April 19, 2005

it sucks having no kitchen

I have been struggling to eat often and well enough, though the meals when I have them have been pretty good. I didn't realize just how much I rely on my kitchen. Funny story: my pal H packed me off to this empty apartment with a few things from her pantry, and I did one frenzied pass through a crappy supermarket (i had to pee REALLY bad; more on the crappiness of Dominick's markets in another post). So with these paltry supplies and one skillet, I tried to figure out what I would make. I decided on a couple meals, one of which was a box of Goya rice, a can of octopus, and a can of ranchero sauce. I intended to cook this that night. But I went to see an apartment after work, and by the time I left there I was ravenous -- and it's an hour's train ride way the fuck uptown to the apartment, and I knew I would be nauseous the whole way because I was hungry. So I looked for a taqueria for a quick bite, but what I found was a Cancun-style seafood place. And I bet you can see the punchline coming.... I ended up eating pulpo ranchero for dinner: rice with octopus in ranchero sauce. I didn't even know this was a real dish, i was just trying to combine a set of random ingredients in the least weird way possible. Turns out it is in fact extremely tasty. *yay*

When I finally ended up making my version at home, it didn't really stand up. The rice was fine, and the sauce was much spicier, but the pulpo tasted canned and the sauce was kind of eh. It's food, but just barely. Oh well. I'm eating the rest of it mixed with some mexican chorizo and eggs, which is a great improvement. I have to stick to things that can be made in a single skillet, which is an interesting exercise that I am eager to conclude.

Screw it, we'll talk supermarkets in this post. Dominick's is just overpriced and has crap selection. In the 'hood up north it caters to its primary demographic with packaged food and more packaged food, with not even a boneless breast of chicken to be found, while near work in the gallery district it caters to *its* primary demographic by being relentlessly yuppie, but the sort of yuppie who doesn't ever cook. Blech. I went to a Jewel, in Wicker Park, which was better, but still expensive. This one was inhabited by hipster couples, some with infant, some without -- oy vey. But at least there were reasonable things to buy. I had a much better time at the indy markets up on Devon, and I think I'm going to stick to the indies and to the occasional Whole Foods run, and only hit the big supermarkets when cornered. I guess Fuck Corporate Groceries is on to something, not just a personal experiment but a straight-up necessity.

Posted by foodnerd at April 19, 2005 08:19 AM

Try Devon Market on Devon. It's just East of Clark.

Posted by: Kristina at April 19, 2005 02:06 PM

Troll around LTH Forum for info on food/dining options in your new neighborhood. Am currently living in Western Mass but about to return to Chicago... so looking forward to ethnic cuisine! Though not at all the experience of moving from here to there...

Posted by: TJS at April 19, 2005 04:20 PM
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