We like to go to Trader Joe's for most things. Easy and relatively inexpensive. Relatively. Stuff is so goddamn expensive these days. Not as bad here as it is in other places, but still. Anyway, the Uptown TJ's parking lot typically has a few spots open. usually pretty chill. We like to get all the staples there. Meats, fruits, vegetables, bags of tortilla chips, garlic hummus, rice, seasonings, etc.
Trader Joe's doesn't always have the tortillas we like, though. The really big soft flour ones that are great for burritos. They don't have Sadie's salsa, either (in the "Not As Hot" variety). So we end up getting stuff like that from Target, where we also acquire our Lärabars, paper goods and, you know, all the typical Target stuff people get. Butt wipes. Trash bags. Q-Tips. Batteries. Underwear. All that kind of stuff.
We get things from Costco, too. Annie's dad goes there, like, three times a week. Just part of his routine. What he does when he leaves the house. So he asks us for our list, which tends to include bread, eggs, bubbly water, coffee and cashews. That's the normal Costco shit. Every so often we go there ourselves. Overwhelming. Thank goodness we have a personal shopper for that place. Damn.
When we were in Maine, we would go to the Hannaford in Ellsworth. Sometimes, like the locals, we would refer to it as the "Hannaford's." Got all our Christmas meal stuff there last year. That was nuts.
Usually we would have a late breakfast at Martha's Diner (cash only! try the ham!) before heading into the supermarket. That's the thing that motivated us; breakfast at Martha's. Then on to Hannaford.
Sometimes we could muster only enough energy to hit Dunbar's, a well-stocked little market on Route One about ten minutes away from our house on the coast. They had fresh eggs there for 25 cents a pop. A little bit of everything. They know what they're doing. In the summers, they sell lobster rolls and stuff like that for people to eat on the outdoor picnic tables. There's a pretty great view of Frenchman Bay up there.
Sometimes in Maine we'd slum it over at the Ellsworth Walmart. I remember shopping there on this very day last year. December 2, 2021. We had just arrived to our winter rental the previous afternoon after many days on the road. Winter on the coast of Maine. I'll never forget it. Anyway, I got in the Subaru and made the 25-minute drive there from our temporary home in gorgeous Sorrento. I had to get the shit to make breakfast. Desperate to get back into a comfortable, grounding routine. I didn't know about any of the other grocery options in town. The owner of the house would give me the heads up about Hannaford later.
Annie and I would use the Walmart as a Target stand in, basically, during our time in Maine. No actual Targets nearby. We would have had to go up to Bangor or something. No Costcos in Maine, either. I missed my cashews up there.
Sometimes on those trips into Ellsworth, I would run in to the Curaleaf dispensary to get some decent cannabis. Super cheap there, too. And I was able to use my New Mexico medical card. They like doing nice things for the out-of-staters up there. It's "Vacationland," after all. I would get ounces for, like, $75. Sometimes even cheaper. It was a nice setup. No cannabis anxiety in Maine. Which was fucking excellent in terms of having the necessary tools for making a record.
I grew up going to Copps grocery stores in Wisconsin. Sometimes we'd acquire groceries from the little local store in Bancroft, but usually we traveled a few miles up the road to the big city of Stevens Point so we could get the good stuff from Copps.
I moved out and continued getting groceries from Copps. I remember one of the scions of the Copps family dynasty ran the karaoke night at Partner's Pub on Stanley Street. That was always a good time. I won tickets to see Journey once on one of those magical Wednesday evenings. Just for singing good. I did not attend the Journey concert, though. Didn't feel like driving all the way to Milwaukee or whatever. And there would be no Steve Perry. Peter Frampton opened, though. That would have been cool to see.
Another scion of the Copps grocery dynasty worked for a little while at Fleet Farm during the time I worked there. He was a troubled young man. I remember him dying tragically.
Copps was the first place I can remember with the big fancy salad bar. When I moved to Madison, those salads fueled me for a while. I had still never been to a Whole Foods or anything. And I thought I was so sophisticated. They had locations that were open 24 hours, too. That is absolutely the best time for grocery shopping! They don't really do that anymore, do they? Especially now since Covid. Places just don't have the hours. I get it.
I don't think the Copps chain exists anymore. Kind of sad. I haven't been up there for a while. I think they are Pick & Save now?
Moving to New Mexico meant finding a new grocer. I picked Smith's. Just a regular-ass corporate grocery store. All the usual things laid out in the usual way. Milk and eggs in the back. Produce in the front corner.
Once I got a place of my own in downtown Albuquerque, I no longer had a car. Smith's remained my grocer, though. I could ride my bike to the "ghetto" Smith's near campus from my place in Huning Highland. It's just a little smaller and dingier than a regular Smith's. I think it's called the "ghetto" Smith's because it is in the heart of the so-called student ghetto for the University of New Mexico.
It was an uphill ride to that store. Just about a mile and a half. A workout. But then the downhill glide back home with a backpack full of groceries was always a nice reward. Just one push of the pedals and if I hit the lights right, gravity would carry me the whole way back to Walter Street. It sucked when I got my bike's wheels stolen and I had to walk. Then I got a new bike.
When I met Annie and we started hanging out more and more, I became accustomed to Trader Joe's. Didn't really go to Smith's much after that. Annie still had a membership to the La Montanita Co Op in those early days, so we would go there sometimes, too. A time of expansion and openness. Started eating different stuff. New things for breakfast. Eggs and bacon and kale replaced oatmeal and bananas. I got into hummus. Started drinking more wine. That was a time.
We need to go to the store again soon. Almost out of eggs (and I don't know if we can wait for Annie's dad to get to Costco for them). No proteins in the house. No Kale. No potatoes. Not sure if we have enough to make dinner. We'll probably eat out or something tonight. So I guess we'll head out this weekend.