A while back I posted a poll about where you wanted to send ECM with twenty dollars. The African-Caribbean Mini Market won overwhelmingly. You thought I forgot, didn't you?
This morning I went to the African-Caribbean Mini Market with twenty dollars in my pocket. I would have some pictures but this place is in a sketchy place right next door to a porn shop, I kid you not. It's one of those places you keep your money and ID in your front pocket and leave your camera at home.
I love this shop! It's tiny with African masks covering every available space. Videos from Africa and clothes and fabrics and.... SPICES! I mean there were spices everywhere. Spices and herbs and...and...and... it was great. Ramatu, the owner of the store answered all my questions, very patiently I might add. Neen and Do, when you get to California, if you come around my hometown, she wants to meet you. She says she loves meeting people who have lived in Africa and cook the food. And see those Maggi beef bouillon and crayfish cubes, those are for you. If can e-mail me your address, I'll ship them out to you.
So from the left are a bag of plantain chips. These are Ramatu's favorite chips. She asked me if I prefer sweet or salty, I told her I'd rather have salty. Thin and crunchy almost like a potato chip. Really good with my pulled pork sandwich I had for lunch.
Chef "Chili" Bonner's Pit Stop Chili Mix n' Spice. I bought this because it's made here in town. You gotta support the local guys when you can.
Next is Naranja Agria or sour orange marinating sauce. This has a lot of possibilities. I'm thinking of a marinating a pork shoulder or some ribs with some jerk seasoning and slowly smoking it. If you have got any suggestions, I all ears.
The Maggi crayfish and beef bouillon are going to Neen and Do. They have a recipe for Chiebu Djen a type of African fish stew(?) that desperately needs this ingredient or so they say.
Seventy cents change from my twenty, a receipt, and some business cards.
I could have been more adventurous but I would have gone way over my budget. So for June you can send me to three places...
1. The Crosstown Farmers Market. This is held every Saturday morning under the Crosstown freeway. It was also named number one in Saveur magazines top 100 in 2007 above Thomas Keller. Go figure and our lovely newspaper barely said a word about this. We beat Thomas Keller?! Actually a lot of chefs make the trek up here from the Bay Area to hit up this farmers market. It has a lot of Asian produce that is hard to find. Please send me here.
2. India Bazaar.
3. Asian Supermarket.
Poll is on the upper right hand corner of my blog and you have until May 25th to decide.