Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good food for you, and good for the wallet!

Pierogi's 1lb $2.99, blackcurrant jam $3.99, Ground Cinnamon 7 for $3.89, Kagor Wine $8.99
Smoke Riga Sprats $1.99 and Mackerel Fillets in oil 2 for $1.99

So I am not the type of person who really cares what I eat. Pez for breakfast? Sure why not...also adding to my long list of breakfast items; pop rocks, oreo's, cold pizza, the list goes on and on. Clearly I am not the type of person who shops (often) at say, Trader Joe's or Wholefoods. Also let's face it I'm a pilot's wife and those places are pretty pricey, and in case you hadn't heard they sometimes make less than window washers

However I have become a HUGE fan of ethnic grocery stores (by ethnic I don't mean Hispanic~sorry, don't like the food to start with, and prices aren't that great). What I do mean however is Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian stores. Arabic stores are also a great deal, if you can find them, and like Middle Eastern food. These stores are undiscovered gems in my opinion. I first discovered one when we were living in Houston, there is a pretty good sized Russian store on the south side somewhere. The first time I went in I was like a kid in a candy store! Why yes, I would like a monster bottle of blackcurrent for $3.99, there is also the best chicken seasoning in the world (which I didn't put in the pic) that is great for throwing in the crock pot! And John would be very sad if I didn't mention this, they usually have Turkish coffee, and of course it's cheap...$4.99 a bag, I can't find it for that price anywhere else, even on Amazon!!

If you are one of those people who isn't comfortable in foreign countries where you can't understand/read anything these stores are really not for you. They tend to be pretty crowded, everything and usually everyone is speaking in a different language, but if you can get past that they are phenomenal stores.

Also as an added bonus to being mostly (super) cheap the food is actually better for you than your average chain grocery store Kroger/Smiths/Jewel etc. Take for instance those pierogi's there are 6 ingredients in them, and I can pronounce/know all of them. This HAS to be healthier for you than the ones you snag out of the freezer at Walmart with 20 different things I can't pronounce, not to mention the price, $2.99 for a 1lb bag!! Hard to see but one of the tins on the counter is Mackerel Fillets in Oil. First off John loves this stuff and it travels exceedingly well, second it was 2 for $1.99 and third, there are 3 ingredients in it again all things I can pronounce.

Now as for the wine/beer/liquor they sell. First off let me say I am not a California wine person, sure they make a few good ones, but a blind squirrel finds a nut once and a while right? I also am not a red fan, but I have yet to get a bad one at these stores. It's hard to describe the taste, it's just so very different, same with the beer, it has a VERY different taste. And for those die hard alcoholics it has WAY more alcohol per bottle than the stuff made here, the bottle in the picture is %16.

Now my favorite store is a Polish store in Chicago (go figure right?). The trickiest part of any of these stores is usually the deli (aside from actually finding the store itself). We got exceptionally lucky in Houston and the guy was very nice and liked the fact that I at least knew how to say "please" and "thank you" in Russian, so he gave us a crash course on the types of sausages and cheese's most store's like this carry. If you haven't had this benefit, it's more like blindly shooting at the squirrel I mentioned earlier :). Basically you get to the deli and point, you can try and butcher whatever word is in front of what you want, but your better off pointing unless it's going horrible wrong, then hope you like what you get. Same with the liquor selection at the store in Chicago, it's all BEHIND the cash registers, so you have NO way of knowing much of anything. I try (unless I am looking for something in particular) to look at see which one has the fewest bottles, I like to think this means that it's popular=good, not just out of stock.

All in all I would highly recommend you find a store like this and check it out of course unless you live in ABQ because there are none. Also please don't think the people are being rude because they aren't talking to you, chances are they don't know English that well, and a smile and nod will go along way!


  1. We don't have many of these out in the hills. Not even a decent Hispanic grocery store. We do have a yummy Indian restaurant, but prices are nowhere near this good. Great find!

  2. We have none of these in ABQ either :( Whenver I got somewhere I spend half the day dragging John to stores that I have googled and put in the gps to find!