We have a hard time remembering how to say “fruiteria” (“fruitereria? fruitorama? fruitarena?”) so we ended up calling the place “Fruitopia.” Which turned out to be exactly the case.

So last Saturday it’s bad out, the kind of gray snowishness that promises to work its way between the cracks of your house and freeze you in your sleep. Also, I’m sick, green-bullet sick.* In fact, these two items are probably not unrelated. Lee says, “Make sure you take it easy today, okay?”

Perfect day to go grocery shopping!

We all bundle up and get in the car and go to…Sam’s Club (looking for trash cans and eating pass-out snacks). And then Home Depot. And then, after a couple of hours of wandering around and using up what little strength and/or patience I had, we go to Fruiteria Guadalajara.

Perfect plan for going grocery shopping!

Hey, I’m not blaming anybody but myself. I always think I can fit more into any given hour than 60 paltry minutes would indicate, doubly so when I’m sick.

Also, we left at 10 a.m., didn’t really eat anything first, and figured we’d get home before we were really hungry.

Trifecta of good planning!

The result was that I didn’t keep track of as much as I had planned.

The F.G. is a tiny orange store on South Academy and Airport Street. The most delicious smell comes from outside the building, where a man is doing something with a grill that makes me want to cry. Did I pick anything up to eat? Pfft. No. Next to him is a little, sheltered, year-round kiosk that sells Mexican polka music, which is probably called something else, but it has accordions and sounds very oom-pah, so that’s what I’ve called it since we moved here, almost 10 years ago.

The first thing inside the door is an international phone card dispenser and a freezer case filled with what looks like limes stuffed with ice cream. The glass is fogged up, so I’m not sure. Also did not get any, because I’m an idiot.

Unless you were looking for fruit, the selection was sadly limited (say, mostly convenience-store level). However, fruit was almost all top-notch and the selection pretty much overwhelmed anyplace else I’ve been:

  • limes – two types
  • papayas
  • melons – two types
  • mangoes – two types
  • oranges
  • clementines
  • coconuts
  • papaya
  • guavas
  • bananas – five types
  • peaches
  • nectarines
  • plums
  • grapes – three types
  • pears – four types
  • apples – seven types
  • no lemons (unusual)
  • grapefruit – poor quality
  • kiwis
  • pluots
  • chirimoya [sic]
  • avocados – two types, all perfectly ripe
  • and a bunch of stuff whose label had not been dilligently applied and I have no freaking clue what they were.

Oddly, no berries that I can remember. And no apricots, which I had thought were ubiquitous to any Mexican grocery store worth the name. Also of note: 15 types of fresh peppers, 11 types of beans, 12 types of dried chilis (bulk), and a cast of thousands of small-package dried chilis.

I didn’t have much on my shopping list, but I was unable to obtain most of it. For example, prepared salsa (as in chunky) was unavailable, although multiple types of hot sauce were. No matches, toothpaste, leeks, whole chicken, tomato soup, ramen, or Velveeta (for bjork, a.k.a queso dip). There were 9 types of cheese available, of which only one was not a traditional Mexican style (i.e., fresh mozzarella). None of the cheeses appeared to be aged.

There was a meat counter, but it didn’t have much (although it did have tripe, which is fascinating but personally intimidating). There was an eating area with 4-5 small tables. With the grill outside, the indoor area seemed to sell only fruit cups the size of a large soda (with or without chili pepper, looked like), juice, and ice cream (including birthday cake flavor).

The fruits and vegetables were indeed stacked above my eye level on displays, or chest level in crates. Open bulk containers had dry items: rainbow-colored jimmies, dried shrimp (complete with pitch-black eyeballs), flaked coconut.

The place was clean but for what people were tracking in, but worn. The place only opened after we moved to our house, so it hasn’t been open for more than 2.5 years, so go figure. The staff offered to help me a couple of times, but only when I ran into them.

Of all things, there was a plastic box full of dried crickets (unmarked, unpriced) next to the cash register.

I picked up a few things, including a chirimoya, which I haven’t eaten yet. It feels like a non-bristly kiwi fruit. Lee picked out a box of chocolate cookies with pink coconut marshmallows on top. Nom nom nom.

There were no organic, whole-grain, or “top-shelf” items (i.e., only one brand was available of almost everything).

After that, we went to Rancho Liborio, which is a supermarket-style store, and failed to find either Velveeta or matches but were otherwise able to obtain the necessaries. I didn’t keep track of R.L. as I was about ready to sit down and not get up again by the time we left.

The next day, I went to Target to stock up on Easter supplies for Ray, because I couldn’t find any at either store. In retrospect, that seems very odd.

All in all, it was what it was: a fruit shop, with extras. I would stop there for good-quality fruit and some vegetables, if that’s what I was looking for. I will also stop there again to try the grilled whatsits and frozen limes. But a pain, as far as checking items off a list of weekly supplies.

Also, if I had any sense, I wouldn’t go out in bleah weather. I was sick all weekend, dragged myself feverishly and giddily in to work on Monday, and had to crash Tuesday and most of today. I finally woke up about 1:30 going, “Okay, I can bend over without endangering myself.” I’m not that graceful at the best of times, and I kept turning around too quickly and running into walls.

*If you have to ask, you’ve never seen a kid with a really bad head cold sneeze.