love letters to tucson #2: mexican groceries

Notice that I didn’t say Mexican food. That’s delicious, and probably nothing can beat living in one of those American cities where you can buy 99-cent tacos on any street corner, and where the best restaurants are the ones you have to speak Spanish in. But Boston probably has one or two decent Mexican restaurants. What they won’t have, and what I’m worried about finding, is all my favorite Mexican groceries.

I like to laugh at people on the East Coast because their Dos Equis costs, like, seven dollars a bottle at a bar. Poor fools. Here? Two, maybe three. Soda makes me want to vomit, but every once in awhile I really like to enjoy a Coke or a fizzy, fruity drink. Enter Mexican Coke, which is still made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, and Jarritos, the best fruity sodas ever. I may not be able to drink Dos Equis anymore because of the gluten, but I’m really going to miss glass-bottled sodas every once in awhile.

This is actually not a given in all of Tucson, because white Tucson probably doesn’t have a whole lot of idea what I’m talking about, but I think it will still be more problematic in Boston than it is here: there is a huge population of people that think Tabasco is acceptable hot sauce. It’s not. First of all, it tastes sweet and disgusting, and second of all, it is not hot. So it is sweet pepper sauce. Tragic.

Cholula, though, is where it’s at, and even if I might have trouble finding it at some restaurants, I know I can always get it at the grocery store, and it scares me to think that I might have to start buying Tabasco in stores on the East Coast. I don’t really know what to expect, of course, but since Cholula is another delicious Mexican import, it stands to reason that it will be hard to find in Boston, and that it will probably be rather expensive. So I’m packing a few bottles with me.

Finally, something else I’ve already had to say goodbye to for gluten reasons but that makes Tucson Tucson is the abundance of fresh baked Mexican pastries at every grocery store. Yes, a croissant is delicious and can be found everywhere, but I can’t say the same about pan de huevo. And those conchas are just so good.

I am exceedingly worried about not being able to find essential grocery items when I get to Boston, but at least the prospect of being able to shop in Chinatown for products I can’t buy in Tucson is exciting.


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