to stop at the Malibu store to get peanut butter. And jelly. And bread! What is normally a frugal meal cost way more there, so I was curious to see what prices are like at this new store.

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At first I wasn’t even looking at prices, because the Westlake Vintage Grocers is impressive in its size, spanking brand new-ness, and pretty things to look at every way you turn. There are several fresh food counters including a juice bar, a sushi bar, a hot meal deli and burrito bar, a fresh poke bar, a butcher counter with an impressive spread, an olive bar, a private wine tasting room, and more!

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Private wine-tasting room, with giant TV for watching the game (not shown)

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The market is proud to source their produce, meat, and seafood as locally as possible. In fact, they source many other products from local makers as well, including Malibu honey, bloody mary mix, and even tequila, samples of which were in the most impressive media gift bag I’ve ever received.

vintage grocers gift bag

Unbagging this was fun!

But after the sparkles in my eyes wore off, I did peek at some prices to see how they would compare to my normal grocery store visits. A large tub of greek yogurt: $4.79 (at my usual store, $4.99). A 6-pack of Mike’s hard lemonade: $9.99 (at my usual store, same). There are plenty of things that are much more expensive, but I can survive on those two things, at least if I’m stopping in to get some items on my way out of the Promenade after a movie or a browsing session at the book store.

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The addition of Vintage Grocers to the Westlake Promenade seems like a good one for our community. Not only do they provide a great place to stop in and get anything under the sun, but they also employ about 85 people from the surrounding area. The store carries some unique items, and I look forward to going back for lunch or dinner to try their fresh foods.

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Vintage Grocers is celebrating its grand opening all week long with activities that are open to anyone each day:

Tuesday, October 4 – Mommy & Me (11am – 1pm)
Bring your kids for a complimentary Mommy & Me experience.

Wednesday, October 5 – Farmer’s Market (5pm – 7pm)
Meet our local artisans and enjoy demos and tastings around the store.

Thursday, October 6 – Sports Night (5pm – 7pm)
Enjoy craft beer tasting and our Build Your Own Burrito Bar before the big game. Show your team spirit for a discount.

Friday, October 7 – Date Night (5pm – 7pm)
Bring your significant other to the Wine Room to enjoy the oyster bar, desserts, etc.

Saturday, October 8 – Kids’ Carnival (1pm – 4pm)
Bring the little ones for an all-day event featuring face painting, music and prizes.

Vintage Grocers
7:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily
100 Promenade Way
Thousand Oaks CA 91362

Have you been into the new store? What do you think?

A Tale of Three Mango Drinks

Mango must be the It Flavor of the season, because I was recently pitched or gifted three mango flavored drinks that were very different. Here they are in order of my preference.

Sauza Sparkling Margarita

sauza sparkling margarita

This drink is actually available in Original Lime, Wild Berry and Mango Peach, but since I had already started on the mango train, I went with that choice for easier comparison. Served chilled, Sauza Sparkling Margarita is a complete drink in a bottle. Its slight carbonation reminds me of the most awesome margarita I’ve ever hand – at a little cantina on the streets of Loreto in Baja, Mexico. Except with the addition of the mango/peach flavor. It’s a perfect drink, really, especially if you don’t have the time or the patience to mix up a margie from scratch, and you want that extra flavor.

Caveat: it’s strong. It goes down like a wine cooler – easy – but it packs the punch of tequila because, uh, it has tequila in it. Also, because it’s carbonated, it’s like Champagne – it doesn’t keep for long. You have to consume it 2-3 days after you open it. This is the perfect beverage for serving to guests at a gathering, but not for casual sipping while making dinner all by yourself. Unless you like it like that.

Suggested retail price of $12.99 per 750 mL bottle and $7.99 per 375 mL bottle.  

OWG’s Tango-Tini Mix

tango-tini mix

I invited a few girlfriends over to taste this beverage with me after I made it and realized that it was a huge batch and would also not keep very well. The Dot-box Mixer is a package of powdered drink mix that you combine with vodka or wine. I used a crisp Chardonnay when mixing with the Tango-Tini flavor (which is mango, orange, and peach). The unusual, and sort of fun, thing about making this is that you do it in a big zip top bag. A bottle of wine, the packet of drink flavor – pour them in, shake up the bag, and freeze for 3 hours. What comes out is a frozen drink. You need to whisk it or put it in the blender for a smoother consistency, but it was cold and refreshing! My friends and I agreed that it would be the perfect drink for serving outside on the patio on a hot night with a bunch of girlfriends before heading out on the town. Served with the OWG Cracker Smack, which is another product you mix in a big plastic bag – crackers with spicy flavoring – it was a fun little tasting. One friend noted that these are the kind of products you might see at Cost Plus or even Bed Bath and Beyond in the gift section.

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Tango Tini mix – $10 at OWG, and Cracker Smack – $5 at OWG.

Sencha Naturals Green Tea + C

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I got a packet of this drink mix at a social media event. I think. Honestly, every time I attend an event I get a bunch of cool stuff that if I don’t catalog it the moment I get home, it’s hard for me to remember where I got it. But I’m pretty sure that I got this one at the Social Media Club of Los Angeles seminar about Social Media For Social Good (I work with a charity that uses social media to spread the word about our efforts to collect donations of diapers for needy families).

Anyway, since I had mango on the mind, I noticed this mango-flavored drink and thought “what the heck?” At first I thought it was actual tea, but it turns out that it’s a fizzy vitamin drink like Emergen-C or Airborne. It’s not as awful-tasting as those two products, but when you’re sick or anticipating sitting in a germ-filled airplane for several hours, you’re more likely to quaff something you think will be beneficial to you even if it’s not the best flavor in the world.

I wouldn’t drink this again by choice as a refreshing tasty beverage, but if I needed a vitamin infusion, I would give this a shot.

Sencha Green Tea + C available starting in June.