I love grocery shopping. those who know me know that i can spend literally hours touching, sniffing, squeezing, thumping, tapping, shaking and weighing just about everything in the grocery store. My grocery store habbits have been poked fun of more times than i can remember, boyfriends have threatned break ups if i didn't leave the cheese section immediately, and people often mistake me for a worker- because i guess i carry that vibe of "I know what i'm doing here, stand back!"
Here in Richmond, we're lucky to have MANY great small stores and a couple big or fancy ones so you can get anything and everything you could ever think of in the realm of culinary arts. From Ellwoods, toHappy Mart to Tan A-- if a recipe calls for it, you can find it-and i'm here to help. We may not have little Jamaica like NYC or Chinatown like DC or San Fran or even the French Quarter in Nola, but man-- if you know where to look- Richmond is covered in things to eat, and people trying to get you to eat it.
this entry is going to change and update as i see fit- or as i find more and more interesting things in our fair city.
Part 1, things i always keep on hand- for quick meals or special ocassions. regardless of the season- these are the things that keep me cooking and keep my friends showing up for dinner every week.
roasted red peppers
organic/free range eggs
chocolate bars or gourmet chips
cans of white beans
low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
really nice mustard ( i have quite a thing for mustard)
white 2 buck chuck
dried herbs de provence
cans of crushed tomatoes
tons of dried herbs
On top of that is an ever rotating list of seasonal vegetables and fruit- and whatever protein strikes me. I don't believe in making lists to go to the grocery store. The grocery store is a cornucopia of seasonality and freshness, i start in the produce section, and use what's in season or looks good to inspire my meal. It is really important to talk to produce managers and butchers- if you want something, tell them! It will surprise you how much they appreciate requests.
Part 2 Places i Love to shop
Ellwood Thompsons-- local and scenesterific- It's where to go to score a missed connection, propose to the cheese guys, buy local seasonal produce, buy bulk seasonings and spices, spot local musicians and play "count the emo glasses". Entirely too close to where i live-for my walet's sake- the soups are good, the grilled asparagus is legendary, and did i mention billy bread? I hear they're opening a DC location- they've recently expanded through the end of the block- and there's a new cafe open. Will report back soon on the cafe.
Tan A Superstore-- everything asian, from food to woks, no credit- cash or checks only. and a smell that is aquired. Possibly the most overwhelmingly smelly and loud grocery store in the state- it is great for cheap ingredients and a walk on the wild side. Vegans appreciate the formed tofu section- and if PETA ever got a look at the live fish "aquarium" they'd die on the spot. Like walking off the plane in korea- the attendants yell at you, no one wants to help you, and nothing is in english- but all this adds to the mystey and excitement and makes for a fun mini adventure.
Willow Lawn Kroger- generally better produce than the rest- surprisingly good beer/wine section
Forest Hill Market-- seasonal, saturdays, go early- good coffee
Whole Foods.... Drooool. lobster mushrooms. and seafood to die for. Cheeeeeeeeese... friendly meat and dairy!
Fresh Market-- for when i like to pretend i'm rich and have all the money in the world.
Bodega Latina- guava paste. quince preserves. pineapple sorbet. banana leaves!
Indo Pak Grocery store-- bulk indian seasonings, way cool stuff
European Market-- truffle oil, gourmet picknick offerings, knowledgeable staff
The Yellow Umbrella. Family joint-- really friendly people- very knowledgeable- best place for seafood in town- where all the chefs go. they know their fish- and can get in just about anything.