One of the best features of living on the Drive is the easy access to an extraordinary variety of fresh foods each day.
There are the classic east-side vegetable and fruit markets, often run by Chinese merchants, like Normans and Triple A; there are the far eastern markets like the original Patels and, now, the Sureno; Italian food stores such as Santa Barbara, La Grotta di Formaggio, and others. Filipino and African supplies are easy to find, as are specialist meat stores like Falcone Brothers and the deli section of Santa Barbara. There is fresh poultry from Apollo, fresh flowers from the Florida, and fragrant breads from a dozen independent bakeries.
But still there can be surprises.
Seeing the photograph I put up here yesterday, my wife went looking on the Drive for mangosteens today. At one of our Chinese-run vegetable and fruit emporia, she was told that “white people” don’t eat mangosteens and that’s why they don’t bother to sell them. That led to a conversation about all the “odd” stuff my wife and I eat on a regular basis, and the vegetable seller’s surprise at what to her seemed our adventurous eating. I hope that conversations such as she had with my wife today will persuade her to eat outside her culture herself.
To me there is nothing more pleasant than finding a new taste that you like. Italian blood orange soda is this week’s kick, by the way.