There's a tiny grocery store on just about every street corner in my part of town, and most of them follow the same business model: lots of liquor, a few snack items, a token amount of wilted produce and surly, suspicious service.
One splendid exception is the Searchlight Market at Union and Hyde, just across the street from Swensen's ice cream parlor. Here the hungry hunter-gatherer can find splendid apples, tomatoes, fresh herbs and greens, top-quality steaks, chicken and seafood, freshly baked sourdough and those prepackaged yet tasty tuna-and-tomato sandwiches on whole wheat bread. There's a dazzling array of Progresso soups, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Pepperidge Farm cookies—important matters as the evening shadows lengthen—and the liquor department is substantial. (The store also satisfies all of your chips-and-candy bar needs.)
Counter service is chronically friendly and the place stays open until 10 p.m., making those bedtime snack runs positively convenient. Call 673-1010. —Matthew Stafford