I recently visited my parents in Del Mar where I grew up. I wanted to get some tortilla chips to accompany homemade guacamole. My Dad said that I would have to go to the Del Mar Heights Vons. I remembered back to a different time when I had more hair and could ride a skateboard down to the Windmill Farms grocery store at the corner of 15th St. and 101 — with a superb parking lot view of the ocean. There were four or five gas stations, a 7-11, a donut shop (my personal weakness) and several liquor stores. Then over time they all morphed into restaurants, office space or strip malls. The Plaza replaced the Windmill Farms market with restaurants and shops but after twenty five years could not consistently house a market. The Mobil and Zel’s Liquor on 15th Street became a Starbucks and a bank. It was like an episode of Survivor and only little Del Mar Liquor and Deli was not voted off the island.
Del Mar Liquor and Deli is a great little store packed with a wonderful selection of craft beers, wine and liquor. I found a bag of really authentic Mexican tortilla chips next to high quality kettle potato chips. Then there is the Deli! Sixteen different sandwiches to select from as well as a few breakfast options. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sample any of the delicious looking sandwiches as I am intolerant of gluten. Long-time owner Jimmy Bagata promised to check with his supplier about the availability of gluten free breads. But have no fear salads are here! They prepare tuna salad, chicken salad, roast beef salad (my favorite) — and many others. If you can handle gluten you don’t want to miss the surfers’ favorite, Number 5 with turkey and avocado on multigrain toast. And for those who miss the quick trip to the grocery for last minute items you can find milk, eggs, and a small selection of fruits and vegetables.