I worked an extra long today yesterday to complete the work I had scheduled today so I could have a full day off, something I haven’t had in a long time. I would have loved to spend the day at home cooking and hanging out with the dog, but living out where I do and with the schedule I have, I always have errands to do.
Things open late here, so I had a lie-in and a slow morning and then headed to town around 10:30. I stopped first at the Scotiabank at the Galerías and then went into Liverpool to price an immersion/stick blender.
This is something I’ve wanted for ages, mostly to purée frozen fruit, but have done without. My food processor serves the purpose, but it is so much work to clean that I often don’t bother. After The Soup Incident the other day and The Spaghetti Sauce Shambles a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was time to gain the ability to blend soups and sauces directly in the cooking pot.
Liverpool had a few stick blenders, but they were super pricy, just south of $2,000. I know that that’s what a good one is worth, but I don’t want to pay that much without knowing if this is a tool I’ll actually use. So I decided to wait.
I didn’t have anything else to do at Galerías, but I did a quick scan of what other stores there are and I stopped at a fancy (and very expensive — almost Western European-priced!!!) gelato place. There, I tried their amaretto and it was so good I got a scoop of it. I stopped counting the whole almonds in it at 14, which rather explains the $54 price tag for a cone!
Next stop was the Chedraui supermarket quite nearby. Expats here love it and I expected another Mega-type store with tons of imported products and inflated prices on most other foodstuffs. *rereads that* Wow. That could interpreted negatively, but that wasn’t a judgment! I’ve been itching to go to Chedraui, but just haven’t made it there for some reason. Now that I live here permanently, I’m buying a lot more imported products than I did in Mazatlán and whenever someone on the Food Hunt Facebook page asks where to find something, the first answer is usually Chedraui. It sounded like Alibaba’s cave!
To my surprise Chedraui appeared to be the best of all worlds — reasonable prices on Mexican goods and an incredible assortment of imported products. I think I just may have found a rare gem of a store where I could do 90% of my shopping! I could certainly understand why expats are so crazy about it.
One of the first things I did was check out the small appliances section and I was pleased to find a selection of super cheap and mid-range hand blenders all on sale for 25% off. My first choice, Hamilton Beach, was of course sold out. After much pondering, I decided to take a chance on an Oster (which is the same as Sunbeam, really not great quality) kit that had a bunch of different attachments. At $500 (sale price) and okay reviews, I knew that it would be a good experimental model for me.
I then began to make an inventory of what was in the store. It had one of the better frozen food sections that I’ve seen so I put two medium-sized styrofoam coolers (only about $35 each) into my cart and added bags of frozen veggies and… sweet potato fries! Sweet potatoes (camote) are harder to find here than they were in Maz so these will be a nice treat. BTW, full-size coolers are super pricy and I’m still kicking myself for not using the one back in Miranda as a packing box. 🙁
There’s a yoghurt-based curry marinade for chicken that I’ve been wanting to try, but I haven’t had much luck finding a really tasty non-fat no sugar Greek yoghurt here, other than buying massive amounts at Costco. I thought I could find some at Chedraui, but it was proving elusive. I moved to the non-food items on my list, added a very inexpensive and lovely cushion for my computer chair to my cart, and then went to find someone to ask about the location of popsicle moulds when… a lady at a demonstration booth asked me if I wanted to try some non-fat no sugar Greek yoghurt! It was really nice, the kind of plain yoghurt I could eat as-is, so I asked her for a tub of it. She then asked me if I wanted the free popsicle moulds that come with it. I guess some things are meant to be! I had quite a laugh about that.
Unfortunately, I then had a bit of an accident. I’m not sure how I did this, but the little toe on my right foot hit the back of the cart. It really hurt, but I tried to shake it off… until a helpful store employee informed me that I was leaving a trail of blood behind me and that I’d left my toe nail back near the mayonnaise. OMG. The guy was super sweet, telling me not to worry about the mess and handing me wet paper towels and a bandaid, but I was of course mortified. My mind was obviously not on shopping after this and I headed to the checkout.
There, I was able to sign up for the frequent shoppers’ club. I’ll have to see what that entails. There are so many such clubs for major stores and services in Mexico. I need to get one for the cinema next time I go.
A cart guy helped me bring my shopping to my truck, unwrapped my coolers, and began to pack them with things that had to stay cold. With the back of the truck being an oven, I wasn’t sure the coolers would be enough, but there wasn’t much monetary value in them to make me nervous about the experiment.
Off I went to Costco, where I started with a lunch of pizza. I actually didn’t buy much today (although you’d never guess it by the size of the bill!), but I did pick up a box of acrylic tumblers I’ve been looking at since the first time I went and which finally dropped in price. Glassware just doesn’t make sense in Mexican kitchens (too much tile) and I haven’t been happy with the cheap glasses I’ve picked up. The owners of the house have similar tumblers in different shapes that I really like so I know my 16 tumblers in two sizes and eight colours will serve me well.
The only folly I made was picking up a very small brick of Tilamook extra old cheddar for something like $270. The Kirkland brand cheddar I picked up last time was rather disappointing and so I’ve had good cheddar on the brain. I won’t get in the habit of doing this because I wouldn’t pay that much for Tilamook in Canada! But, of course, with Mexican cheese being so inexpensive, even today’s folly still makes the average price of cheese down here affordable.
Like at Chedraui, the cart guy helped me pack my cold things into the coolers. I had just barely enough room and so I was glad I had two. But his help was most appreciated in loading up the heavy pallets of water and almond milk. I haven’t had any luck with any of the providers of 5 gallon jugs of water in Chelem (in the sense that my digestion has been suffering when I drink it, although it’s fine for cooking with and making coffee)) so I’ve been buying the 1.5L bottles of it at Costco. That’s going to stop when I move into the city, but right now, it’s the best option.
I thought I was done, but then I remembered that the cleaner had asked me to pick up a few things things for him that I would have picked up at Chedraui had I had them on my list. So since I had to sort of go in that direction anyway before I could turn around to go north, I headed to Mega, but I didn’t dawdle there at all. I had way too much food in the truck and I was completed tuckered out. It’s a given that it’s hot here and I try to ignore it, but the truck not having AC really does me in.
It was coming around four when I got in. Puppy was on his best behaviour to let me back the truck into the yard and then unload. My frozen stuff was still frozen!
Puppy and I played a bit, I jumped in the pool (not refreshing in the least!), and then I chilled with a beer.
So it was not a particularly relaxing day off, but it was good to get some groceries in. The cleaner is coming on Tuesday and I’ll have a package to pick up at Walmart by then so I’m going to try to get that day off too! I’ll have to see what’s playing at the cinema…