Sunday, October 15, 2006

Famima!! a.k.a. 7-11 for Yuppies

Ok - Step 1: I'm a Famima!! addict. In the 2 weeks that I've discovered that it opened up in Pasadena Trio (their 2nd Pasadena location), I've been there at least five times. How very evil of them to stick in between my work & home commute - thereby forcing me to lust for their paninis, or bowl entrees, or sushi (latter 2 pictured below -- the varieties oggle the mind!). . .

For those not familiar with Famima!! - it's basically an upscale convenience store borrowing many concepts from Japanese mini-marts, including an ultra-clean yet inviting atmosphere, fairly-complex ready-made foods (bento boxes, indian curry rice, etc.) that's not too pricey (most entrees around $4-7, snacks/sweets for $2-3), and lots of interesting items that screams for window shopping & impulse buys (UFO instant yakisoba, aromatherapy candles, specialty teas.) So far about 6 locations have opened in the LA area, and I for one am quite interested in whether this business model will work with the upscale American audience, or will it eventually devolve (foodwise, at least) into another ampm.

First off, I'll contend their food isn't always great. There are better sushi to be store-bought elsewhere (Mitsuwa Marketplace comes to mind), and I don't think they excel at anything in particular. However, the novelty (and the draw) is that they sell so many different kinds of good-but-not-great food that I really don't need to make up my mind about what kinda cuisine I want. I can just head to Famima!! and then decide "Hmm... do I feel like a donburi? or maybe just some pasta? or perhaps a salad & some soup? Oh... I know - a freshly steamed Chinese bun and tiramisu (for under $4 combined)!"

The shop also has quite a bit of eye candy too - from their magazine racks to their mini aisles of snacks (Japanese and American) to toiletries and personal hygiene products.

But the main draw for me is definitely the food - which, in addition to being at least "not bad", is portioned for single people! No more having to fish out stuff gone bad in my fridge or eating a family-sized x-and-y until it comes outta my nose or pissing off roommates by hogging freezer/fridge space with a half-empty container.

While you really can't go really wrong with any of the foods there (but again, don't set your hopes up too high), I have a few faves and recommendations: the green tea mousse cake with azuki bean paste is absolutely heavenly (not too sweet and not heavy-handed on the green tea flavor), and also much kudos to their brewed-on-the-spot coffee (which still has that delicious crema!) Oh yea - and they have a big variety of bottled drinks, including a good selection of specialty sodas.

Including my favorite, ramune marble sodas! (bottom shelf)

Looks like I won't be partaking in steps 2-12 of the program for awhile ;)


Anonymous said...

wow! i've driven past it once and i dropped by a similar store in hollywood before (not sure if it's famima). you've convinced me to definitely walk in next time i'm in old town.

would be dangerous though if i'm hungry, as i would buy everything...



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...