Sunday, November 11, 2012

White Center Home of Local Independent Food! #CTWW

Foodshopping in White Center (Motto: "Not So White, Not So Centered!") gives many opportunities to meet this week's Change The World Wednesday challenge:

This week shop local by making at least one purchase from a local independent business. In other words, pass right by the big chain stores and search out a local merchant. Need some ideas? Have your hair cut by an independent salon ... buy food from a farmer's market or a local grocer ... get your car maintenanced by the neighborhood mechanic ... buy lunch from a "mom & pop" restaurant ... get your cup of coffee from the neighborhood barista.  As always, we'd like to know all about it ... where you shopped, any problems with shopping local, etc.

Three blocks from our house on 13th is a row of shops (on 16th, naturally!) starting with a family-run "International Market" that always has great deals on fruits and vegetables. What it lacks in shiny signs it makes up in decent stuff. I've observed that there seems to be two quality levels. Inside the building are large bins of the frieshest, high-quality stuff. Toward the outside are bagged items, which appears to be foods that are still good, but not as fresh; the prices reflect that. Roughly speaking, we buy the bagged items for meals prepared today or tomorrow, and the fresher stuff for later in the week.
Across the street is a living-room size market ... you might call is a "SupraMarket" since it's the opposite of a SuperMarket". If you need a little something and you don't want to go all the way to Target, try this place first.
Around the corner is Cafe Rozella, our favorite coffee shop. Her Mexican Mocha Coffee is always a delight, and made by hand ... we watch it being made! I haven't had better coffee at any chain!
Just south of that is Mac's Triangle Tavern ... not really good for groceries, but important at other times ;-)
Crossing Roxbury we go by the 3.14 Bakery (a tasty place to discuss business over coffee and pastry), Proletariat Pizza (best pizza in Seattle, and very family friendly), Full Tilt Ice Cream (best I ever ate), and then go east a block. On 15th as we head south, there are several ethnic markets .... we haven't visited them all, but like to get Cambodian grinder sandwiches (not their actual name) or deep-fried dinner pastries. Samway's is a large ethnic food market that would feel right at home at Pike Place Market, except the prices are lower. A few block south of that (farther than I've walked, but I suppose I should pick up the habit ...) is a Savemore, an inexpensive supermarket. It's not as fancy as QFC or even Albertson's but we're happy with the price and quality.
Did I mention Big Al Brewing? Not only is it walkable, but once you get into the habit of taking a "growler" in to be filled, you'll never want to buy a six-pack again! The tap room is a very friendly place; we often hang out on a weekend evening swapping soup recipes or grilling when the weather's nice. You can't get THAT at any chain.
We feel lucky to have all these choices within a short distance. Developing the shop-local habit can take a bit of work, because the habit of driving to a store is so deeply ingrained. Somehow it seems faster to drive five minutes to a chain store than to spend the same five minutes walking; hopefully a smart person will figure out how these perceptual differences work and how to combat them.
There is a small problem in walking to local stores instead of driving, and that's that you are more limited in what you can carry. It's helpful for the two of us to go together, because we can carry a lot more, and otherwise we just have to be organized, especially in writing a list out first so that our trip is goal-oriented and we get the pleasure of success just in crossing items off the list.
I'd be willing to bet that if we found a really great deal at a family-owned store, such that we would want to fill our car with it, that we could work out some deal involving buying or reserving as much as we would pay for, and then go get the car. So far, this has never been necessary, but the families seem interested in keeping customers happy.

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