Monday August 28, 2006

The Critical Miami guide to hurricane shopping

food is delicious

It’s insane out there. I just got back from Publix, where the parking lot was choked up, more cars were coming in then leaving, and people were either at each other’s throats or being creepily nice (the guy in front of me offered me nuts he was munching on). I only went to get some fun stuff, thinking it’d be empty, but of course I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Anyway, y’all need to relax. It’s a hurricane. You’re going to live. Stop shopping like it’s the end of civilization, and buy stuff that’ll help you have fun during and after the storm. From the picture above, and in no particular order:

  1. Whole wheat pita and beans: I had a batch of Miami Hummus in the fridge, so I decided to add some beans, garlic, and oil to it to bulk it up. This, plus the pita, is a decent staple. Unrefrigerated hummus will keep for a few days.
  2. Juice: I normally buy juices and mix them with seltzer. If the power’s out water will work, since room temperature seltzer is kind of nasty. Like Rebecca says, though, just fill up some pitchers before the storm, and you’ll have plenty of water (plus if you haven’t bought it by now it’s too late anyway).
  3. Booze: I’ve opted for a couple of bottles of Shiraz and a big bottle of Bushmill’s. Both work great at room temperature.
  4. Extra sharp chedar: You want to be sticking with the hard cheeses—anything soft will spoil (ever tried eating brie that’s been out overnight? Yikes!). Plus, it goes great with the wine.
  5. Tomatoes: I got the delicious ones on the vine. Any veggies that can be eaten raw would work, though.
  6. Yuca: I might feel motivated enough to cook this up tomorrow morning, and do up some olive oil and garlic to go with it.
  7. Coconut, avocado: more fun stuff from the produce isle. Cracking open and eating a coconut sort of makes anything feel like a celebration.
  8. Candles: I’m required by the Responsible Blogging Act of 2003 to tell you to use a flashlight, because you will burn down your home if you light a candle during a storm. But for myself, I rather like the candles. Plus reading by flashlight is a little jr-high for me. All the good hurricane candles in tall jars were gone, of course, and I can’t abide scented. Luckily I found these awesome Kosher candles. 72 to a box!

That’s it; there’s plenty of other stuff in the house. Plust, last year I didn’t even loose power. Bonus tip: if you have a hand-basket, you can pile as much stuff as you want in it, and they’ll let you slide at the express lane, regardless of how many items it is. How’s everyone else’s day going?

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  1. Manola Blablablanik    Mon Aug 28, 04:37 PM #  

    I just checked out your hummus recipe – Delish!!!!!!

  2. Gus    Mon Aug 28, 04:45 PM #  

    Today I bought vine ripe tomatoes and red wine too.

    No news yet about evacuating Miami Beach.

    Stay safe.

  3. Rebecca Carter    Mon Aug 28, 05:58 PM #  

    Waiting for the 11pm update. I don’t think they really know what’s going on here, and won’t until the storm clears Cuba.

    I, too, suffered the Publix lines, just to pick up some extra snacks, sodas, juices, rubbing alcohol (just in case), etc.

    Have been filling bags of water and sticking in the freezer to keep it extra cool just in case, and jacked up the freezer to “coldest”.

    Charging up my rechargable flashlight, and looking for the charger for another. Arg.

    Got gas yesterday when all was calm in the world.

    I hope everyone is preparing, but if it passes us by without a scratch, please be thankful instead of being upset that you got prepared. Last year was a mess with the storms that always caught us by surprise. Be prepared and hope for the best. Help your neighbors if they need it!

    Stay safe to all.

  4. gansibele    Mon Aug 28, 06:40 PM #  

    Alesh, try the frozen yuca, or get the yuca from one of the Beach bodegas instead. I hate the yuca from Publix and the waxy stuff they put on it.

    Happy hurricaning!

  5. Manola Blablablanik    Mon Aug 28, 07:43 PM #  

    Gans, great idea with the frozen. Plus, fresh yuca has that okra slimy thingy going on when you peel it.

  6. alesh    Mon Aug 28, 08:14 PM #  

    I’ll try my local market for Yuca, but frozen? No, thanks. I use a pretty standard potato peeler on it, and it works fine with the wax (which, admittedly, I see no logical reason for).

    Manola~ You should check out the two other tubers I’ve been messing with lately- malanga and name. Both have a sticky white excretion that makes yuca look positively refined.

  7. gansibele    Mon Aug 28, 09:01 PM #  

    It’s not cooked and then frozen, it’s still raw, just peeled. I buy “El sembrador” brand from Honduras. It tastes pretty good. I just hate the wax, and if the yuca has been sitting around for a while, the waxy flavor kind of permeates it. My aunt clued me to it, and she’s a by-the-book Cuban cook. She also clued me to horror of horrors Zatarains black beans and rice. If you don’t have the patience, or didn’t plan ahead and put your black beans to soak the night before, you can still make killer moros y cristianos out of a box. Just add half a cup of rice so they are not as runny as Creole rice and beans, a laurel leaf and a piece of chicharrón if you have one handy. I have fooled countless people with them.

  8. denise    Mon Aug 28, 09:01 PM #  

    we have very similar hurricane food supply taste. i just bought, among other things, 6 items almost identical to yours (that exact same package of pitas, yellowtail shiraz, hummus, goya beans, kirby pre-seasoned frijoles negros, avocado…) laughing cow cheese is lower on the quality scale than real cheddar but keeps fine unrefrigerated. finally, one thing i always see at my west dade publix that confounds me is people preparing for hurricanes by loading up on big slabs of meat. what’s up with that?

  9. Rick    Mon Aug 28, 09:16 PM #  

    ...that confounds me is people preparing for hurricanes by loading up on big slabs of meat. what’s up with that?



  10. Tere    Mon Aug 28, 09:21 PM #  

    I got gas this morning out of need, completly forgetting about the storm. I didn’t even know anything about the storm heading over here until I got to work. Head up the ass, I know…

    Figuring all the world would either be in line for gas or at the grocery store, I opted to go to the Walgreens up the street. It was almost empty. Got gallons of water, batteries (just in case, I have new batteries in everything but tought I should stockpile), and diapers. I was already fully stocked in baby food and dog food and candles. The only thing I have none of is ice. But my stoller was loaded and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with ice at this point (it doesn’t fit in my freezer).

    We have a gas grill, so we’re able to cook whatever food we have. All I really care is that Ben will be off during the actual storm, so I won’t be alone or schleping a baby, a dog and all our crap to my parents’ house.

  11. Manola Blablablanik    Tue Aug 29, 01:46 AM #  

    Speaking of tubers, Alesh are you cooking up mojo with your yuca?

    Malanga is nice puréed like mashed taters with a little butter and salt.

  12. geoffrey philp    Tue Aug 29, 03:43 AM #  

    Yes, that looks about right. I go for Appleton instead of wine—one sip and everything is irie.

  13. Eleonora    Tue Aug 29, 04:50 AM #  

    ...i prefer the “nobile di montalcino”
    Happy hurricaning!

    ele (Italy)

  14. mkh    Tue Aug 29, 06:48 AM #  

    Appleton is fine, to be sure, but Barbancourt is my friend, Geoffrey.

    All the back and forth stuff makes me a bit crazy, primarily because of the effect it has on my day job planning. At least now it looks to be a nasty tropical storm, and not a hurricane.

  15. Lissette    Tue Aug 29, 10:08 AM #  

    I’m so glad I filled up my tank out of necessity on Sunday instead of having to deal with the crazy mess that’s out there right now. Shopping done over the weekend, tanks filled with gas, and all containers in the house filled with water….good to go!

    I’m not expecting much but a lot of wind, a lot of rain, a lot of flooding. Speaking of which, should but my little car up on stands, just in case.

  16. Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds    Tue Aug 29, 10:25 AM #  

    All this talk of South American starches is making me very hungry. I’m making some regular old American chili and grilled cheeses. Also made a chocolate orange bundt cake but its for someones birthday.

  17. whl    Tue Aug 29, 12:09 PM #  

    just saw this. lots of useful tips. i also listed booze! jejeje

  18. Jonathan    Tue Aug 29, 05:27 PM #  

    Alesh, someone should have a talk with you about that lame Publix pita with the preservatives. A real hummus man would use only the fresh stuff. Of course this might be difficult during a hurricane, but some things are too important to compromise.

  19. circuitmouse    Tue Aug 29, 06:55 PM #  

    Don’t forget the hibachi.

  20. alesh    Wed Aug 30, 09:51 AM #  

    Big slabs of meat are what caused all the cooler-ice parking lot waiting line fights during post-Wilma last year.

    I don’t think my publix caries the laughing cow, though oddly enough it’s big in Prague.

    Hi there, ele! And sure enough, for a local site, CM gets a lot of international love:

    CM gets international hits

    check out ele in Rome!

    I have no quarrel with rum, but I haven’t been into it. When I do, it’s Black Seal, or a particular type of dark Haitian rum that I can get down here. I’ve been on a whiskey kick, though. Also, the Yellow Tail Shiraz wasn’t great – I’m sticking with the Concha y Toro (it’s cheaper, too).

    Making pita at home sounds hard. Any other suggestions?

    No hibachi indoors, I hope? Maybe a gas camping stove?

  21. J-J    Wed Aug 30, 10:08 AM #  

    Well, the storm came and went, my hang over is all that remains :)

  22. mkh    Wed Aug 30, 10:38 AM #  

    Black Seal is good, and I hope the dark Haitian rum is Barbancourt (but if it isn’t, tell me!).

  23. gansibele    Wed Aug 30, 11:37 AM #  

    Don’t buy wines that advertise in mass media. That goes also for Santa Margherita, etc.

  24. Jonathan    Wed Aug 30, 12:10 PM #  

    Alesh, I have had OK results with the Daily Bread Bakery (around sw 24th St and Rte 1). For best quality you should buy on days when the pita is freshly delivered. If it’s fresh, buy a bunch and freeze it. Since they don’t bake it in the store, you might be able to find another source for it that’s closer to where you live.

    Even better is pita from the Arab grocery on the N side of Coral Way, about 4 stores W of 17th Ave. They bake it themselves.

    I suspect that you can find other sources of good pita if you check around at Arab stores and restaurants.