What some of the best chefs in L.A. are buying at your local grocery store

What some of your favorite chefs are buying at the grocery store.
A box of Pocky, left, fried chicken and Teddy Grahams. These are just three of the items local chefs said they purchase at the grocery store.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Chefs — they’re just like us. Sometimes, they’re super basic and shop at the grocery store. We asked Los Angeles chefs to share the items they buy and eat on the way home.

Fried chicken

Fried chicken
Fried chicken from Ralph’s is one of Teresa Montaño’s favorite grocery store buys.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

$7.99 for eight pieces, available at Ralphs

“One thing that has always been a guilty pleasure is the fried chicken at Ralphs. I know it sounds dreadful, but it always hits the spot. I always wonder what kind of chicken they use, but I feel like I will not really like the answer. … Ignorance is bliss in this case.” — Teresa Montaño, Otoño


A new Los Angeles Times Food series devoted to the best fried chicken in Los Angeles, hosted by senior food writer Jenn Harris.

Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cups

Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups
N/naka’s Carole Iida-Nakayama likes to buy Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups from the grocery store.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

$1.99 for a pack of two peanut butter cups. Available at most grocery stores

“It’s perfect because the dark chocolate outer layer is the perfect ratio to the peanut butter inside. It satisfies my chocolate craving plus gives me a little extra protein so I don’t feel as guilty as eating a Reese’s!” — Carole Iida-Nakayama, n/naka


We asked a mix of writers, editors, chefs and staffers what supermarket they lean on most.


Chocolate Pocky
Nakul Mahendro of Badmaash restaurant loves to buy Pocky at the grocery store.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

$1.69, available at most grocery stores and Asian markets

“The chocolate version is the perfect balance of creamy rich milk chocolate and the crisp, pretzelish cookie ... not too sweet. Just perfect. Arguably the best mass-produced chocolate cookie/snack/crisp.” — Nakul Mahendro, Badmaash

Food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson goes to Artesia with Arjun and Nakul Mahendro and their father, Pawan, to try some of the best Indian food in the city. The Mahendros own a modern Indian restaurant, Badmaash, with two locations in Los Angeles.

Ari’s yogurt

Ari’s yogurt
Dear John’s chef Josiah Citrin is a fan of Ari’s yogurt.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

$7.99, available at Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and Erewhon

“It’s a Greek-style yogurt made from sheep’s milk, rather than the typical cow’s milk. Besides being lactose-free and about double the protein of cow’s milk [yogurt], this yogurt is incredibly creamy with a slight tang in comparison. I use their plain yogurt often, and unlike many other brands out there, even the plain is delicious enough to eat on its own.” — Josiah Citrin, Dear John’s


During its 40 years in business Northgate has established itself, arguably, as the best Mexican supermarket in town. At the start of a new decade, the family-run company finds itself catering to a large and increasingly diverse customer base across Southern California.

Teddy Grahams

Teddy Grahams
Roxana Jullapat of Friends & Family likes to buy Teddy Grahams at the grocery store.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

$3.69, available at most grocery stores

“The box is big, so I try not to give in to temptation too often. And they have to be Teddy Grahams. The other graham crackers are good, but they’re not a perfect nibble like the Teddy’s. They come in different flavors, but the honey ones are the best.” — Roxana Jullapat, Friends & Family

Wrigley spearmint gum

Grocery store finds
Wrigley’s gum is one of Kim Prince’s favorite things to buy at the grocery store.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

$1.29, available at most grocery stores

“I’m old-school. I can skip a meal if I have some gum in my mouth. Even with braces. I’m a regular shopper at Albertsons on Crenshaw.” — Kim Prince, Hotville Chicken

Kim Prince of Hotville and Johnny Ray Zone of Howlin’ Ray’s share hot chicken insights in the premiere of our ‘Bucket List’ fried chicken show.

Chili & Cheese Clover chips

Chippy Chips and Clover Chips
Chippy Chips and Clover Chips are a favorite of Lasa chef Chad Valencia.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

$1.75, available at Seafood City and Chaaste Family market

“My newfound love is Leslie’s brand Clover chips, specifically the Chili & Cheese flavor. They’re not spicy but loaded with MSG (yum) and are cheesy with a lighter, airier crunch than what we’re used to in American chips.” — Chad Valencia, Lasa

Honey-roasted peanuts

Planters peanuts
Somni’s Aitor Zabala is a fan of honey roasted peanuts.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Any brand, prices and availability will vary

“When I was a kid in Spain, my family had a house in Priorat with lots of nut trees. I would eat the fresh nuts with my family. Later on, as a 12-year-old in Spain, I discovered honey roasted, salted peanuts, which me and my friends considered a cool ‘American food.’” — Aitor Zabala, Somni at SLS Beverly Hills

Karoun Dairies string cheese with caraway seeds

Karoun string cheese
Nancy Silverton likes to buy Karoun Armenian string cheese from the grocery store.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

$5.55, available at Ralphs and your local Middle Eastern market

“If you’re starving, it’s the perfect snack. Much better for you than Fritos, salt-and-vinegar potato chips or M&Ms.” — Nancy Silverton, Mozzaplex

Eat your way across L.A.

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