New Gourmet Option Opens

Large market/deli/wine store in San Jose
BY: COLE KUTZ

Why do we chose to live in a foreign country but turn up our noses at the local cuisine, and instead pursue our favorite foods? I don’t know, but we do. And U.S. Foods helps us with this quirk of our nature by importing our Skippy peanut butter, and our Aunt Jamima syrup. Then they up that ante with such exotics as white and black truffle oil, and smoked duck breast.

Fred Botello, a Mexican American, is the man behind all this.

Botello started out by importing fresh food for the local hotels and restaurants, which he has done with increasing success over the years.

Then about four years ago he branched out into selling retail some of the goodies he was importing for the hotels and restaurants. He opened California Ranch Market in downtown Cabo San Lucas. There you will find your favorite brands, with heavy emphasis on gluten free and certifiable organic among the Kettle brand potato chips and Planters honey roasted cashews.

Now he’s opening what will quickly become the mother ship of his importation business. He has taken a 3000 square foot retail location in the Palmilla strip center, which is at the Palmilla exit off the fourlane. This new California Ranch Market will be the best thing that ever happened to that retail strip center that has struggled with a lot of vacancies.

This new store is primarily a grocery store but will also offer catering, a delicatessen, small patio seating, and a large selection of beer and wines from around the world.

Sarah Francs will be the store manager and resident wine expert.

Manuel Arredondo will be the chef/caterer who will prepare for onsite consumption on the patio or for take home organic fresh bread baked daily, healthy smoothies, gluten free breakfast pastries, and organic salads and sandwiches made to order. He will be available for catering  that can include Maine lobster and fresh Kobe beef from Japan. Home deliveries from the deli or the market are also available, call your order in or do that online. Their website is easy to navigate and choose from the thousands of items neatly nested in sub menus. Buy with your credit card, and receive your order at your doorstep.

Botello is planning on selling the same successful mix of merchandise at his new location as his other, but with the larger space he is going to expand into such goodies as 20 to 30 different imported cheeses like Tete de Moine from Switzerland, Parmesano Reggiano from Italy & Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese. There will be more than 100 different wine labels and 10 to 15 beers. There will be a separate ultra gourmet section with items like white and black truffle oil, smoked duck breast, truffle salt, truffle butter, and 20 & 50 year old sherry vinegar from Spain. There will be imported specialty meats, including more than over 15 different salamis from four countries such as olli Napoli, calabrese, Wild Boar and tartufo salami.

He is building a carpeted lounge in the center that he envisions will be useful to men waiting for the little woman to do her shopping. There will be a bar and TV with sports, and it will be a good opportunity to try out the 100 different bottles of wine available. “But honey, I’m helping you with your shopping, I’m working on the wine selection”.

There is already in place an entire wall of commercial refrigerators with glass doors, as well as a swanky deli case brought over from Europe. Optimistically, he as two check out counters. Well, the average Whole Foods carries about 4,000 products and Botello is stocking 3,000, so this is no little corner store.

How high end? Well, he is locating close to the very high end Palmilla, not in the barrio. He tells us it costs him about 15% to 20% to pay importation and trucking fees, but says his products are still priced on average 10% less than Santa Carmela, the other store that caters to sophisticated foreign tastes.

The store is currently under construction but by the time you read this if will be open, promises Fred. Opening night is June 16, and will be celebrated with a big party starting at 6 pm and featuring live music and fun and games. All that day, from 8 am to 9 pm you can get a whopping 25% off all food items. So go to the party, sample many of the products and tstock up your pantry.