Well, despite my general dislike for what I perceive as "hoidy-toidy" (sp.?) stores, I went to visit Central Market (the hoidiest of the toidiest) for the first time in over a year on Monday evening. I didn't wind my way through the whole store, but focused on the wines and the produce, my two favorite subjects. As to wines, I have to admit that Central Market has a very interesting -- even eclectic -- selection. That's a big plus with me. I like stores that put some serious thought into their wine selection. And they clearly do. Lots of my favorite regions were well-represented, including the Rhone and southwestern France, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese wines. Prices weren't as good as Spec's, but they weren't bad either. I picked up a cheap, interesting Tempranillo to try.
Their produce selection is amazing, and very fresh-looking too. All manner of greens (I picked up some broccoli rabe for pasta). Prices a bit high (like Whole Foods, but seemed even a tad higher). But probably worth it for the selection and the freshness.
And, on a Monday after work, it wasn't that jammed with the high-fallutin', moneyed crowd that usually gives me the willies. (That's why I usually avoid formal wine tastings these days -- I really need to talk to a therapist about this "issue.") So, the bottom line is: I'll be back.