Cardenas Market is your cure for the common grocery store
Wed, Aug 15, 2012 (5:32 p.m.)
Photo: Christopher DeVargas
- Cardenas Market
- Multiple locations
Ever been to a fiesta inside a grocery store? Well, at the mega-Cardenas just off Highway 95 at Decatur, that’s exactly what’s happening.
You’ll stumble across ingredients not found at your neighborhood Vons or even Whole Foods. I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised that Cardenas carries more than a dozen different salsas, but how about six different sour creams? Who knew? They’re in a deli case alongside multiple queso frescos, while the seemingly endless meat and fish counter highlights cuts such as tripe, tongue and trotters among the more mainstream ones.
That’s not even the best of it: a Rube Goldberg-esque tortilla-spewing contraption will leave you enthralled. It’s better than Disneyworld, and there’s no entrance fee. Lest you think only maíz (corn) or harina (flour) are available, Cardenas also offers yellow and blue maíz, as well as green nopal (cactus) tortillas—all made fresh and often still warm. Good stuff.
You don’t even need to leave the supermercado to enjoy your comida. Cardenas has a cafeteria-style restaurant, a juice bar and an onsite bakery. Hot dishes vary but typically include the aforementioned tripe, carnitas, mouth-watering grilled chicken and chicharrónes the size of your head, while the juice bar includes cherry, papaya and mango next to more pedestrian orange and pineapple.
While some might be hesitant to venture into a Mexican supermarket, you shouldn’t be. Signage is bilingual and the staff does its best to accommodate gringos. And there are six sour creams to sample. Isn’t that reason enough?