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Thursday, February 05, 2004  

Eureka!! Continued...
After loading up Hwang (our blue Hyundai Accent) with Skubb and Vikka Manne we hit the road into NoHo to find this fabled supermercado, and after driving in circles around the place a few times finaly managed to get into the lot. Two things about the place hit me simultaneously as I got out of the car: "DAMN! it HUGE!" and "OMG it smells fucking great!" The mercado was indeed super, easily dwarfing our neighborhood Ralphs, and tucked away in one corner was a bustling Taqueria. As we made across the isles filled with a mix of familiar products in spanish packaging and items wholly new to my experience the smell of the panderia hit like the blow from a hammer. A glass case held row-after-row of impenadas and Salvadorian quesadillas, but we held stong and advanced past them into the taqueria proper. I was practically bouncing up-and-down with excitement as I shouted my order and even more excited as the cook handed the tray containing the little carnitas tacos sitting on a bed of dual-tortillas that I had been dreaming about across the counter.

There is a general guideline for judging a restaurant: it should have people eating there. And my guideline for ethnic cuisine is a variation on this: the lower the ratio of white-people to people who share ethnicity with the restaurant the better. So I was happy to see we were quite literally the only white people in the taqueria. We found a table and I got some assorted salsas (including a chipotle based variety that tasted like a cross between BBQ sauce and that thin-red salsa from Taqueria-V.) and tucked in.

Jackpot. The tacos hit the spot like a laser-guided pork missile leaving a smoldering crater in my esophagus. Oddly enough this Taqueria-induced heartburn is a good thing in my book, and is lovingly referred to as "the burn" or the "t-burn" and does a good job of taking my mind off the nagging Void. Julie's Nachos were equally fulfilling and we left feeling like we had discovered a cool oasis in the middle of a parched, sandy, sea. The tacos are no replacement for the Void-filling Taqueria-V numbers but they do make a suitable, Void-nourishing, substitute. And it gets better. We walked through the rest of the mercado and I was stunned when we saw the butcher case. There were actual BUTCHERS behind it. And they were, -GASP-, cutting up meat! There were whole quarters of beef hanging in a display fridge in the back. And what's more the cuts looked good and they were cheep. Like bargain, get excited cheep. Then there was the produce. Lets just say it put the crap that the damn scabs are peddling to S-H-A-M-E.

So Vallerta Supermarket was quite a find in the heart of North Hollywood and, at a mere 7 miles from our house, it is a viable alternative to the traditional supermarkets and the sometimes-unbearably-stuffed-with-old-people Trader Joes.

posted by JMV | 2/05/2004 12:52:00 PM
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