Some legends say Xanadu is concealed in a mountain pass in Tibet. Others say that it floats from cloud to cloud. Some people born in the 70's believe that Olivia Newton John guards the mystical gates with her dangerous floaty hair. I personally believe one can enter through the infrared sensor doors at Western Beef, the grocery store I just was taken to by my new food guru Sonia. I could have sworn I heard a chorus of angels as the doors swung inwards onto an awesome panorama of fresh breads, unknown fruits, and wide aisles containing a vast array of tasty goods.
Ever since I moved here to NYC, I've been wildly disappointed by the grocery stores. Locally, I have the C-town, which is a horrifying descent into gnat-covered banana hell. Everything is overpriced, the dairy products are usually one day away from becoming a new form of cottage cheese, and one entire aisle of this miniscule store is devoted to Catholic candles. What ices the cake is the walk through the projects to get home, avoiding rotting garbage, dog crap, and the painful tingling from rapidly numbing hands. I can take the subway the Bedford stop or Union Square. Both have grocery stores with superior selection, healthier items, and better fruit. However, they're still frightfully expensive and the amusing risk of cans rolling around the subway car.
I met Sonia through yoga wild hair Jen, another sign of my good karma, as Sonia is becoming one of my favorite people to hang out with. She leads me to this amazing new place a short distance by car or bike from my place. I had an absolute blast, I was so excited. It is like a World's Fair of food. There's all sorts of great fruits with strange names, aisles of Indian food, Jamaican, vegetarian, you name it. They also have this great kicky tejano music playing, which results in Sonia and I dancing randomly down the aisles. I bought caviar, a big bag of good dog food, and about $120 worth of other stuff. We were in there for over TWO HOURS, and I loved every minute of it. We loaded it into Sonia's ageing Toyota and exited Kublai Khan's fabled land. With her as my sherpa guide, I know I'll return.