Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yesterday's mission.

I hauled my three kids to the local latin supermarket to procure ourselves an obscene amount of empanada discs for the pastelitos. Yes I make my own pastelito dough except around the holidays. Around the holidays it's a choice of premade discs or no pastelitos but more on that next week.

In typical ADHD fashion I proceeded to go up and down every.single.aisle. Oh my. I found gofio! I haven't had gofio since my age was in the single digits. We used to pack our mouths full of the stuff and of course like all Dominican kids, say the word gofio. Lots of fun back then. Having been raised in Miami by a very adventurous gourmand like my mom (and that's putting it mildly) I have a soft spot in my heart for many other ethnic dishes. The frozen foods section at the supermarket had roti filled with garbanzos, Jamaican patties (yet another variation on the pastelito), Venezuelan arepas, Honduran pupusas (ready to toast people!), and of course parfried tostones and croquetas. I swear I stood in front of the freezer in awe and the poor kids had no idea why.

Although pretty soon they got the picture when I added a few choice treats to our cart. Exhibit A, dulce de leche otherwise known as arequipe. One of the best incarnations I've had of this treat is a Colombian specialty. Imagine a communion wafer the size of a tortilla (called an oblea) which you spread as lavishly as you wish with dulce de leche (the good kind, not the stuff haagen dazs wants you to think is dulce de leche) then topped off with another oblea. Eat, munch, get a whole mess of crumbs on your shirt then go back for another. I'm not going to get into the possible sacrilegious bent on this snack, all I know is that it's amazing.

See where it says, "Great lunchbox idea!" All I'm going to say is that you won't believe what passes for kiddie nutrition in our good 'ol latin american countries. I don't kid myself into thinking that this is healthfood but a now and then treat.


Suffice it to say my kids loved this stuff. Good thing I bought the itty bitty teensy pots.


Next up, the guava paste. Mmmmm, super thick, super sweet flavorful guava paste to eat with cream cheese on a cracker, in a guava pastelito or better yet in a Colombian bocadillo - a small concentrated block of guava paste served with a matching little hunk of salty white farmer's cheese. Talk about eyes rolling back in your head.


And what Dominican worth their salt won't take advantage of another opportunity to indoctrinate her children on the deliciousness of plantains? Oh yeah the kids loved the plantain chips, garlic is a hands down favorite. The other favorite highlight of the trip? The meat department. In this day of overly sanitized, skinned and deboned meat, looking at a pig's head, pig brains and a cow's tongue is definitely a way to earn cool points with little boys. When my oldest asked me if cow's tongue was yummy (after my internal, "ewwwwwwwww!") I just smiled sweetly and said, "some people find it quite delicious!" I wouldn't want to ruin it for him in case he'd like to try it one day.



Chula said...

My Mother loves cow tongue, it was quite disturbing to me as a kid watching a giant tongue sizzling in a frying pan ew....LOL.

Marielle said...

LOL - I'll admit I was inwardly thrilled as the adult knowing that thing would never end up in my cart. Well unless we were dissecting it for a homeschooling project . . .

Lowell said...

I've had the Colombian treat that you're talking about Marielle. A co-worker brought some back from a trip one time, and I've been looking for them ever since. Yum!

Where did you go? We have a pretty good latin market in Angier. And an awesome bakery.

Marielle said...

Ohhh do tell about your latin market. I'm curious enough to travel a bit. This one was International Foods in Garner. Decent selection on the stuff you wouldn't find in mainstream stores but the regular stuff is just too pricey.

Those obleas and arequipe are killer and oddly enough I also discovered them thanks to a coworker a long time ago. Long live food sharing in the office!

Lowell said...

You know, I think that ours is called International Foods too. It's on 55 right in Angier. Paul and I aren't sure, but we think that it used to be Carly C's. Carly C's moved to the IGA store when they went out. It's a bigger store and they still have a lot of latin items that you wouldn't find in the "regular" grocery store. But the store that used to be Carly C's never closed. I'll look next time we're there to see what it's called.

I must be tired because that's a big rambling mess of non-information. Where's the one in Garner? I'll look next time I drive by to see if ours is any bigger-so maybe worth your trip.

The bakery is across 55 a little closer to downtown. It's in a building with a BP station. It smells so good in there. We've tried several things that I don't know the names of, and they're all good. I'd recommend the trip for the bakery. They also sell the popsicles that I can't think of the name of-La Princessa maybe? They had guys that would go around with carts in TX selling them in the summer. They sold a pickle flavor that was my favorite, they they don't seem to have anymore.

Marielle said...

Nah, that made sense don't worry. The one in Garner is right before the 50/70 split when you turn into the street that has the gas station and the Asian market. Kind of tucked behind there in a little latin mecca of stores and shops.

Mmmm paletas. Definitely let me have the name of the bakery.