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Andronicos Central Market

For commuting office workers on a short leash looking for quick solutions to life's little pangs, this yupscale Emeryville food hall fills the bill nicely. Prices are high but selection is king. Need arugula, Stilton, a bunch of posies, and a get-well card before you hit the freeway? Longing for the taste of turkey and Swiss on a seeded roll? Searching for the right chardonnay to go with some well-brought-up chard? Got Saint-Julien? A Rubicon cake? San Pellegrino limonata and aranciata canned sodas live here, as do exotic potato chips. You can order one of two daily-special freshly prepared pastas to go until 7:00 p.m. Ditto individual-sized pizzas and humongous Italian breads. The cheese selection is so good it can make your teeth ache. Lots of fancy mushrooms, too. And a salad bar. You can take your lunch or latte outside and join the social scene on Andronico Beach, aka the store's covered patio. Down the block, grinding his teeth at the passing parade of button-pushers and logic-questers, sits the old-fashioned hotdog man and his rust-belt lunch wagon, waiting for scarce factory workers to happen by. He's pretty lonely. Gritty old Emeryville long ago blasted off into the squeaky-clean future. Bring cash. And hair gel.

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