Of all the things to be concerned about concerning changing apartments (will my stuff arrive? will it fit? will the internet ever be hooked up, is there a secret infestation of curly-antennae’d bugs? yes, yes, yes no), my mother was concerned about whether or not there would be a supermarket nearby. This is understandable, I suppose. First of all, in the United States, one tends to buy most of one’s food from the supermarket. Plus there are some neighborhoods in the US, even in major cities, where supermarket access is a concern. I don’t have a car, so certainly living far away from a supermarket with your United States brain on would seem like a problem. Though I do have a bike, and that’s nearly always what I use to go to the supermarket. My mother lives in the ‘burbs, and doesn’t ride a bike. All of it terribly understandable, really.
Have no fear. I have discovered, since moving to my new apartment that I am less than a ten minute bike ride from at least six supermarkets.
Santa Isabel on Huerfanos
Santa Isabel on Alameda
Santa Isabel on Cumming
Santa Isabel in Estación Central
Santa Isabel on Almirante Latorre
Tottus in Barrio Brasil
Tottus on Nataniel Cox
There are also smaller minimarkets, including the strangely-named Spin, which is very close by, and which claims to sell suchis. I have not eaten any suchis from there, but they have that Breden Master bread that is sweeping the city which means they pop it in the oven in the back and it’s fresh and piping hot several times a day. Yummy all white marraquetas. Just what your glycemic index ordered.
There’s also the handy OK-Market (no fresh food at all, strangely), the Tian-Yuan smallish market on Brasil, a new Unimarc that used to be something else on the Alameda near República, and a market called Linder in the same font as Lider over in Barrio Brasil. There’s probably more but you can be assured that there is no shortage of places to buy food in the new neighborhood. Also like the supermarkets in DC, all of which have silly code names like the Soviet Safeway (Dupont, 17th St) and the Social Safeway (Wisconsin Ave), I am working on a nomenclature system for each one of the supermarkets and/or minimarkets. Hint: the Estación Central Santa Isabel’s name will not have the word “safe” in it.
But choosing “my” super, in that I don’t have to leave the neighborhood to get there, that I have my favorite post to which to lock my bike (no, not those ridiculously useless bike lock up racks where the only thing you can lock is your front wheel, where do they think we are, some kind of bike-theft free zone?) is clearly the one on Almirante LaTorre. It has a bowling alley upstairs, and is across from a darned good sandwich shop (links to NileGuide). It’s also the only place where I’ve ever been that when they want to close out a cash register line, they give the last person in line a sign that says “Caja Cerrada” (register closed).
I think this is tremendously intelligent, stops people from getting cozy behind you and then having to listen to the cashier shout from three carts down “caja cerrada, está cerrada la caja“. Plus it was fun to have the sign in hand, hold it up and point at it. I also liked the fact that the cashier thought me worthy of explaining the protocol and handing the sign to. He didn’t wait for someone more obviously Chilean-looking to hand the sign to, just handed it to me, and said, “after you, the line’s closed.”
I call this my cachito de poder (tiny bit of power) because for a few minutes there, no one was getting through line number 14 without my approval. Unfortunately, I had to give the sign back when I left. It’s too bad because preventing people from standing behind me in line and hitting my feet with their cart or getting too close in general could be a great superpower. I guess I’ll just have to go back to the supermarket with more frequency. At least until I think of a good name for it.