Yesterday on my way home from the dentist, which is uptown, in a part of Las Condes that has a bunch of office parks (and apparently dentists offices) I was riding my bike back home, when I stopped into Shangri-La, or as you may know it, the supermarket.
It is always rumored that up in the hinterlands (and to be honest, this is not that hinterlandy, it’s only about six miles from my house, but it a totally different social strata than where I live), there are gringo food products. Now, for the most part, I am perfectly satisfied with the products I can find close to my house, though in the two weeks I’ve been looking, I haven’t found any decent mustard. Chileans think it should be sweet. Ick.
But on the whole, I eat what my local supermarket and feria sell, and I am happy. There are gringos who are probably less and more happy than I am with the food selections, and you can be sure that more than one of us has some secret nibbles stashed away in our suitcases when we arrive back in Chilito. But then there are things you can’t bring back, or didn’t know you’d want, or ran out of.
And that’s where Shangri-La comes in. I was riding down Manquehue, towards Los Militares, when I saw the first sign (all photos taken on the sly and with my phone, it’s not that the photo class I’m taking is wreaking havoc on my ability to focus):
The store was spacious, had a pretty complete and good-looking take out sections, salads, soups, sushi, sandwiches, other s food that slips my mind at the moment. But I wasn’t hungry, so onward I soldiered.
The first thing I came across that gave me pause I did not take a picture of, but for dramatic effect, I will now take a pause. Ready? Pumpernickel bread. Fresh, black bread, which was sliced before my very eyes in a metal cage with a tiny saw that measured each slice at 10 mm, because heaven forbid I should have 11 mm slices. I have not eaten pumpernickel bread in years, and it’s one of the few foods I remember my grandmother serving, and wow. Pumpernickel. It’s in the freezer as we speak. Not quite molassesy enough, but close, very close!
Bread well-bagged and under-arm, I meandered further, and came across a product which gringos laud the appearance of so fondly that it reminds me of my BIL’s frequent joke “We have a friend in cheeses” (sorry, didn’t mean to offend). At any rate, behold the golden chalice of Shangri-La:
I zigged and zagged throughout the store, sneakily taking photos, lest I get snapped at (no photos in the supermarkets in Chile, sad but true). And I found the following:
and my personal favorite, and which I actually would have bought if I didn’t already have a purchased-in-the-states supply under my sink, even if they are nearly $2.00 apiece:
And then, just in case you’d forgotten you were in the nosebleed section of the city, they had these lovely uniforms for you to buy for your nana as she does whatever it is she does in your house and out on the town:
There were also chocolate chips (but not a good brand), frozen waffles, frozen croissants, a bulk section where you pack your own dried fruit, dried morel mushrooms and other assorted ones, several varieties of bleu cheese. There was not interesting hand soap or OB tampons, where do you think you are?
And I bought some good mustard to go with my bread and a few other items (deodorant, birthday candles, I know, it’s captivating!), and rode my bike home about six miles, passing no fewer than five other supermarkets en route. But none of them like Shangri-La.