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Come? Perche? Quando? In qual modo?

February 25, 2007

We ran out of coffee the other day. Tommy keeps running on Folgers run through the trusty Mr. Coffeeman machine. I’ve been brewing up – by the cup – variations of espresso from Jay International, the world’s greatest import-without-attitude-or-inflated-price grocery store on Grand Avenue. I figure you keep it strong enough, one cup should do it for you.

But the other day I opened the cabinet to discover the empty cans.

Disaster. Thank God for the Webster Groves McDonalds. Thank you, Mr. Drivethrough Man.

coffeepot.jpg

<>Years ago, living in the Shaw Neighborhood, I started on the Italian brands found at the Schuncks (our local grocery chain – that’s really the name, honest) over on The Hill. That’s the Italian ethnic neighborhood in South City. A visit to Viviano’s Grocery is like stepping into a neighborhood in an Italian small town – complete with little old ladies three feet tall dressed in black, speaking Italian dialect to the clerk. When the local chain opened a store on The Hill, they carried more products aimed at that demographic. Miles of olive oil. Produce you don’t normally see. And coffee. Lots of coffee.Expresso, Italian roast, you name it.

<>When I moved down to Florida I discovered the Spanish influence at the Publix (their local chain) meant amazing varieties of South American, Caribbean and Cuban products. And coffee. Even more than the varieties I used to find at the Schnucks on The Hill.

<><>A side note, while I’m meandering on the subject. If you have never tried a cup of cafe cubano coffee at a street-side sandwich shop, you don’t know the meaning of cardiac explosion. It works better than any EMS equipment at getting your system jump-started.

So, back to current events; I was out this morning and decided to drive all the way over to Kingshighway and hit the Schnucks on The Hill. My old stomping grounds. But once inside, I found they had rearranged everything. No major surprise – it’s been about six or seven years since I had last been there. But now they have a special “Taste of Italy” section with all the “Italian Speciality” product crammed together for the benefit of tourists.Another change: the coffee section – once offering acres of variety – now features the usual half asle section of the usual brands. Nary a Magio Del’Italia (what was the name of that coffee?) was to be seen.

<>Ave Maria. I asked the nice checkout lady who told me the store decided there were so many coffee places around, it didn’t make sense to carry so manyvarieties of grounds.

About ten years ago the Schnucks stores reflected their individual neighborhoods. When you went to the one on The Hill, you could tell as soon as you walked in the door you were in Italian-land. Just like theSchnucks at Grand and Chippewa had groceries familiar to the Vietnamese population and the store further south on Grand had produce for the Bosnia neighborhood.

<>Seems it’s all become somewhat more generic these days.

<>Guess it’s back to Jay’s International. Then I can not only stock up on coffee, but some nori, Vietnamese noodles and a few other necessities. Meanwhile I did get a canister of Folgers. That should keep Tommy going.

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