Many Steps

I was a woman on a mission today! I’ve wanted to get a Dutch oven (casserole dish with tight fitting lid that goes from the stovetop to the oven) for ages and ages and ages and decided that I would get one for this year’s Yule present to myself. I wasn’t too fussy on whether I got cast iron or enameled cast iron, but I wanted something decent. Soriana has little enameled Crockpot brand Dutch ovens for about $850, so that was my starting off point. They were just too small, but at least I knew that I could get a Dutch oven in this city.

So today’s plan was to hit a Walmart, a Ley, and Mega to see what they might stock in this area. I had also checked a kitchen supply store in Juárez the other day. Part of the urgency is that I plan to cook a ham for a potluck next week!

Since I also wanted to go to the bank and Waldo’s, it made sense to go to the ‘old’ Walmart on Carretera Internacional, which would give me a chance to try out the Ley in the El Mar Plaza (as opposed to the Ley across from the Waldo’s on Ejercito Mexicano, which becomes Carretera Internacional). If neither had what I wanted, I could then either hoof it or grab a bus to go to Mega. If I struck out at Mega, I could then double back to Soriana. Here’s a map of my day:


I had a wee bit of work to do this morning, then I headed out. I stopped at our new Isla bakery and got a big cinnamony bun as a late breakfast. Very yummy and not absurdly sweet. It’s great that we have a bakery now!

The Baja Ferry was in port:


I did what I needed at the bank, then crossed over to Waldo’s where a contender for the world’s crankiest woman was ahead of me in line.

After that, I had quite a hike ahead of me, but it was nice to be going into an area where I’ve never walked before, although I have driven. I found this sign shortly after Waldo’s:


It’s pleading (successfully!) with youth to not graffiti the walls.

This was my second time in as many years going to a Walmart here and the last. They really don’t carry much! The kitchenwares section was abysmal. The only thing that made the effort of going there worthwhile was that I found a new ‘ballistic’ screen cover for my iPhone for only $99. The screen cover that came with my case was really badly scratched and it took a friend with a cover by the same manufacturer to convince me that I could pop out the scratched cover without otherwise damaging the case. I can’t believe it took me so long to do this. What a difference!

Walmart is Walmart no matter where you go and there are never sufficient cashiers. So I had a chance to get a picture of this while waiting in line:


I buy those exact same pistachios at the Co-Op in Assiniboia for about 8CAD a bag. These are about 3CAD a bag.

Ley wound up being a bust and I was pretty tired by the time I’d circled the store. Walking to Mega was out of the question, so I hoped I wouldn’t have to wait too long for a bus. Well, I got to the bus stop just as the very bus I needed was pulling up! I took that as a good sign!

I was peckish by the time I got to Mega since I’d been out of the heat for a bit so I grabbed a slice of pizza. I officially declare that I love Rin Rin pizza!

My first survey of the kitchenwares department at Mega was disappointing, just the same very low quality enameled pots I saw at Ley and Walmart. But something told me to have a closer look and I struck gold on a bottom shelf — a Gibson-brand cast iron Dutch oven in the perfect size!

Here it is in use and already covered with fingerprints! 🙂


The best part? It was a mere $500!!!!!!!!!

Next, I decided to scope out ham. Well, this is where my day got interesting. As it turns out, you can get a whole ham here to bake or boil, like we do in Canada and the US, but for some reason, they don’t call it jamón. That’s reserved for lunchmeat. The whole ham is called pierna ahumada (literally, smoked leg). I had a chance to sample some that was cooked and it is definitely ham like we get back home. Mega wanted a whopping $500 pesos for a small one! Their prices, especially for meat, are insane, so I didn’t buy one. But now I know what to look for when I go to Ley next week.

I did a bit more shopping (and was irked that they didn’t have hummus!), then I headed out to get a taxi. Up until very recently, I would have thought that I snagged a pulmonía, but I’ve now learned that the open air taxis here that have doors are not pulmonías!

The driver took a really bizarre route to get to the embarcadero, including taking Avenida del Mar (lovely; I got to look at the ocean!), but he went out of his way and made the trip a lot longer than it needed to be. I almost felt like giving him directions! And, yes, he charged me the normal price of $60, so it’s not like he was trying to squeeze more money out of me!

On this side, I made the mistake of thinking my bags weren’t too heavy, but by the time I was halfway home, I was seriously thinking of stashing one and coming back for it later. Luckily, I ran into reader Michael, who bundled the heavier bag onto his bike and dropped it off at my place for me. Thank you again!

I got in and put together a semblance of a beef stew, something I’ve never done. This is an in between picture, with the onions and beef nearly cooked, but the veggies just starting. I added green beans near the end.


I didn’t have anything to make a rich brown gravy or any turnips for flavour, but the test taste was satisfactory! I love how the beef is sold here, in very thin strips, so you don’t get these huge chunks that roil around in your mouth. I found the hamburger was outrageously priced at Mega, but was very happy with how much I got for the $60 pesos I paid for this ‘sirloin’ (as per my translating app).

My favourite thing at Mega is the bread, it’s just better than that at the Soriana and Ley bakeries. I really do try to watch my bread consumption, but I always come home from Mega with a load of pumpernickel and a loaf of raisin bread! I also picked up some buns (bolillos) today to mop up the gravy from my stew!

It was a very, very, very, very full day. But I’m glad I did all that walking since I’ll be typing all weekend!

Also, any day here that ends with me wiped, but still eager to cook is a magical one!  I joked a lot about not planning to cook this winter but, surprise, eating out tons got old pretty fast! I’ll be glad to have stew to get me through the next couple of days, but I did promise Patti that I’d stop by for an enchilada brunch tomorrow or Sunday!

8 thoughts on “Many Steps

    • Glad someone appreciates the effort! 🙂 This one isn’t great in that the whole bit from the embarcadero to the Walmart is not the route I actually took, but it at least gives you an idea of distances and where things are.

  1. Rae, Was your cast iron Dutch Oven already “seasoned”? How big – quart or liter – is it? I love my cast iron skillets and have one for the RV, too. TIA

    • Yes, it came pre-seasoned. It has a 4.7L/5QT capacity. I have two cast iron skillets, a tiny one about the size of a slice of bread and the other is very large. Both are ‘antiques’ that I seasoned myself. I would say I cook 95% of my meals on the large one.

  2. Good lesson on the ham. Some people come here and never get it, that jamon is sliced style Virginia ham or similar and pierna is the leg. I think we will have a wonderful conversation in Spanish and I hope I get to find the panaderia on the isla.

    • Thanks, Chris! I like the San Rafael sliced ham, which is ‘jamón de pierna,’ which really reinforces the lesson!

      If you can’t find the panaderia, you’re not trying very hard. It’s on the main drag. 🙂

      Looking forward to seeing you and Juan in a few days!

    • Mike, I make my own hummus back home, but you can’t get lemons here. And, please, do not even suggest to me to use anything but tahini. I’m a purist. 😉

      Your place is almost ready! See you in the morning.

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