400 food competitors are about to flood downtown Las Vegas for the 2013 World Food Championships. The pantry will be stocked and pans will be on station, but what about that special ingredient? That ingredient that was too heavy to pack on the plane. That ingredient that you swore was tucked under your socks.
No fear! Las Vegas has some of the most diverse grocery stores and specialty markets on the planet. I’ve highlighted quite a few in my Local’s Guide to the World Food Championships. If you download the guide to your phone or tablet, you can use the interactive setting to link to Google maps for directions or to quickly call any store to check on item availability.
For those looking for everyday items, this city has plenty of chain stores like Albertson’s, Vons and Smiths. Keep in mind; however, that location may matter. Stores stock items based on their primary customers. We’re competing in downtown Vegas. The customers near downtown shop differently than those out in the suburbs of Summerlin and Henderson.
I love shopping at Whole Foods. We have 4 in town. The best store near downtown is at 6689 Las Vegas Blvd. in Town Square. You may look at the map and be tempted to visit the one on Lake Mead Blvd. It’s nice, but it’s a much smaller store. The Town Square store will probably be a hot spot, so if they run out of what you need, you can try the stores at 8855 West Charleston Blvd. or 100 S. Green Valley Pkwy.
We have great Latin markets all over town with seemingly endless varieties of meats and produce. There are two stores located near downtown: Mariana’s and Cardenas. They are across the street from each other. You can’t get more convenient than that.
Lacking transportation? Mariana’s will take you back to your hotel for free, if you spend more than $70.
Seafood and Asian Markets
In my opinion, the best seafood in town can be found at our large Asian markets. Both 99 Ranch and Seafood City have aisles upon aisles of freshly caught and even live seafood. Their large produce departments have traditional American fruits and veggies mixed with ethnic delights like lychees, thai chili peppers, even durian. The inner aisles are of course filled with thousands of Asian specialty items.
Does your winning dish have the flavors of India? If so, you’ll want to stop by Rani’s World. They carry the best Indian spices, chutneys and beans, along with fresh produce.
Las Vegas is home to Nellis Air Force Base. If you have a military ID, you can shop at the base’s commissary. It’s a really large store with all the basics and a few ethnic items.
I’m hesitant to share this store with you because Artisanal Foods is my favorite eclectic specialty store. The restaurant quality, gourmet ingredients here could really put your dish over the top. Many of Vegas’ top chefs shop here. Foie gras, truffles, caviar, lardo, duck fat, charcuterie…need I say more. If you’re looking for any of these ingredients, I highly recommend you call first. They also accept pre-orders.
I can’t leave out Sam’s Club. After all, it is a sponsor of WFC. There are five stores in town. Want to shop before you arrive? Order online using the Sam’s Club Click’n’Pull by 5pm and pick up your items the next day.
If you’re really strapped for time, Vons will deliver your groceries straight to your hotel. They deliver 7 days a week, but you’ll need to plan ahead. Orders placed by 3am, will be delivered 10am-3pm. Orders placed by 8:30am will be delivered 4-10pm.