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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Birthday Prep for Nesko, and our neighborhood is awesome.

October22

Nesko’s birthday is this Saturday (and next Saturday is Halloween and the Saturday after that is his brother’s birthday. The holidays are flying thick and fast now!) I’m making spanicopita, pastitsio, and chocolate-vanilla marble cheesecake.

I wanted to get good feta for the spanicopita and kefalotyri for the pastitsio, so we went to Andy’s Fruit Ranch. There, we found that kefalotyri is like $11.00 a pound, which we can’t afford right now so I got romano instead. I was able to get almost everything on our list except for Spinach (their fresh spinach looks really good and I don’t want it to sit in the fridge for three days; we’ll pick some up on Saturday morning), and chocolate cookies for the cheesecake’s crust.

They had almost no chocolate cookies.

They had some chocolate flavored maria cookies, but I’ve never had those before and have no idea if they taste like a butt or not. I know they’re a popular cookie, but do they work well in a cheesecake crust? No idea. They had oreos, which are nommy, but they were pretty expensive. They had some ladyfingers that were flavored half chocolate and half vanilla, which is not enough chocolate, and they had cookies drenched in chocolate covering.

Mmm, imported cookies.

Upshot is that Nesko’s going to pick up some kind of hard chocolate wafer cookie on the way home from work tonight so I can crush them into crumbs for the crust. It’s not that big a deal, having to make two trips. In fact, a few decades ago, it was common to make multiple trips when grocery shopping: you hit the butcher, you hit the bakery, you hit the green grocer. Stores specialized in what they sold.

Andy’s Fruit Ranch mostly specializes in import and ethnic things. They had cases of Jupi and Cockta. They had one million Polish cookies. They had Goya and La Preferida products out the windows. This is what Andy’s Fruit Ranch is.

I’m glad to have a resource like them, one that sells 6 different kinds of phyllo dough, 4 different kinds of feta, amazing cuts of meat, frozen Burek. It’s really awesome! We live in a cool neighborhood that has a lot of grocery stores like this, catering to different ethnicities (including at least one halal butcher).

So it’s kind of disappointing to read negative reviews on Yelp or whatever, from people who don’t really understand what an ethnic market is. Sorry, no, a place like this isn’t going to have every different brand of doritos, coke, pepperidge farm bread, whatever. If you want a wide selection of American products, go to a chain grocery store. If you want butter from Ireland and Poland and Germany, honey from all over Europe, 15 different kinds of olive oil, fresh fluffy packages of pita and naan, then come here. It’s this weird kind of entitlement. “Improve your selection, and THEN I might consider coming back!” Do these folks write overly wordy reviews of Jewel or Dominicks lamenting the lack of freekeh, poppy seed filling, Dr Oetker’s products? Do they really think that a specialty grocery store with a thronging clientele is going to come crawling after them? Weird.

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