12/26/2008

Ethnic Grocery Stores in Dallas

In Texas, everything at first glance seems sort of blandly uniform and WASP-y, especially in the complex and exciting world of grocery stores. (Remember, GFT is a grocery store aficionado since her P & G days .....often it's the first and last place she hits on an international trip. ) Sure, we have a lot of great Mexican grocery stores, and even in the past 20 years, Asian grocery stores of one kind or another. There are neighborhoods in Houston, for ex, that cater exclusively to Japanese or Vietnamese clientele, and near where my mom lives in Plano there is a new pan-Asian grocery store as big as a walmart with live fish swimming in wall-sized tanks like an aquarium. I imagine the little kids with their families shopping there : "Oh, mom, look at the pretty fish !" " Beautiful- that's what's for dinner ! " But in Texas we don't have many of the same ethnic neighborhoods that are found back east, and I miss that. I know there are Greek and Jewish neighborhoods in my childhood stomping grounds of far north Dallas, but I have yet to find the secret jewel of an ethnic grocery store that I just know is tucked away somewhere in a bland anonymous strip mall nearby. Only recently overheard some Cajun folk at work talking about buying their Turduckins for the upcoming holidays, asked them where they would go to do this, and discovered a great little outpost of Louisiana only a few min from my home, in Lewisville on the way to the airport.
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So it is with great joy that I swing by Jimmy's Italian Food Store in old east Dallas whenever I am in town, and stock up on anything I just might want/need : vast complex wine selection, terrific deli with "to go" sandwiches, fresh specialty produce, that one-of-a-kind item I can't find anywhere else. My cooking often skews towards Mediterranean , it is the "go to" arsenal of recipes in my head and skills that were learned when I spent a summer as crew cook for an archaeological dig in southern Italy, way back in college. Jimmy's, much like it's German equivalent in town, Kuby's, overpowers all 5 senses the minute one steps in to the store. It is full of wonderful smells, sights, sounds, tastes, and textures that allure one down the aisles further and further into the forest till you are overcome. Half the fun is going there, the other half is planning what you will cook tonight !

4 comments:

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