I have been eagerly waiting for the new grocery store to open close to my house and yesterday was finally the grand opening of Newflower in Austin so I ventured down there into the craziness, it turned out I wasn’t the only one excited about a new store. See, South Austin is the superior part of Austin in many ways but we are far enough from Wheatsville Co-op that I can’t just hop over there every time I have a craving for popcorn tofu. We have a lot of grocery stores but they all have their problems, sun harvest and randalls both have limited selection and are over priced. Central Market is fantastic but it isn’t a place you can just drop in easily and it is too easy to buy unncessary gourmet items (I am looking at you aztec dark chocolate at 12.99 a pound). HEB is the cheapest and they have the freshest produce and nearly everything I need but I hate going there because it is so crowded with children, shopping carts, hookers, and people doing their shopping for the next year that it can be an all day afair. And you can’t turn left from the parking lot and I don’t have a left turn signal so it is really the antithesis of fun.
It turns out that I have never been to a grocery store for its grand opening before and I don’t think it is something I would ever do again. Sure, there were some great deals (Boulder potato chips for $1.50! 10 limes for a dollar!) and we got a free reusable bag and a flower but I had to stalk a women with her children in order to get a parking spot and you could hardly manuver through the store because people were standing in line almost to the back of the store waiting to check out! And it is a big store. Did you know that they make seperate bread for men and women now?
Don’t worry gender neutral, transexual, and other readers there is bread that isn’t as gender defined as well as vegan at newflower. Their produce seemed really well priced, right up there with HEB and they had a full organic selection. In fact, the whole place kind of reminded me of an HEB if you just took out the junk food aisles, the candy aisles, the aisles of shaving cream, the aisels of holiday junk, and all the other stuff that makes it a “normal” grocery store. They didn’t seem to have any fresh vegan deli items or products but they did have the normal standbys, garden burgers, tempeh, seitan, tofutti, earth balance, vital wheat gluetan, amy’s meals etc but sadly nothing new and exciting. The bulk section had really well priced nuts and flours and there was a small wine and beer section as well. Overall it was more of a “grass fed beef” place then a vegan place but if I can park there and not spend a million dollars on organic avocados I will be a happy vegan.
When I got home I didn’t know what to make. This is what happens when you go to the grocery store with no definite purpose! I decided to make something with the eggplant because sometimes I forget about eggplants and I made a Pakistani dish from World Vegetarian that used the Panch Phorum and amchoor that I got last week. I also made some Lemon Rice from Heaven’s Banquet which was good, but should have been a little less lemony.It doesn’t look beautiful even with the sunflower they gave me! Dan wasn’t impressed with the eggplant but I thought it was great. Instead of draining the eggplant while you salt it, the recipe called for soaking it in salt water which lead to a texture similar to cooked mushrooms. I also threw in the spinach because the meal was noticeably lacking in greens. The rice was really good and you don’t add the lemon until the very end so if you want to try it add a little at a time and see how you like it so next time I will do that. If anyone want the recpies just let me know and I will add them to the post.