Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Holy Grail of Grocery Stores

In Denver, we are blessed with some seriously good ethnic restaurants, to name a few Vietnam Grill, Star Kitchen, Axum, and last but not least La Taquiera Mexicana. I reason that because of all these amazing restaurants there are also some amazing grocery stores. I imagine that they require plenty of produce and supplies that fulfills the restaurant needs. So, Evan and I have dedicated some time to discovering The Holy Grail of Ethnic Grocery Stores, if you will.  Of course there is HMart in east Denver, and Pacific Ocean Market on south Federal. Which supply the best of Asian foods you can find. Everything from Dragon Plums (pluots) to made in front of you fish shaped, chocolate-filled waffles, piping hot and gooey. 

Most of the time I get the majority of my produce there, depending on the quality. Like any grocery store you have to scrutinize the produce and ensure that you are getting the best quality that you can, but especially at the HMart and Pacific Ocean Market. I find that sometimes the produce is great and other times produce is not so great. But what is always great are the prices.  At one point Evan and I had attempted to figure out how much cheaper our groceries were when we went to the Asian markets before we went to our regular grocery stores such as Sprouts or Safeway. What we discovered was for about the same amount of money, say $70, we can buy almost two thirds as many groceries at the Asian grocery stores as we can at our regular grocery stores.

Having fully mastered the sometimes strange and often delicious world of the Asian grocery store, Evan and I went in search of new wonders and discovered Arash International Market.  After a quick google search, this store garnered the most positive responses and as it just so happens is directly across from HMart. The reports stated that there was fresh feta and fresh olives, Huzzah Treasures found! Ultimately Evan and I were in search of cheap fresh olives so we could marinate our own as I am deeply fond of olives and can consume whole can fulls at one sitting, thus the necessity of cheap.

This store did not disappoint. They had three different types of fresh feta, each delectable. Not to mention at least 10 different types of olives, pungent and flavorful.  Naturally I got all three different types of feta and have continued to enjoy them through the week. For me, the biggest difference between fresh feta and regular store bough feta, is not only the flavor, but also the consistency. The flavors are sweeter, grassier, and saltier than regular feta. The consistency is more firm, and often creamier. All three, Bulgarian (sheeps and goats milk), French (sheeps and goats milk), and Greek (goats milk) had distinct flavors, and distinct consistency.

Naturally we also bought several different types of olives and have been munching on them all week...yet to actually marinate any but I am sure that will be the next step with the next visit. The store also hosted a number of interesting new delicacies, such as some sort of dessert with whole pistachios encased in white nougat, or a type of cheese known as "kefir cheese", which reminds me of formage blanche. A french breakfast food somewhere in between cheese and greek yogurt. The staff was simply wonderful and welcoming and there were some interesting and fresh produce. I will definitely be going back to this store to sample more of the surprising new food opportunities. The Holy Grail of Grocery Stores...probably not, but the quest continues...stay tuned.

Up Next...Macaron Mayhem!

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