I’ll admit that when I first moved to Mount Pleasant I was a little intimidated by the grocery options available to me. I spent far too much effort and time trekking over to Giant, but one day late last summer I was in no mood to carry my groceries farther than 4 blocks and decided to check out what was going on inside of Bestway. At first, I was unimpressed. I hated navigating the tiny aisles, I was dubious about the freshness of the produce section, and the aroma of the fish counter in the back corner was a bit overwhelming. In time though, I have come to love it. The staff is friendly, the shelves are usually pretty well stocked, the prices are decent, and there is always some upbeat Latin music playing on the radio. Save for some trips to Giant when I have a big grocery list (or access to a car), or a schlep to the Whole Foods when a craving for the olive bar hits, I’ve been a pretty loyal Bestway shopper.
The time has come though, for me to branch out and explore some of the other, more ethnic, markets lining the main drag. This week I checked out The International Progresso Market at 3158 Mount Pleasant Street. You might remember from PoP’s post a couple weeks ago – this is the joint that offers up goat leg, along with a whole host of other exotic treats. I was surprised to find that this place is even smaller and more jam-packed full of goodies than Bestway is. For real, they’ve got just about every kind of spice you can think of, and a bean selection to rival any other. There’s a pretty sweet butcher in the back too, with a great selection of meats and fish. And judging by how fast everything was flying over the counter (including what I’m pretty sure was, in fact, a whole goat leg) I’d be willing to bet that whatever you get there is going to be fresh.
My grocery excursion has left me with a new found appreciation for the offerings in Mount Pleasant and a desire to test my skills in Latin American Cuisine. I think my first experiment will be Pacaya Root. Has anyone ever cooked/eaten this stuff. It looks kind of scary, but I’m so intrigued, and I always get this close to putting a jar in my basket. So, readers in Mount Pleasant and beyond, Do you love Giant? Do you only shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s? Or have you, like me, been charmed by the neighborhood joints?