Food: 5 reasons to check out your local ethnic grocery


La Charita

Many people feel intimidated about shopping in a foreign ethnic grocery. Don’t be.

Think of it as if you’re taking a one-hour vacation to a foreign land and experiencing a foreign culture. Wander the aisles and identify items that are unfamiliar to you. Don’t be afraid to jot down particular brands or words to Google on the internet when you get home. If you’re a foodie, this fun little exercise will expand your repertoire quickly.

Anyway, today Halpin and I took a quick break and went to La Charita in downtown Fairfield to see if there was something that we wanted to eat for lunch. And I wanted to pick up a can of sweetened condensed milk. For those unfamiliar with my sickness … read more here.

Look what I found!

La Charita

Miniature cans of sweetened condensed milk! You can get it in a six-pack. How cool is that? And they’ve got a tab-top pull like on a can of soda for easy opening.


I cannot tell how excited this made me. This is a very cool thing. Means I can have SCM at work without worry about spoilage. Mentally I’m pumping my fist up in the air and yelling YES!!!!

I would have been happy with just this little find, but there was more …

La Charita

I’m a big fan of tropical fruit juices. I’ve always got mango juice in my fridge like it’s a staple. Today I found these two juices: guanabana and tamarind. Both are wonderful flavors and I frequently eat these fruits in their natural form. I’m enthusiastic about trying the juices.

La Charita

Last but not least, I picked up some pico de gallo and tortilla chips. My favorite pico de gallos come from Mexican markets like La Charita—they’re more authentic. My favorite Mexican market happens to be a market in Vallejo (the name escapes me) on Sonoma Blvd. This of course, spawned debate between Halpin and me. She claims that there’s a better one on Tennessee St. in Vallejo.

We shall see. In the meantime, Halpin decided to taste test La Charita’s bakery department. She chose some traditional pastries of which she’s a connoisseur.

La Charita

La Charita

La Charita

Let’s just say that she wasn’t that impressed. Now we feel the need to do a group comparison against her favorite market’s pastries sometime soon, so stay tuned for that fascinating and gripping competition.


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