Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Most Excellent Adventure

Today I set out with fellow food snobs Catherine and Sarah to explore some ethnic markets around the Twin Cities.  I'm remarkably un-adventurous for someone who loves grocery shopping.  I pretty much stick to my favorite co-ops, with occasional trips to specialty shops and upscale grocers.  So this trip was all about exploring new markets!  And judging from the haul (this is just Sarah's and my groceries), I think we were successful!

If you think this is a lot, you should know that this is just the top layer.  There are a couple layers of grocery bags here.  And then the whole backseat.

The plan was to visit 5 markets and we successfully visited 4 (Bill's Imported Foods was closed).  First up?  El Burrito Mercado in West St. Paul.

They have f-ing piñatas hanging from the ceiling.  If that isn't enough to win you over, I don't know what is.  This market is organized, clean and had plenty of helpful staff around.  And they have piñatas.  Did I mention that?

I was really excited to pick up tons of corn husks and masa harina to make tamales pretty soon.  Also, they had great deals on bulk dried chiles.  I scored some New Mexican chiles and guajilla chiles.   

Plus, there are these crazy lima bean snacks with chile and limon- Haven't opened them yet, but I'm super excited to try these and then duplicate them at home if possible!  Plus, I got tons of saffron for something like $1.99.  

And then I found the salsa bar.  Seriously, there were about 18 kinds of salsa, pico de gallo, and mole.  Crazy!  I opted for what the staff person said was the most popular- the salsa fresca.  I busted that open in the parking lot before we even left the store.  Super fresh with lots of great chile flavor.  And they make their own chips, so those are really fresh as well.  I didn't get any of their vegetarian (apparently vegan) tamales since I was already buying ingredients to make some, but they had a good sized tray of them for $8.99.  I'll be back to try those and the other salsas!


foodfeud said...

Exciting! I love grocery shopping and I love browsing in new stores. Looks like you've got some seriously nice authentic stuff around there.

Sar said...

Oh yum! I love the idea of a salsa bar! I'm still looking for new ones, but I have my usual Latin grocery haunts in Toronto, mostly in Kensington Market.

Catherine Weber said...

I'm wishing I had bought some salsa, too! :)

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have gone along too--WHY did I have to work?!? It looks like it was great!


Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Heads up: Mexican saffron is nothing like the Spanish kind! I remember being stoked at finding some at the flea market, but got really bummed when I realized it wasn't the same.