I think many of us were thrilled by the idea of having a shopping center close to both where we work and where we live. Imagine being able to leave work for half an hour for some relaxed shopping or simple spend the rainy days in the winter, looking for some nice deals. At least I, didn’t feel quite as thrilled after visiting the Stanford shopping center the first time. Well, they had Macy’s which can have some nice deals from time to time, but it felt a bit strange passing shops like Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Tommy Bahama, Louis Vuitton etc. It felt like some of the shops were more aimed at people having an order of magnitude higher salaries than most postdocs.
After one year and several visits there we’ve now learned to know what’s worth going to and what’s probably not worth looking at. Something that is really nice is the fact that Macy’s actually gives an 11 % discount to anyone who is not permanently residing in the U.S. Not heard about it? I’m not surprised. They usually don’t talk about it or suggest it but if you ask about it you will get the discount. If you want to read more about it you can look here: http://www.visitmacysusa.com/visitors/pdfs/Macys_Savings_Pass_Int.pdf Just remember to bring your passport (or driver’s license) when shopping so that you can show that you really are from another country.
Another really nice store is Sigona’s Farmers market. It’s a bit surprising to find a farmers market among the other stores there and even more surprising is that they actually have pretty good prices. 7 avocados for $0.99 is pretty nice and 3 lbs of oranges for $0.99 is also ok. They have a nice variety of fresh fruit and vegetables (almost everything locally produced) and an impressing assortment of mushrooms. Dried fruits and nuts are covering an entire wall and if you’re into gourmet chocolate you won’t be disappointed (although here the price is pretty high). This is also one of only two places in the vicinity of Palo Alto where I have found rye flour, for making bread that actually tastes something. The other place is the milk pail which is also a very nice place to shop for fruits, vegetables and cheese.
Opposite Sigona’s is Max’s Opera Café. Doesn’t sound like a very cheap place and I’ve actually never eaten there. They do on the other hand have happy hour from 3pm to 7pm and a good combination of discounted drinks/wine and tables in the afternoon sun just outside. A perfect place to breath after a week of hard work.
Mikael from Sweden blogging from Menlo Park