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Mucho Mercado: Filling the Shopping Cart at Feria Latina

9:48 AM EDT on June 26, 2023

In my second stint in rehabilitation, thank you very much, I have been to the city proper here and there for my mail, new records, and, of course, tawdry sexual relations. But now, with my return to life rapidly approaching, now I take on my favorite commercial lark – exploring local grocers and their eclectic wares.

Last week, I stopped by the glorioso Feria Latina Supermarket – 1645 S.W. 47th – and all the sweeps therein.

As I walked inside the main entrance to the store, a man with a very professional voice gave updates over the loudspeaker on sales in various aisles of the store, like it was a part of the greatest show on earth, or all least this part of town.

With my basket in hand, my nose took me on a beeline bakery, just as the classic confectionist brought out fresh trays of sweet products, from churros and conchas to orejas and buñuelos. My metal tray was filled with enough pastries to keep me occupied until next winter, with the cashier doing double-duty, taking my sweetest dinero.

With those goodies in the basket, I noticed a small cafeteria. Dishing out fresh juices, craveable snacks and mouth-watering meals, I desperately wanted to stop for a quick bite to eat, but I had already had lunch Instead, I beat down my temptations and headed for produce.

Feria Latina Supermarket features many native fruits with sweet skins and vegetables with spikey textures. Like these things...

They also have a corresponding aisle filled with pottery and dishes, and, of course, novena candles. I was drawn to a vase with a truly repellant character named “El Toxico.” I bought it as a present…and a warning.

Going down each aisle, I remembered the pre-stroke joys of looking for the most esoteric groceries and the zest it gave me.

As I was beaming, I searched for a sheet of homemade, hand-fried chicharrones – one of the best treats ever created, perhaps by the Virgin Mary herself – but, sadly, I was too late… or too early. They are only available on weekends.

In the coming weeks, I will be purchasing some, hopefully.

As the man with the microphone shouted to some kids about summer break and the available deals over the loudspeaker, I went to the freezer cases of microwavable dinners and other cold items, and, my god, a virtual wall of cold different sodas, energy drinks, juices, and, of course, beer, was laid out before me.

With my basket piling up—a banana-flavored soda and a Mexican Pepsi, which you must try—I gathered all my goods and checked out, with an honest-to-god checker balancing my bill instead of the soulless self-checkout at Walmart.

As I waved Vaya con Dios to Feria Latina and my triumphant return to, above all, Mexican grocery stores, I was feeling empowered by a real marketplace that I had forgotten about, with my Mexican Pepsi dripping down my chin into the sunset.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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