Thursday, February 24, 2005

Roadfood: Framingham

Piloncillo and Luker Posted by Hello

I was in Framingham, MA this month for a work meeting, and lo and behold, across the street from my building was an interesting ethnic grocery store. I am always intrigued by these places, as you never know what you might find. It's like a quick trip to another country without needing a passport. At least for those of us who love trying new things on vacation. This name of the store was something like "Island Specialties," right on Hollis Street in the downtown area.

In the back there was a steam table with at least a dozen interesting choices of stewed or bbq meats, and some beautiful looking plantains. I chose an empanada which was fresh and cheesy and tender with lots of scallions. Yum!

In the store part was every kind of Hispanic specialty you could imagine. I always want to know what is going on in the world of chocolate, and this place did not disappoint. Four to five kinds of drinking chocolate for dirt cheap prices ($1.69 for a pound of chocolate is basically giving it away). I was excited to see some Mexican sugar called piloncillo. I headed up to the counter where I discovered the trove of little candy treasures up at the checkout and started grabbing a few to add to my pile. The very nice counter guy clucked and said, "Dulces, dulces, muchas dulces!" (what a lot of sweets!) to which I smiled and said, "I know, bad for the teeth." He continued to speak to me in this teasing way in Spanish (which is hilarious because I'm such a gringa). I wasn't sure if he knew I understood what he was saying or if he just didn't care. Thanks to some time in Mexico, I did. And that made me smile. Gracias a ti, senor!

I took a photo of the chocolate and sugar as they were so colorful ... and I loved their names. They seem vaguely scandalous. Luker y piloncheeeloooooo, woo woo. I would have included the other delights mentioned here, but by the time I got some batteries in my camera, the empanada and the candy were long gone. One of the biggest struggles in food blogging is waiting around long enough to take a photo before you eat your food. Whew. The sacrifices that must be made for blogdom are indeed daunting.

It was definitely one of the best ethnic groceries I have seen, and the prices were insanely low, which is the reward you get for being in Framingham. Perhaps it isn't first on your next weekend getaways, but hey, you never know when you need some Luker and Piloncillo...

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