A unique, authentic, family-owned market and deli, offering a wide selection of imported Italian grocery items, meats and cheeses. They also have freshly prepared food for takeout dining, including bread(s), fresh pasta, lasagne and cannelloni, desserts, salads and sandwiches.
In addition to the taste treats at the store, La Lanterna also does custom food orders, so you can really impress folks at your next little get-together. AND, there are also small, occasional Italian cooking classes.
All in all, a great little "taste of Italy" out on Capital Circle in NE Tallahassee. And if you're a vegetarian, you'll find so many wonders at La Lanterna.
The owners of La Lanterna are Ariella Monti-Graziadei and Giovanna Fechter. (La Lanterna operates as part of "Ariella's Taste of Italy, Inc."
What to buy: Well, here are the sorts of goodies available at La Lanterna...
Eggplant Rollatini - thin slices of eggplant, breaded and fried, rolled in herbed ricotta and topped with fresh tomato sauce.
Sicilian Oranges (yum!) - saffron rice balls, filled with Bolognese sauce, sausage and English peas, breaded and fried.
Soup of the day, always freshly prepared. There is also a fresh "pasta of the day".
Among the specialty sandwiches are...
Spiced Olive and Provolone (just what it says)
Caprese (fresh mozarella, tomato, basil and olive oil on crusty roll)
Pan Bagnat (Italian tuna in olive oil, marinated onion, lettuce, tomato, hard boiled egg, anchovy fillets, nicoise olives and radish slices on a crusty roll.
There are wonderful desserts and cookies, both under the counter and available boxed.
And, how about some espresso or Italian coffee to top it off?
And personally, I have my eye on a nice brie laced with white truffles for Christmas appetizer baking. :)
What to pay: Sandwiches are $6-$8 or so. Prepared foods are usually about $10/pound or so. Desserts are usually available in "slice" or "whole" mode, prices vary.
Coffees, cappuccino or espresso are about $2.50 each.
NOTE, not all desserts are available each day. With 24hours notice, they'll prepare whatever you'd like. The Almond Cake is darned good. :)
The food isn't cheap here, but it's excellent quality and genuine Italian. I go to La Lanterna about once a month, and usually have some of their cheese and olives handy at all times.
For quite a few years, Tallahassee has benefited from having a Saturday morning "Farmers Market" over at the Market Square Shopping Center. Basically, farmers and producers from around the area come and set up in the covered "center space", offering fresh vegetables, fruit and other agricultural items up for sale. There are also stalls that sell home-grown spices, organically produced yogurt and dairy products, and even "grass-fed" beef.
By national standards, it's not huge... but it's a pleasant place to visit on Saturday morning to find that perfect cantelope, some fresh tomatoes or corn on the cob, or maybe even a "mess of black-eyed peas".
And, it's only open for business on Saturday morning.... And another little note.... after you shop for veggies, slide over to Market Square Liquors and enjoy their excellent selection of wines.
What to buy: Fresh vegetables, produce, fruit, spices, dairy products, farm-grown/butchered meats, etc.
Be sure to go see the "pea lady". (Photo below) She always has a good crop of several varietals, and can flat out tell you THE best way to cook every one of them. I especially like the white creamer peas.
What to pay: Pricing isn't a lot better than in the supermarkets, but the QUALITY is MUCH better. Truly ripe and delicious tomatoes, juicy plums, etc. :)
THE best liquor store in Tallahassee, hands down, is Market Square Liquors. There are actually seven locations of MS Liquors, but you want to go to the main one over on Timberlane Drive... it's about 10 times bigger than the other ones put together. :)
This is the sort of place where you'll find Budweiser AND beer from Zaire. You'll find cheap supermarket wine along with Wine Spectator vintages at the best possible prices. In short, they have it all. And, the fellows who run the place are an excellent source of undiscovered values in wine. I'd sincerely suggest checking their weekly recommendations area.
Market Square also has a very popular "Wine School", where you can learn comparative tastings and vintage evaluations. Classes are held for everyone from beginners to experts. It's a great way to have a great time, learn something new about wines and to sample the best coming through Market Square's doors. For more info, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Wine School is taught by Michael Dolinski, a wine professional with over 15 years in the business.
Market Square also host private tastings and caters wine dinners.
What to buy: they have anything you'd need in the way of bar items.
I particularly recommend browsing their excellent selection of foreign and domestic wines and beers. There's always something new and exciting for both your wine cellar and beer fridge at Market Square.
And... you'll never meet more helpful and friendly sales associates. These folks know and love their business, and they want to help.
For all sorts of ideas, suggestions and bargains, contact Lee Satterfield, the Director of Marketing for Market Square Liquors at email@example.com
What to pay: You'll get the best pricing anywhere for whatever you're buying.
Blessed with wonderful weather, it's not surprised that the city of Tallahassee has a fondness for outdoor gardens and hobbies. The city is fortunate to have many fine nursery establishments, with the largest being Tallahassee Nurseries, which was established in 1934.
One of THE best in town, or in Florida as I see it, is Native Nurseries. Tucked away below a lush canopy of live oaks over off Centerville Road, Native Nurseries is a medium-sized and decidedly local outfit. Owners Jody Walthall and Donna Legare (who are Mr and Mrs as well) emphasize low-maintenance native plant solutions and ideas for gracious outdoor spaces.
Besides the excellent quality plants, Native Nurseries also has a wide variety of gardening tools, support products, birdhouses, wind chimes, sundials, etc. You name it, they have it...and it's all good stuff.
Native Nurseries also has a well-respected landscaping department, headed up by Jody. Their speciality is water gardens, and they'll help you design and set up a wonderful and relaxing space for any backyard.
One other thing Native Nurseries has... they have THE sweetest little retail assistant EVER working for them. That's right, my daughter Sara works part-time at Native Nurseries. As a dad of a special needs teenager, let me tell you how much ::I:: appreciate Native Nurseries, and especially Donna and Jody's support and partnership with my Sara. These are good people and they have a fine business.
NOTE... when you look at the accompanying photo(s), be sure to see the additional photos. There's one shot of my car (the green Jetta) parked at Native Nurseries. Look how sylvan the setting is! It's hard to believe that this beautiful shady nursery is located less than 3 miles from the state capitol building of Florida and downtown Tallahassee. Tallahassee truly IS a tree-loving and filled town.
What to buy: Well, it's a nursery, so about any gardening or outdoor need can be salved at Native Nurseries.
You'll note the "NATIVE" part of the name. While Native Nurseries does feature and emphasize native plants, they also recommend and sell non-native species so long as they are (a) easily maintained and appropriate for our local climate and (b) are not invasive.
What to pay: You'll always get a fair price at Native Nurseries. Their landscaping may not be the cheapest in town, but it's darn sure among the best. Check out their larger water gardens. sooooooooooo relaxing.
Every Saturday from March through November, the city of Tallahassee hosts a huge downtown open-air market it our "chain of parks". This is a chance for local artists, craftsmen, hucksters, performers, etc. to share their wares.
You can literally get anything from soup to nuts at the Downtown Marketplace. It's a great place to sample local goodies such as boiled peanuts, Barb's homemade peanut (and other) brittles, and freshly cooked seafood. Often you'll be confronted with those travelling Andean pipe bands, but they're usually enjoyable for at least a few minutes. :) Sometimes longer, if you've found yourself a glass of wine somewhere.
What to buy: Whatever strikes your fancy.
Art, food, crafts. It's all here.
And yes, there's a bit of "junk", too.
What to pay: Anything from a few cents to a couple hundred dollars for some of the art.
As in any mid-to-large city, Tallahassee has plenty of flower shops. I've personally bought flowers from quite a few of them, and honestly...everyone in the floral business does a great job.
I just felt that, from a historical standpoint, I needed to give special mention to the city's oldest florist, Elinor Doyle Flowers. Elinor's shop opened in 1926, and has been a Tallahassee floral institution for the following 80 years. The present College Street location is slightly different than the original 1926 digs, but only by about a block. They lost the lease on the old building about 10 years ago and moved.
Elinor Doyle's, I believe, is NOW the longest actively-operating business in downtown Tallahassee. Until recently, THAT honor was held by Deeb's Hats, an old-fashioned hats for women store further down College Avenue to the east. The Deebs recently shut down, due to ill health in the family, AND the general malaise in the dress hat business after 104 years of business. Deeb's was opened in 1902, so they topped Tallahassee for a long, long time.
Here's to long-time family business success.
What to buy: flowers. :)
Buy them for the love of your life.
What to pay: The usual tariff, depending on your tastes. $50-$75 for a nice mixed arrangement, maybe $100 for a dozen perfect roses.
When we travel to rugged destinations, such as Namibia and the jungles of Peru, we always shop for our travel attire at thrift shops. A fellow that I met a long time ago, Tad Fourier, gave me that advice. He said that it was insane to go buy "safari shirts" and other such nonsense. He said that all you needed were lightweight long-sleeves shirts and pants, etc. And, since you're going to rough it, you want items that (a) don't cost too much so you don't go postal if you destroy them and (b) don't cost too much since you already spent all your money on airfare. : ) As for worrying how you "look", Tad added this advice... "you'll never see those people again anyway". Actually, you can end up looking quite the world traveller. Many photos of me on this website feature the fine second hand clothing available from the Lighthouse. Now you know my fashion secret. Hopefully, you'll all still love me. :^/
Anyway, I can't tell you the number of great jungle and desert items I've found at the LIghthouse Children's Home Thrift Store.
AND... you are helping a very worthy cause. Sgt Billy Hudson, formerly of the Tallahassee Police Department, is a rarity (IMHO) in the world of religious persons. He practices what he believes. A born-again Christian, Billy started up the Lighthouse as an orphanage for troubled and abandoned teenaged girls. (there is a separate facility over in Jefferson County for boys) Operating strictly on donations and the thrift store, the Lighthouse has made a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of young women over the years. I've met many of them as I shopped at the store (the older ones help out at the store in non-school hours) and you've never found a more respectful, poised and polite group of ladies.
It kind of makes you feel guilty when you're buying pants at 3 pair for $2.00. : )
What to buy: Whatever strikes your fancy. Besides the clothes, you can find lots of used books and such, at huge bargain discounts.
And again, everything you buy helps Sgt Hudson and his cadre run the Lighthouse Children's Home.
Billy will take any donation and will find a way to make money for his project from it. They even sell used cars.
FWIW, every time I have a personal donation to make, we give it to the Lighthouse. Nobody every appreciates it any more. Their thank you is genuine and heartfelt.
What to pay: Damn near nothing, actually.
The New Leaf Market is a co-operatively owned and operated organic grocery store. They feature all organic vegetables, dairy and cheeses, and sell no meat.
Although I am not the type to go organic or vegetarian, I do shop at New Leaf from time to time because they have so many unique items not available anywhere else in town.
New Leaf also has a nice vegetarian delicatassen and cafe in the rear of the store. So, if you've got a lunchtime hankering for a spinach and sprout sandwich, this could be your place.
What to buy: Among the reasons I go to New Leaf are....
(1) Burt's Bees health and beauty products. I especially like the rosemary-peppermint shampoo soap. And yes, I AM straight. : )
(2) "Endangered Species" chocolate bars. A great selection of tasty imported chocolate bar products. The profits go to help save endangered species and lands. (or so they say. : )
(3) All sorts of great "trail mix" type items. For those of you who love granola, or those of you who love someone who loves granola, New Leaf is your place. (Note to all guys....worry not, there's a Wendy's hamburger place right down the road)
(4) Very good selection of quality, "fair trade" coffees at a good price. Generally, you can get a pound of fine quality coffee beans for under $10.
(5) Excellent fresh and organically-grown produce from all over the world.
(6) All sorts of herbal and homeopathic type medicinal products and such. BTW, whenever you see an older businessman type guy come into New Leaf, it's fun to watch him sneak back to the medicines area to search for "herbal Viagra" type items. It's the only thing those guys will trust to hippies, I guess. : )
(7) Anything else that your beloved vegetarian friends' hearts may desire.
What to pay: Reasonable prices. Not cheap, but you get quality and you get assurance of your product's production and origin.
If you join the New Leaf co-op and volunteer at the store, you can get discounts. The more work you do, the larger the discount.
Not me.... I just shop for groceries, I don't want to stock them at the store.
One of Tallahassee's newer stores is the Fresh Market, located in the Village Square shopping center. Fresh Market is an upscale food mart featuring top quality produce, meats, wines, cheeses and other items. This is one of those stores where they don't sell "packaged" meats.... it's all behind glass at a butcher shop.
And, Fresh Market is the sort of place that has the unusual products, at least for Tallahassee. Can you say fresh Chilean Sea Bass?
As you'd guess, they have a huge array of common and uncommon fruits and veggies, all very good quality. There are all sorts of exotic nuts and the like, too.
And there are some very good coffees available for a very reasonable $8.99/pound.
Guess what? The prices are reasonable. SURE, if you're buying sea bass, then you'll be coughing up $20+ per pound. But, on items that are found in other stores in Tallahassee, Fresh Market prices are very competitive....sometimes even less.
I would shop here more often, except that it is more out of my way.... and they don't have a lot of common items that are part of everyday life. Let me put it this way.... they may have lovely Italian biscuits dipped in savory dark chocolate, but they probably don't have plain old chocolate chip cookies.... the kind that kids eat by the bagful. Surely, they'll have some variety of import, fancy-schmancy chocolate chip cookie.... but who wants to watch your kids scarfing down $25 worth of cookies at a single setting. : ) Chips-a-hoy have their place in our house. So do Oreos.
What to buy: Excellent quality meats, super fresh and fine seafood, wonderful "prepared" meat items (stuffed chicken breasts and such), fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee, wine.....
Everything at Fresh Market is excellent quality, and the prices are pretty decent. This is a good place to shop for "special dinners", or when you can't find some obscure ingredient in a recipe. ; )
What to pay: Some of the stuff is pretty dear. But on the whole, prices are fair for what you're buying.
There are three CD Warehouses in Tallahassee. They are absolutely my favorite places to shop.
I love music. The CD Warehouse is an actual compact disc and DVD store. They sell new releases and all that other stuff.
BUT, they're also a used CD and DVD exchange point. They have lots and lots of excellent quality used CDs at very reasonable prices. AND, the best thing is that, unlike most used CD places, CD Warehouse is impeccable well-organized. Everything is alphabetized and in good order. You can find things. : )
Anyway, I make a decent little salary. But, so long as CD Warehouse remains on the scene, I'll never be rich. I give too much of my money to them. FWIW, I presently have about 800 compact discs, and I continue to buy more more more. ; )
What to buy: I suggest the used CDs and DVDs.
One note... if you're a frequent buyer like me, you'll benefit from CD Warehouse's "buy 10 and get one for free" plan. If you're buying used like I usually do, this means you'll get one free used CD priced up to $8.99 free.
What to pay: Budget used CDs as low as $1.99. Generally, used CDs are $5.99, $6.99, $7.99 and $8.99, depending on demand.
Sometimes you get really good deals on double CD sets. I got "Hot Rocks" by the Rolling Stones (did I tell you that my high school nickname was Mick?) for only $12.99.
Without a doubt, THE best supermarkets in Tallahassee belong to the highly successful Publix chain. Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, Publix has been running clean and friendly supermarkets for 75 years.
What you get at Publix is consistency. Always clean, always well-stocked, always friendly service. And, they have everything that you'd expect of a top-notch supermarket.
Deli, bakery, fresh seafood, butcher meat shop, lots of ethnic foods, a darned good wine selection for a supermarket, too. (they have expensive and well-regarded wines, as well as the usual grocery store also-ran from Lodi. : )
Publix motto is "where shopping is a pleasure". There are three other chains operating stores in the greater Tallahassee area. There's a reason that Publix is about to put them all out of business. Publix is part of Tallahassee's social fabric.
What to buy: Groceries, prepared deli foods, wine & beer, odds and ends, basically whatever you'd need from a supermarket.
What to pay: Their prices are pretty much average. Look for lots of "buy one, get one free items", a Publix specialty.