For Mom: Fresh Market
I have a new-found love and appreciation for good, prepared food. Being a full time mom to a 2 year old with another "bun in the oven" (I found a food metaphor appropriate here), it gets really hard to stay inspired to cook healthy, delightful tasting meals every night. And it just so happens that Fresh Market is on my way home from one of the gyms I teach at. Hooray for insta-dinner - that isn't Stouffer's French Bread Pizza!
If you haven't been to Fresh Market before, it is an upscale grocery store. I consider it one step up from Trader Joe's but not quite a Whole Foods (I know, this echelon of grocery stores can get quite confusing). There are a lot of goods here: fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh breads, canned goods, frozen entrees, bulk items, butcher's counter, fish counter, and other things that make this a grocery store. But it isn't huge, so I wouldn't plan to do all my grocery shopping for the week here. It's a nice place to stop to pick up something if you need for ingredients quickly or want high quality meats. Or, like I mentioned, to pick up a prepared meal.
In the middle is a counter full of all sorts of meals and ready made entrees: roasted chickens, vegetable and pasta salads, pizzas, and other sides and main entrees for the plucking. We have enjoyed the prepared foods we have picked up here.
Other favorite spots of mine in this shop: the coffee spot (smells so good) and the "chocolate delights" jars! Also, their floral section makes me feel pretty.
Cary: 3655 SW Cary Pkwy 919-481-2865
Chapel Hill: 1200-A Raleigh Road 919-932-7501
Raleigh: 400 Woodburn Road 919-828-7888
Raleigh: 6325 Falls of Neuse Road 919-872-8501