August 24, 2014

American Grocery Stores: A Love Story

Less than 11 hours ago I returned from five days down south. Like really down south. We went shopping on the Mexican border. I have a picture of their flag.  I felt like an outlaw. 

Mom and I trekked down for three days in Disneyland and two in San Diego. Our goals were simple: a) live it up in the magical kingdom and b) do some shopping.

Shopping in the US is funny because we tended to stick to the stores we knew. Most of the stores I'd never heard of (or had but never been to) ended up being wildly expensive and far too fancy for the likes of us. Even in outlets, American stores that we have in Canada have very similar prices. I got a couple clearance rack things from Old Navy and The Gap and then branched out a little bit more to stores I didn't know. We had some success, but the biggest steal was a $35 blazer from H&M that wasn't even on sale. And there's an H&M in Victoria so there you go.

I did buy some dresser knobs for our nightstands from Anthropologie. I now feel legit. They were about all I could afford there, but that store was so nice and so pretty it made me want to be a better person. A person that can afford $80 shirts.

I was excited to see the American Joe selection in JC Penny because, as you know, I adore Joe, and I've been seeing some pretty nice stuff at the Superstore back home. Well, Americans, I have to apologize. Your Joe selection is kind of pathetic. That, and it's the exact same price as ours without the killer clearance section.

While outlet and mall shopping had some successes but no amazing OMG deals, I did have some life changing I'm-ready-to-become-an-American shopping experiences.

Grocery stores.

Oh. My. Goodness. It may have been hard to find things to eat in and around Disneyland without dairy, but once we headed south, going into an American grocery store was kind of like stepping into a magical fantasy land. The other magic kingdoms.

We hit up a Trader Joe's almost as soon as we got to San Diego. On first loop, it wasn't anything special. I found some vegan cookies for less than $5 but the we did another lap and it picked up a little bit. A falafel wrap, pea chips, fruit, cookies, and a dark chocolate bar all for less than $13. I was intrigued and I was hooked.

Later that day we were at a mall that had a Jimbo's. I had a dream of a small sized goat milk or something so I headed back to the dairy section. What I found there changed me forever. Individual goat yogurts, with flavours, and more than one brand of them. Goat butter. Two different kinds. Goat. Butter. I died. I may have shrieked right there. There could have been some swooning. I couldn't stop saying it. Goat butter. Goat cream for your coffee. The unicorns of goat dairy. Things you can only dream about but never think are real. 

Their bakery section was also amazing. A huge selection of vegan baked goods. Everything had the ingredients listed right on their signs, too. I spent a good five minutes standing there trying to decide what I should possibly get. Peanut butter cups? Cookies? Muffins? I settled on a couple scones because when you see rarities like that you do not let them pass you buy. 

On our way to LAX we stopped at yet another grocery store. In case you're wondering, we didn't eat in any restaurants after we left Disneyland. It was grocery stores or bust and we were on a roll. I can't remember what it was called, something about Farmers, but I honestly didn't have high hopes for it. I mean, Jimbo's kind of set the bar high. It wasn't Jimbo's but it was darn close enough. I didn't see any goat butter but they had individual goat yogurts and they were even cheaper. I am so addicted. 

So yeah, American grocery stores are kind of my new love affair. If we ever move somewhere again for work that isn't Victoria, I'm totally going south of the border.

There was one other food highlight for the whole trip. A few weeks before we left, I started googling dairy-free bakeries around where we would be staying in Anaheim or San Diego. It was my birthday and I thought it would be kind of fun to have some sort of baked good. Because, in case you hadn't already realized, they are my kryptonite. 

The result was that I stumbled upon a yelp review for vegan doughnut shops in San Diego. One stuck out, and it was 20 minutes away from our hotel. My only goal for our time in San Diego was to go there Saturday morning.

It's called Donut Panic and when we walked in there was a record playing on a turntable. Mom was smitten. There was one person in there at the same time. I was so confused. I figured that place that sells vegan doughnuts on select days only would be lined up out the door. I would line up for that. Or drive 20 minutes. 

I can't tell you how long it's been since I've had a really good doughnut. Probably a year and a half. Because of that, I bought two doughnuts. I would have bought more but being another year older I was feeling a bit more conservative. Plus I had scones and cookies in the car. I got earl grey and bavarian cream. I can still taste them when I close my eyes. They were, in a word, amazing. You would never even know they were vegan.

It was cheap, too. For three doughnuts (Mom got one) and a coffee it was less than $6. I figured that a place selling specialty doughnuts would charge a specialty price. No dice.

After going to Disneyland for the fifth time (no, I'm not obsessed, people just keep wanting to go with me) I have no desire to go back for many years. I would, however, consider going back to San Diego for their doughnuts and grocery stores. You think I'm joking. 

American grocery stores and doughnut shops make my life a better place. And I loves them.

1 comment:

  1. Is Jimbos a California thing? I've never heard of it.

    Also...whilst in Washington I bought a Joes tank top at Penneys. I thought of you. I would say I think of you every time I wear it but that sounds creepy.


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