One of the pieces of advice that seemed odd during our first week in town was, “THIS is where you will want to go to get eggs with yellow yolks,” as we were driven by this rather tired building:

They're not going for flashy, folks: "Chicken & Eggs Z. G. Shop".

Choosing straightforward branding over flashy signage: “Chicken & Eggs Z. G. Shop.”  I’m not sure how the chickens would feel about their joint marketing campaign with Coca-Cola.

We were warned that normal grocery stores would net us wan, white egg yolks that may taste fishy (due to fishmeal sometimes being fed to the chickens). I was initially unconvinced that I would need to visit a separate establishment JUST to buy eggs & perhaps chicken… But my antenna were up (and the store is within walking distance from our house!). The store itself amuses me because inside, all the goods are kept behind imposing metal bars, much like you’d see at liquor or convenience stores in sketchy neighborhoods back home. These golden eggs are valuable, people!!

After our first breakfast of pale, not-very-tasty scrambled eggs, I decided we needed a fry-off. I cooked up a ghostly egg and a Chicken-&-Egg-man egg, and the latter won out for both color and flavor. This NPR article validated for me that whitish yolks are indeed derived from what the birds eat, and that the elite Dar chickens are probably being fed corn. Shortly therafter, a curry I made with odd-tasting grocery store chicken meat made us a convert for the chicken as well.

So now, the Chicken & Eggs shop has been folded into our inelegant Dance of the Groceries each week. Long gone are the days of a one-stop trip to Harris Teeter for all our overpriced niche grocery needs! Now I visit a minimum of two and sometimes 5 stores to buy things, depending on the ambition level of our recipes for the week.

My quest for black beans last week took me to 4 spots and left me frijole-less, settling for a single can of black-eyed beans/peas as a questionable substitute for use in salsa. I haven’t gotten ambitious enough to do a rigorous price comparison, like I got inspired to do in Arlington (upon our return from Mexico when I was all bitter about avocado prices). It’s also difficult to gauge availability… I hadn’t seen traditional lemons in our first 3 weeks here, so when a truckload showed up @ Food Lovers, I bought a zillion to freeze the zest & juice in ice cube trays for future lemon-mergencies. Since my hoarding, I see lemons constantly. Of course.

But I will keep my whining to a minimum, especially after reading a few articles from this woman whose family is posted to Havana, Cuba! Eggs available once or twice a month & they sell out in a few hours? Now I feel lucky that my biggest struggle is visiting just one more store. 🙂