One of the nice things about our neighborhood is proximity to grocery stores. We are within a short drive of three. We’re not so keen on the Piggly Wiggly, which is our closest grocery store. We’ve always liked the Winn-Dixie at Montgomery’s Worst Intersection™ and its recent remodel (the subject of an upcoming post) has made it even better. Winn-Dixie does double coupons every day. They give generously to local neighborhood associations in support of community picnics and other events. Their website has the predictable “sustainability” page to rep their corporate green credentials, but if you look a little closer, boy are there a lot of weird links on there. To personal blogs, some of which seem to be organized around selling stuff on Etsy. This makes me like Winn-Dixie more. Also the people who work there are super nice.
But there are some things you just can’t get at the Winn-Dixie. Like the various vegetarian products we need to get our daily hexane intake. Publix just has a bigger selection of veggie dogs (the cheapo Smart Dogs as well as the larger, more expensive ones). They have tempeh, and even though they stopped carrying the good tempeh (the kind that didn’t come pre-marinated), they are still the only tempeh game in town. Finally, perhaps because Publix is larger, there are a lot of things they sell that Winn-Dixie does not. Like Arborio rice. And fresh-baked bagels (well, sometimes). And ponzu sauce.
Let’s say that you want to get some ponzu sauce, perhaps to mix with sambal oelek and lemon wedges for delightful spicy edamame like your friend Amber makes. In this case, you would go to Publix’s ethnic foods zone where you would find items for Asian foods (including a new and expanded Indian food section), items for “Hispanic” foods (including not a single decent jarred salsa – RIP Bruno’s if only for your bountiful supply of Mrs. Renfro’s Habanero Salsa), and the newest addition to the Publix Ethnic Rainbow: what seems to be a British Food Section.
That’s right. British food. Because there is a large collection of expats here in Montgomery jonesing for salad cream and traditional onions? Because the store somehow ended up with a surplus of strangely flavored HP sauces? You can’t get an organically grown potato this side of the Boulevard but you can buy several flavors of Malteasers? Is this for real? The first time we saw it, we were pretty sure the section was a joke – maybe some kind of grocery store hack. We grabbed a ginger beer and giggled. Which ginger beer was awesome and is now, in classic Publix style, no longer stocked.