It's the power of blogging! Or else maybe the stars have shifted to a more favorable configuration! I went to the bank today in the vain hope that a transfer had come in overnight (although it occurred to me that the computers are shut down over the weekend), but wow! There was money in my account, according to the screen readout! I went over to the antiquated statement machine, which prints out a dot-matrix statement and it ground and whined for a while and, miracle of miracles, I'd been sent €55 and change by Jungle World! I don't know if anyone reading this harrassed them, or they had an attack of conscience, or if nine months is their usual lag between publishing something and paying for it, but I'm a happy guy.
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Naturally, with that in hand, or a bit of it, I decided to lay in some food for the weekend, and squandered two Euros on a subway ticket to Karstadt in Hermannplatz. This is in the middle of one of my least favorite neighborhoods, Neukölln, but there's no denying that it's probably the closest best place to shop for "exotica." The main thing I was looking for was Old El Paso salsa, hot. Okay, I realize it's not the best around, but there's nothing better I've ever found here, and at least this tastes like Pace, which my local supermarket used to carry, and I'd already decided to make potato-and-egg breakfast tacos with homemade flour tortillas for my Big Breakfast on Sunday, tomorrow.
There was some sort of demonstration going on, pissed off teenage lesbians, from what I could tell. Pissed off beause the speech someone was droning, obviously reading from a paper of some sort, was about being mistreated. Lesbians because there was a float decorated with gold foil that said something about "gay girls," and there was no mistaking lots of them around. I assume teenage from the fact that non-teenage lesbians would use the word "women." On the way back from Karstadt, a group of lesbians got off and one was dressed absolutely perfectly in a New York Police Department uniform, so much so that I started, until I remembered that the police here wear green. Like the two who were walking into Karstadt as I was leaving, batons at the ready. Teenage lesbian shoplifters! Thank you, Mr. Policeman, for protecting me!
I wish what was inside Karstadt was as interesting as what was outdoors. There seems to have been a blanding-out of all these "gourmet" departments all of a sudden: no salsa in any flavor other than mild; no MSG-less chicken broth, another Karstadt fave; no chili peppers (they're very sporadic); no sharp cheddar cheese. I was tempted by a bottle of the best wine I've had in months, an amazing tempranillo from Spain's Extremadura region called Castillo de Valdestrada, but at over seven Euros a bottle, I didn't feel right, not yet. I settled for a four-Euro Primitivo from Puglia I'd never tried. From the evidence, Karstadt's bought a container of the Valdestrada, so I probably have some time. Now...wonder where in this Weltdorf I can get hot salsa...
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About half the time the only salsas I can find in New York City are comparable to Old El Paso or Pace. Dean and DeLuca carries Herdez, but I'm not going all the way to Soho for that. And yes, it's almost alway mild or medium. The good thing is that every grocery store in Manhattan has fresh jalapenos and cilantro nowadays. I buy a handful of those to make my salsa hot. A store near me sells an Austin brand, Jardines or something like that. I was never very impressed with it, anyway they are charging something like $9.00 a bottle. Crazy!
At least I don't have to grow my own cilantro.
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