Our plan for the day is drive to Lake Worth and check out some grafitti. Our friend John Griffin is painting a wall. We plan to meet his mother Rosemary there. The skies are dark and threatening to the west as we drive north along Federal Highway. My husband predicts it will not rain for a while, the clouds are moving north alongside us.
We have a vague idea where this event is taking place. We think it is somewhere in downtown Lake Worth. We drive up and down the streets. I roll down the window expecting to hear music. We drive by Luis’ house, a Guatamalan man who works with my husband, to see if he and his wife would like to join us but they aren’t home. We know the graffiti is somewhere on Second Avenue or it could be Second Street. We’re not sure about East 2nd or West 2nd, North 2nd or South. We get very confused with the grid system. We like our roads to meander where the cows used to roam and have descriptive names like Commonwealth and Beacon, River and Meadow, Juniper and Spruce. Give us a grid and we are instantly turned upside down and all around.
We get a call from Rosemary, it is 2nd and Congress. Not downtown at all, but WAY out west. Not really way out west but we rarely venture across Dixie Highway now that we have moved to the Intracoastal. We head west towards the dark clouds that are moving north but are actually beginning to cover the entire sky which suddenly opens up and rain pours down in sheets.
We take a right off of Congress, no graffiti here. We cross Congress and drive a short ways when I notice what looks like a wall of graffiti. “Pull in here,” I shout over the driving rain. There are a few produce trucks. “Maybe they have food trucks,” I shout. My husband grumbles, “Why are you shouting?” “Because I always shout.” I do speak loudly. It’s a Rhode Island thing. You should hear me when I get together with my friend Mary Jane.
“Look, a tent.” I point to a popup tailgate tent. Some people are cooking sausage. The graffiti is not graffiti, it’s a picture of fruit.I couldn’t make it out through the sheets of rain. We are in the parking lot of C & D Produce & Meat. Everyone is Hispanic or Jamaican. My husband and I look at each other. “We gotta go in here,” I say. He nods in total agreement. We dodge the pouring rain and the puddles to enter what we consider Disney World.
My husband and I love stores like this. We could spend hours wandering the aisles, filling the grocery cart, and looking in the cases. Perusing the spices. “Do they have jerk sauce?” “Look at this industrial size hot sauce.”
There is an entire aisle of dried beans.
And shelves of canned jalapeños.
On my fiftieth birthday we stayed on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We had big plans but it was a frigid week in New York City, much like the weather has been this week in the Northeast. We stayed around the neighborhood where our boutique hotel was siutated. We went to the Museum of Natural History and the Tiffany exhibit at the NY Historical Society. We had birthday brunch at a restaurant where a scene from You’ve Got Mail was filmed. We drank in Irish pubs and ate Italian food, and every day we shopped the little grocery stores from Zabar’s to others I can’t remember. We had no where to cook the food so we bought rugelach, delicious blue cheese and crackers, cups of coffees. We oohed and aahed over the fish counter, the meat, the cold cuts, the anitpasto.
Rich almost wanted to move to New York. He asked several house painters in an Irish bar what it was like to paint for a living in New York. “Where do you park?” “Do you need sidewalk permits?” “Do you bring the ladders up the elevator?”
I forgot what this is called. White Yucca?
The meat/fish market attached to the farmers’ market.
It smells strange in here. We don’t recognize some of the cuts. We get all gringo when we see the chicken feet.
All I buy is a package of chorizo. The selections are endless: Guatamalan, Columbian, Salvador. Who knew there were so many chorizos. I chose the Columbian for no other reason than I like the light red color flecked with green herbs. It reminds me of a small grocery store across from the condo we stayed in on the Costa del Sol. We shopped there every day along with lots of Scandinavian tourists. My younger daughter ate chorizo with every meal.
We also buy watercress, broccoli, blueberries, tomatillios, serrano peppers, apples, scallions, avocados, arugula, frescoe cheese which I have found in the grocery stores down here and is excellent on tacos and quesidillas.
I don’t buy this. The sign is missing. I have no idea what it is or how you would eat it. Is it a fruit or a veggie? A knobby cucumber? I also don’t buy the large cactus leaves or many other strange and new items but I am going to look up recipes and come back to try another day. I am going to expand my Spanish cooking repertoire.
We leave the store with five bags, having spent only eighteen dollars. We find the graffiti artists not far from the store, all standing under the overhang of an industrial building. They are calling it a day. Rain out.
I never got a walk in. We drove home in torrential rain, forging puddles as large as small ponds, barely able to see at times. As I write this blog my husband comes in to tell me the movie K-Pax is on. “The produce alone is worth the trip,” as Kevin Spacey says in the movie. Serendipity. Tomorrow I am going to make soup, like Josie in my soon to be released novel, Take Me Home. Watercress Broccoli soup.