After moving here, one of the first things Peter and I tried to figure out was where to grocery shop! After all, a girl’s gotta eat. Not knowing any locals to ask, we decided to hit the streets. There is a Mas x Menos a short bus ride away, but come to find out it’s a branch of Wal-Mart (and we try our best to avoid Wal-Mart), so that was pretty much out. Next, while walking home from the bank one day we ran across a store called Fresh Market. I thought to myself, “this looks like it could be a cute, local market!” Turns out that it is actually a branch of Fresh & Easy (it’s a U.S. chain, for all you Texans who may not know what that is). I was bummed out after that since I couldn’t figure out where the locals shopped. There is a house down the street from us that sells fresh produce off the front porch, as well as a house that was converted into a bakery a little bit further than that, which is SO hard to smell in the morning while waiting at the bus stop!! Anyway, I just assumed that’s where people shopped……..until…..
I began my job at the school, as well as tutoring for an hour after school. The student I tutor has really involved parents who happen to speak English very well. When they found out I was walking a mile to the bus stop after school/tutoring they offered me a ride to either the bus stop or all the way to our apartment sometimes! On the way home one afternoon I informed them of where I was grocery shopping (there was another Fresh Market on the way to the bus stop after school that I was going to for groceries) and they immediately responded in shock, saying how expensive it was! They recommended that I go to the Street Market (Feria) on Sundays in Santa Ana, which is where we live! So, after that, we/I try to go the market every Sunday for all of our fruit and vegetable needs! We save a TON of money and get savory fruits and veggies. The pic below is from our first trip to the Feria back in January.
They have a stand at the Feria that sells meats (like a butcher shop), but I have never been brave enough or confident enough with my Spanish to ask them for anything. So, we have been buying pork, because it’s the cheapest meat available at Fresh Market. 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts are almost $12!
Luck finally came today though. My student’s parents offered me a ride all the way home today, and I told them to just drop me off before the bus stop and I’d take the bus the rest of the way because I needed to get meat from Fresh Market. Once again, they responded with how expensive the meat is at fresh Market and that they would show me a good butcher shop near where I live. They pulled over on the way home and sure enough this little butcher shop was hiding amongst the chaos that is Santa Ana Centro! They helped me order and I got enough fajita beef for 4 servings (they even cut it into slices for me!), chorizo for two servings, and a little pack of corn tortillas they threw in for free, all for the same price as I’d been paying for just the 4 servings of pre-packaged pork at Fresh Market. I also got a few new recipes from the student’s parents on the ride back to my apartment!
Today was so long, and I was so ready to be home by the time I was finished tutoring at 4p.m., but the trip to the butcher shop made it WELL worth it!