Food, Glorious Food!

A 3 taco combo from Taco Cabana in Austin, TX

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I found out that Virginia Beach is finally going to get a Whole Foods Market.  In fact, it will be built so close to my house, I will be able to walk to it.  I was so excited, I could hardly breathe.  Granted, it won’t open until 2013, but still, it’s great news.

Many of you must be shaking your heads because you either 1.) have no idea what Whole Foods is, or 2) know why it is sometimes called Whole Paycheck and could care less about it.  As for me, having been a Texan for 29 years and frequenting the flagship store in Austin, I am mighty pleased.  I have greatly missed it since we moved to Virginia three years ago.

When we first moved to San Antonio in 1980, I was dismayed to find out they didn’t sell Thomas’s English muffins.  I grew up with them.  I thought the whole world had them.  How was I supposed to make my English muffin pizzas?  A tortilla didn’t do the trick.  I wrote to Thomas’s and begged them to sell their product in Texas.  They sent me $10 worth of coupons.  Hello?  I CAN’T GET THEM HERE, I wanted to scream.  Several years later Thomas’s muffins appeared on store shelves and my world was on a more even keel.

Since we moved to Virginia, we haven’t been able to get Mexican food or Tex-Mex food like we could in Texas.  We’ve tried a ton of “authentic” Mexican restaurants, but none can hold a candle to the ones we were used to.  Oh, to taste the Camarones Diablos at Polvo’s in Austin again or the arroz con calabacitas at La Fonda on Main.  My taste buds are crying as I write this.

I’m shallow.  I admit it.  Whenever I think of the wonderful places we’ve lived, besides friends and scenery (yada, yada, yada), my mind focuses on the food there.  I miss the hot lobster rolls at Lenny and Joe’s in Madison Connecticut and the cold ones at Barnacle Billy’s at Perkin’s Cove in Ogunquit, Maine.  And how is it that no one seems to be able to make a Philly Cheesesteak like they do in Philadelphia?  Don’t get me started on barbecue.  This east coast Southern barbecue they call pulled pork just doesn’t cut it with me.  Unless you take a whole BEEF brisket and smoke it all day until it falls apart, it ain’t barbecue.  If you’re ever in a little town called St. Hedwig and eat at Texas Pride Barbecue, you’ll be an instant convert.  Oh, and bring your cowboy boots ’cause you’ll want to kick up your heels on the dance floor.

Grocery stores are also subject to my food fantasies.  No where have I lived or probably will ever live has there been a grocery store as fabulous as HEB’s Central Market.  It started in Austin and is now in many locations in Texas.  My brother-in-law was so impressed with the produce that he tried to take pictures of it until one of the store managers came running and told him no pictures were allowed.  Guess he thought he was a spy for…what…Krogers?  I’ll bet they’re in the midst of their Hatch Chile Festival now, and I’m missing it.

Anyway, I just felt I needed to explain why I was so excited about Whole Foods coming to town.  I’m getting a little bit of Texas back.  Now, if we could only get a Taco Cabana here, I think I would faint dead away!

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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24 Responses to Food, Glorious Food!

  1. Shary Hover says:

    When we lived in Dallas, we were only a few blocks from Central Market. For someone who loves food but doesn’t like to cook, it was heaven! I do miss that store.

  2. Patti Ross says:

    Whoa. I have not been to an HEB in forever, since I left Corpus Christi. I do remember how terrific the stores were–and Whole Foods, but I can get to them. And, yes-yes-yes–I jsut assumed vacations were in part planned around food, and that the glories of food form past locations made it crucial to go “back” or to have things shipped over night express. Thanks for bringing up some great memories.

    • comingeast says:

      So glad my blogging friends didn’t think poorly of me for fantasizing about food. HEB is very good, but HEB’s Central Market is awesome. I don’t know why other grocery chains can’t get creative and have special stores like that. We have a very nice little market here called Fresh Market. It’s owned by Food Lion, not known for being upscale, but their Fresh Market is the top of their line and it is very nice. But it’s small. Nothing like Central Market.

  3. Amy says:

    The Whole Food in Austin is phenomenon! I agree HEB’s Central Market is unbeatable.

    • comingeast says:

      I actually liked our Central Market in San Antonio better than our Whole Foods, but nothing beats the flagship store in Austin! We remember when they first started.

  4. winsomebella says:

    I have to admit I’m a foodie through and through. I plan vacations around restaurant visits. And I am more likely to remember what I ate at a restaurant on the 3rd Saturday in October 2008 than I am likely to remember when recycling day is. And trips to Whole Foods are always a treat.

    • comingeast says:

      I’m glad you aren’t afraid to admit it. Funny that you actually plan vacations around restaurant visits, but I have to admit I do the same thing. I’m going to New England next month, and I’m going to get my lobster roll.

  5. Leah says:

    I love Whole Foods. But it’s rare I can afford it. But they do have some tasty stuff!

    • comingeast says:

      I’ll keep shopping at Trader Joe’s because they are so affordable, but I really like Whole Foods’ prepared foods. Nice for a change of pace, but yes, they are very expensive.

  6. I am not a Whole Foods fan in general, though I will occasionally stop in to the one that’s five minutes from me when I can’t schlep up to the only other place I’ll shop, which is 20 minutes away. However, I think food is meant to be celebrated! It’s cultural, it’s anthropological, it’s historical, it’s indicative of a region’s agricultural capability and local priorities. I am not one of those people who thinks food is only for sustenance. It’s an experience that enriches travel. I say do it up! (And as a native Philadelphian – though I don’t live there now – I can tell you that the reason Philly does cheesesteaks like no one else is the rolls. Amaroso rolls. They’re a local company and they don’t export much. There’s also something to the way they chip the beef, which has to have been previously frozen.)

  7. I can see why you’re excited! We have a Whole Foods in our nearby city, which our daughter frequents because she lives in the city. I too have moaned about not having Thomas’ English muffins in other parts of the country where we once lived, and I’m happy to report they are on all the grocery shelves here. What I miss here are good bagels….and pickled asparagus….and real authentic Mexican food….oh you really got me going here! 😉

  8. Julia says:

    I completely understand — it’s how I felt when Portland finally got a Trader Joes (we have a Whole Foods, too….) and I miss Mexican — real Mexican food like what I had growing up in Southern California — here in Maine. My husband was astounded when we moved here and he saw the six cans of chilis available vs. *shelves* of it in Colorado! I am so excited for you! 🙂

  9. I am hungry now, thanks! 😉 I’m suddenly in the mood for a good ol’ clam bake, corn on the cob, Maine blueberry pie….We have a Whole Foods about 40 minutes away, too far but sometimes we’ll make a special trip, it’s worth it.

    • comingeast says:

      I might be going to Maine the end of September. I’m going to visit my best friend in Connecticut and we’re going to going poking. Then I can get my lobster roll at Barnacle Billy’s. If nothing else, I’ll at least get to Lenny and Joe’s. I’m salivating right now.

  10. Margie says:

    We spent a year living in Spring, Texas and by the end of the first month we knew our mission was to try to figure out how to cook all the Tex-Mex we enjoyed there. We knew Tex-Mex was unknown in Canada!

    • comingeast says:

      Did you ever figure it out? My husband says my Mexican food is still better than what we can get here in Virginia.

      • Margie says:

        There were three women in our group, and we each specialized in 2 or 3 dishes. We get together once a year at Christmas and have a Houston Reunion, and each bring our Tex-Mex specialties. I’m the Picadillo and Gorditos person.

      • comingeast says:

        Yum! A mi me gusta picadillo y gorditas! Would love the picadillo recipe.

  11. I often associate places with food as well..

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