Our little shopping safari in Clearwater, FL, on Highway 19. We actually didn't find anything at La Reina de Mexico, though there were interesting things to see inside. With a name like The Queen of Mexico, it seemed promising. The picture is of Our Lady of Guadalupe, something of a mix between a Catholic saint and an Aztec goddess.
I'd heard of Santa Muerte, Saint Death, a recently-developed cult in Mexico. There was no such thing during my days of haunting botánicas way back when, so it was interesting to encounter it here.
Yes, that's a Bratz piñata. There was also a Power Rangers one.
Very interesting. St. Lazarus, Catholic patron of the poor and sick, Lucky Prophet Latin Buddha, a typical hoodoo mix of whatever's at hand, Eleggua, a Yoruba diety imported from Africa through the slave trade, and Santa Muerte, newborn sacred figure from a land of drug wars, all getting along on the same shelf. Small world!
At a 90° angle to the Mexican grocery stands a Middle Eastern one. Here's where we did some shopping.
Our haul. It's hard to say no to a big, cheap jug of extra-virgin olive oil.
The falafel mix suffered from the same difficulty that so many do: The amount of water called for in the directions was absurdly off. It's generally either too much or too little. Blindly following, I poured in far too much, which is harder to correct. When will I learn to use my own judgment when making these mixes?
I did make good stuffed grape leaves, but that's to be expected, since I grew up helping my Greek mother make them. And the halvah? Another treat I grew up with. A bit dry, but.... mmmm...