Andy and I have recently discovered the joys of Vallarta.
Not to rub it in your face, but if you don’t live in SoCal, you probably have no clue what a Vallarta is. (okay, I’m sort of rubbing it in your face)
Vallarta is one of many hispanic grocery chains out here — and when I say hispanic, I mean REALLY hispanic. As in, if you don’t know your Spanish numbers, you’ll be completely lost when they call you at the meat counter. I’m fortunate enough to have 4.5 years of high school and college Spanish under my belt, but poor, dyslexic Andy is lucky to even speak passable English most days. I’m sure she was grateful to have me along to read food labels, interpret intercom announcements, and translate warning signs.
Seriously, shouldn’t those things have English at least somewhere on them?
Don’t flatter us by assuming that we two gringas shop at Vallarta just for the language immersion, although it is a highly cultural experience. No, the main reason we go there (besides proximity and their selection of Mexican Koolaid flavors) is for the dirt cheap meat and produce.
It’s not skeezy quality either. I mean, I’m about the furthest thing from a meat aficionado that you will ever find, but according to Andy, the chicken we got was better quality than she had ever found at Ralph’s, at a fraction of the price.
I’m just saying, SoCal natives. You need to get on this hispanic grocery train.
And don’t even get me started on the produce. I was definitely tempted to buy out the entire section. Their nectarines were 79¢/lb, so I might have gone a little crazy.
Maybe a lot crazy. What’s a girl to do with all those nectarines?
My answer: PUT THEM IN A BLENDER. As per usual.
I’ve been wanting to make an agua fresca for a while now. Since I have an alcohol sensitivity (yeah yeah delicate flower, I KNOW), it can be hard to find fun summer drinks that won’t put me to sleep or give me a splitting headache, so this is the perfect solution! Plus, aguas frescas are a staple in Latin cuisine, and Andy and I are making an effort to eat more “locally inspired” meals.
Admittedly, most of the time that looks like rolling up whatever we can find in a tortilla and calling it a day. So while I won’t claim that’s enough to relieve me of my gringa status, it’s certainly a start!
3 nectarines, peeled and pitted
3-4 tbsp agave, to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 c water
1. In a blender or food processor, puree the nectarines until smooth. Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer to extract the juice (a little pulp is okay). This should yield about 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
2. In a small pitcher, combine the water, lemon juice, agave, and nectarine juice. Stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Serve over ice and garnish with nectarine slices. Serves 2.