As I hop into my white 2013 Prius and blast some reggaetón, I’m excited about my (metaphorical) 20-minute drive to a mercado in México. In reality, I’m getting on the 118 west to race from Granada Hills to Canoga Park. I take the 27/Topanga Canyon exit and cruise south to get to my destination: Vallarta store No. 12.
This Vallarta might be on Topanga Canyon, but don’t get it twisted. Its home is not West Hills or Chatsworth — she’s in Canoga Park, right across the street from Lanark Park. Vallarta knows their audience after all.
Vallarta Supermarkets have more than 50 stores in Southern California, including several in the San Fernando Valley, but this particular store has only been around for a few years. In fact, that location used to be a Vons. Now it’s something better. Take a look for yourself.
Nestled in one of many San Fernando Valley plazas, this Vallarta makes shoppers (like me) nostalgic for Mexican mercados. It’s not hard to see why, as the market is painted in vibrant colors and comes complete with a tortillería…
A carnes frescas section…
And even aguas frescas!
Since it is a Mexican supermarket, it comes packed with Mexican favorites — like Topo Chico (which makes a hard seltzer now!), cantaritos, piñatas, lotería (which hilariously is right next to the chelas), and fruit jellies.
As you’re pushing your cart through the store, you’ll also find all the Saturday morning cleaning staples, like Suavitel, Fabuloso, and jabón Roma. (Ariel is the inferior powder soap. Sorry, not sorry.)
And, of course, no Mexican market is complete without a random tower of pelotas. The Canoga Park Vallarta is no exception: They’ve placed their pelota tower between aisle six and seven.
If all of that is still not enough to mobilize you, consider that this store also has a cremería, masa and tamales, and a whole lot of beer.
Vallarta representatives did not answer our multiple requests for comment.