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Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Love This Store!

Are you someone who tries a new food not in spite of the fact that you've never had it before, but because you've never had it before?  Do you buy something at the grocery simply because you don't have a clue what it tastes like so you want to take it home and start Google searching for recipes to use it?  Well, then, ethnic groceries will ignite your foodie flame!  I've always been a pretty adventurous eater, and since marrying my darling hubby I've tried tons of new foods.  He's a great inspiration because he's lived in so many places and is so knowledgeable about the culture of food and he also likes to try new things.  It's really fun to "discover" food finds in restaurants and stores.

I love, love, love shopping in all kinds of ethnic grocery stores.  I love the exotic ingredients they stock, I love the fragrances, I love the product labels in foreign languages, I love the people watching, and I love the prices.  A trip to a really good ethnic market is like a vacation to me.  I'm so blessed to live here smack-dab in the middle of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex where I have easy access to stores catering to cultures from all over the world.

One of my all-time favorite Mexican groceries is the Carnival Food Store located at 3460 Webb Chapel Extension  in Dallas.  Here's a sampling of the "booty" from my last visit there:

Yes, the item at the bottom left of the pic is a bag of the famous and elusive Camellia red kidney beans.  I hate to share my secret source, but I feel it's my duty as a food-lover :)  They not only carry the Camellia red kidney beans, they also carry two or three other varieties of Camellia brand beans.  And yes, I think these beans are deserving of the hype.  They seem to be very fresh and tender.

I'm really fond of Goya brand items.  Their products are consistently good quality and reasonably priced.  Goya olive oil is the everyday olive oil of choice in our kitchen.  We especially enjoy the Goya chorizo, which is the Spanish-style cured type chorizo rather than the Mexican-style fresh type chorizo.  It's so good and so inexpensive.  Carnival is the only place I can always count on finding the Goya chorizo.  Do you think they laugh at me after I leave the check-out line for buying 10-15 packages of chorizo?

I was surprised to find Cento San Marzano tomatoes at Carnival.  Pretty cool.  Not to mention that Carnival and many other ethnic groceries have true butcher counters with cuts of meat you can't find at your local Kroger or Tom Thumb, and they usually have really good pre-marinated meat for the grill:  chicken fajita, beef fajita, ribs.

I enjoy the opportunity to practice my extremely limited, extremely weak Spanish at Carnival or any Mexican market, but I haven't been to a Mexican market in the Metroplex where the employees didn't speak English, so don't be intimidated by any perceived language barrier.

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