Who out there has their favorite market/grocery store?
You know, the one with the best prices. Or the one with the best selection of fresh veggies. Or the one with the best ethnic food.
One of my favorite markets out here is called Milk Pail (in Mountain View, CA). It's a "European style" market with a great selection of cheap veggies and pricier dairy/cured meat products. Teeny tiny aisles and 293,034 people make for a semi-stressful shopping experience, but if you come mentally prepared for the madness (and find your inner zen as you maneuver the crowds) then all is good. And leaving with a bag full of food for the week for $15 makes it all worth it in the end!
The other thing I love about Milk Pail are the novel food items I'll find there, like starfruit and passionfruit. My goal when I go to Milk Pail is to always buy something I've never eaten before. Sadly I don't do it all the time, but I easily could...
So a few months ago, when I came across fresh garbanzo beans, I had to buy them. The moment I saw them I realized that in my entire life I'd never actually seen a real garbanzo bean before (i.e. a garbanzo bean that wasn't canned or dried.)
And did you know that garbanzo beans are "individually wrapped" in pods? And that they're naturally green-ish in appearance?? This was all news to me.
As far as the taste, I have to say they were absolutely delicious. Eaten raw they were a bit earthy in flavor (in a good way) and had a really nice texture to them. I kinda wish I'd sauteed them to see the difference in flavor, but I just ate them raw everyday as my mid-day snack.
Sadly, I haven't seen them at Milk Pail since. Not sure if I'll ever see them there again, but I'm glad I picked them up when I had the chance. And I'm sure they'll be a million other things for me to pick up at the Milk Pail in the future.
So the next time you're at the grocery store, spend a few extra bucks and grab something you've never eaten before. You might love it, you might hate it, but either way you'll get to learn and experience something new!
Yours in foodie exploration,