My New Favorite Store

I’m a guy. Most of you probably knew that already, and find that statement obvious, if not gratuitous. But this episode is about two corollaries of the guy postulate – I eat like a guy, and I shop like a guy. The Czech Republic is perfect for the guy diet. There are two food groups: meat and potatoes. As far as shopping goes, for a guy it’s a simple matter of going to the store that sells what you want, and buying it.

Yesterday, however, I broke both those rules. I was at the grocery store picking up meat, cheese, and bread, when I was hit by a hankerin’ for some apples. This store, being almost as big as a single aisle in a major US supermarket, generally carries some produce, but yesterday, no apples. Undaunted, I carried my quest to fulfill a spontaneous dietary urge to another store. Just up the street a few doors is a fruit and vegetable store I had never tried. Surely they would have apples.

And yes they did. Lovely Fujis, delectable Granny Smiths, and a couple other varieties were on display in that cramped little store. A rainbow of beautiful bell peppers. What makes this store interesting, however, is the wide variety of items that are neither fruit nor vegetable. In defiance of all czech tradition, this store carries items not within the advertised narrow category.

The first thing I noticed was the chocolate. The owner of this store must be a hard-core chocolate lover, because these weren’t just your ordinary huge chocolate bars, they were the ones that advertise an enormous chocolate content. I generally consider 70% coco to be pretty hard core, but there were several 85% slabs of pure chocolaty goodness to choose from.

There was also an impressive selection of tea – all green. It was when I was surveying the teas that I realized that behind this store is someone who has decided to sell what they like, dammit. In the back somewhere is someone who believes that green tea is better for you than black, and therefore in this store you get green. Chocolate is good, and the more pure the better. Whoever’s running this show isn’t above making money (the apples were pretty pricey), but there’s a passion that shows in the inventory. Then there was the wine and a remarkable selection of booze.

I resisted all those temptations — I was a guy on a guy shopping mission — but I fell prey to the hand-packed baggies of nuts by the register. As I type this, I’m munching pistachios. I’ve had some disappointing bags of nuts before, but these babies rock. They’re going to be seeing more of me at that store.

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