AJ's is a long way from the push-cart vendor selling fresh produce and pots and pans. AJ's (Bashas' bon vivant cousin) is the Neiman Marcus of grocers. Weave your way into the store through a tropical abyss of flowers, then beyond to the produce aisles, where bountiful displays resemble vibrant pop art paintings. Attentive butchers are standing by to cut meat precisely to order. Belly up to the bars, featuring sushi, antipasti, salad, wine and coffee, with opulent pastries for your gourmet pleasure, plus rare and exotic cheeses with flowers imprinted on them, prepared food to go that mother never had any intention of making, and pizza by the pie or slice. Pretty packaging makes us want to consume and then some.
2. Roma Imports, 627 S. Vine Ave., 792-3173
3. Rumrunner Wine and Cheese Company, 3200 E. Speedway Blvd., 326-0121