Restock your international pantry thanks to these local business | Columns

We have been hitting our pantry pretty hard these last months. Previously, we replenished many

We have been hitting our pantry pretty hard these last months.

Previously, we replenished many of our international ingredients by shopping in Denver, Salt Lake City or Las Vegas. But since we haven’t traveled, our stockpile has gotten lower.

Fortunately, there are some excellent businesses locally with international food ingredients. Some you know, some might be new to you.

For Asian ingredients, we love Carol’s Oriental Foods, 2814 North Ave., and Orchard Mesa Market, 176 29 Road.

Carol’s has been around for many years and is well known in the valley for its great selection of Asian foods and equipment. We shop there a lot.

We would say the focus is primarily on Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Filipino foods, but Carol’s does carry some items from India and Southeast Asia. Its prices are competitive with Asian groceries in bigger cities.

Carol Leinberger and her husband are very helpful. In the summer, there is a good selection of Asian produce grown in Fruita. Be sure to try Carol’s homemade kimchi. It has all the kimchi flavor, but being freshly made it has crunch.

Orchard Mesa Market has been around for a long time, but recently added Asian food and “House of Asian Groceries” to its name.

It carries an assortment that overlaps some with Carol’s, but has more of a focus on Vietnamese, Laotian and Thai cuisines. Its produce also differs from Carol’s and is in excellent shape, too. There are lime leaves, fresh galangal, Thai eggplants (from the pea sized to the egg sized in colors from white to green to lavender), mushrooms and more.

Frozen meats include Asian style meats as well as local meats processed by Orchard Mesa Market. We tried some of its sausages, dumplings and flat breads from the freezer section. If you haven’t had scallion pancakes, now is the time to try them.

For Mexican groceries, we like Carniceria Sonoyta, 3225 I-70 Business Loop, and El Torito Carniceria, 2740 U.S. Highway 50.

Both offer many of the same cuts of meat, plain and marinated. There are cheeses, vegetables and many Mexican pantry staples. Many of the canned goods are not available in supermarkets.

Carniceria Sonoyta has a large meats section. The butchers are very helpful. We made a recipe that called for pork ribs cut into 2 inch pieces. They were happy to help us.

There is a deli where you can order tortas, burritos, tacos and more. You can get take out or eat in. We often stop by to get a half pound of beef barbacoa to eat at home. There is also a prepared grab-and-go food section with our favorite refritos, along with some good Spanish rice, guacamole and several fresh salsas.

They offer a basic set of vegetables plus fresh nopales. They prepare the nopales either as whole cactus leaves or cubed. They also sell a flour tortilla (“La Nortanita”) we have not found elsewhere. When heated it becomes flaky and provides a lovely texture for quesadillas or burritos.

El Torito Carniceria is smaller, but carries a nice assortment of meats and cheeses. They sell tortillas from two different tortillerias in Rifle. They also stock a wide selection of dried chilies and Mexican herbs and spices.

For Mexican baked goods, we love San Jose Panaderia, 507 30 Road, No. 1a. The place smells of fresh yeast dough, and as you walk in you will see cases of pan dulces, pastries, rolls and all sorts of baked treats.

We have enjoyed pineapple and guava pastries. But, when they have them, we go nuts for their cheese and jalapeno rolls. Bolillos are always fresh so you can make your own tortas. There is also a fairly good-sized grocery, soft goods and kitchen equipment area.

In Fruita, you can’t beat Skips Farm to Market, 119 E Aspen Ave., for “products from farmers and producers in the Grand Valley and surrounding areas who are committed to sustainable farming methods.”

This means locally raised and processed fresh beef and pork, vegetables from GroFresh 365 and local farmers (including Skip’s Early Morning Orchard in Palisade), local honeys, jams and cheeses, and bread from Bake Sale Bread Co.

If you haven’t tried Bake Sale’s bread, you should. It is locally handmade with organic ingredients and naturally leavened. Flavors are seasonal. Rita is more than addicted to the gingerbread.

As you can see, there are lots of great pantry stuffers nearby, and all of them make it easier to stay safe and eat well.

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