Still on the quest for the perfect Michelada and getting ready to host Cindy and Sue for dinner tonight to recreate our La Olla Oaxaca experience in the humble environs of my kitchen, I ventured out yesterday on Labor Day to the bustling metropolis of downtown Pittsboro, North Carolina, wondering if anything would be open. Perhaps Mexican immigrant shopkeepers don’t observe Labor Day, I hoped — just a normal Monday for them. Indeed, Don Pablo Mexican Tienda had their OPEN sign prominently displayed and the few cars on the mostly empty street were parked near the door.
I love the small Mexican market shopping experience. Indeed, there was the Maggi (pronounce it with a hard G), the secret ingredient for successful Micheladas. I knew that somehow substituting soy sauce was just not going to make it. The taste test at home later that afternoon proved me right. I also found limes — big juicy ones — 7 for $1.00. Compare that price with your local major supermarket. Then, there were the ripe bananas, huge beautiful onions, avocados ready for guacamole that very day, and packages of 50 fresh tortillas for $1.25. I picked up the last papaya (it must have weighed 7 lbs) and could smell its succulence. I piled my goodies on the counter in handfulls. There were no shopping carts.
You must like Mexican food, the proprietor commented. Yes, I said. I like Mexicans, too. Oh, that’s great, he said. Many people don’t want us here. I smiled and answered. Yes, I know.