Taipei Air Station - 1966 - - - " What you have in the end are memories"......... Photo Courtesy of Richard Reesh.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grocery Shopping in Tienmu - 2 UPDATES

Have you had a craving for a particular food recently?  It doesn't happen often, but last evening I really wanted to eat some beef enchiladas.

I could taste those warm corn tortillas rolling into my mouth;  the aroma of the sauce, onions and beef covered with the smoothness of the melted cheese exploding on my tongue and my taste buds.  You're probably swallowing just about now.  You know the feeling....

There are restaurants in Taipei that serve something resembling Mexican food, but I have never found a place offering good Tex-Mex enchiladas.

I grew up eating all types of dishes prepared in various small Mom and Pop Cafes in South Texas.  I particularly remember the "Main Grill", a small restaurant with a circular dining room.  My friends and I used to meet-up at there after we dropped off our "dates"on Friday and Saturday nights. Most of us would order the daily special which always came with a big basket of hot corn tortillas, and a couple of pads of real butter.  Those home made tortillas fresh out of the kitchen would quickly disappear into our stomachs, making the wait for our large platter of food easier.  We sat waiting, trading stories, sipping on a huge glass of South Texas Ice Tea with lime or lemon and trying to decide on desert,  a piece of fresh strawberry pie, or maybe just a big piece of pecan pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Taiwan may be famous for tea, but the ice tea in south Texas back-in-the-day had a wonderful distinct flavor of it's own.

 UPDATE 2 - 12 June 2011: Found this old Business Card from the Main Grill in McAllen, Texas.  The photo must have been taken in the late 1950s, very early 1960s.  Note a few things from those days:
Coca Cola signs, BEER advertised on the street neon sign along with a small sign just under the MAIN GRILL sign that noted that the cafe was AIR CONDITIONED..  There is a telephone booth outside and one other note - in times before this photo, the MAIN GRILL had car service.  Note the typical outside car service windows in the front window area. It was an easy in and easy out cafe,  You parked in the fashion shown in the photo, then when leaving, you could just backup and drove around the back of the cafe and end up on the street.  An easy to visit cafe.

So, last night I made up my mind to head out to the most likely places I know of,  to see if I could find some canned sauce to help me prepare a big pan of enchiladas.

Just after noon, I caught the Taipei Metro Beitou Line heading toward Tienmu.  There are two food stores in Tienmu that have large selections of "foreign" food.

To REALLY examine each of these photos, double click on the picture...

I got off at the Zhishin Metro Station and walked a couple blocks west and 2 blocks north and soon found the newest large retail store in Tienmu, "Sogo."  Sogo smells beautiful, all the make-up counters are on the first floor, and I had to walk across the store to the escalator down to B-1 where "City Super" food market is located.  I believe City Super is headquartered in Hong Kong.  I walked around and found the Mexican food area, but they had no enchilada sauce.  I picked up some vegetables and fruit.  The only vegetable I've wanted but never located in Taipei are green zucchinis. 

 Here are my grocery bags from both City Super and Takashimaya food markets.
Leaving City Super at Sogo,  I walked to the corner, crossed the street to the BMW dealer. 

The corner of Chung Shan North Road as it heads back to Taipei, you would angle left in the center of the photo.

 This street sign was just off to my right as I stood on the corner of the previous  photo.

I believe there's an Austin Martin showroom in back, down the sidewalk on the right side of this photo.
I walked across the wide avenue just to the right of this photo

Zhongcheng Park, just north across the street from the BMW dealer.

Here's the bus stop covered waiting bench, just next to the park where I waited for a city bus to take me up the road a few blocks to Takashimaya Department Store.

  Here's the park and fountain again, just outside the Bus Stop bench.

Maybe you folks who knew and resided in Tienmu might recognize the area.  
I expect most of this area was farmer fields back in the day.

Soon the bus arrived and we headed up Zhongcheng Road.  The bus ride for "seniors" age 65 thru 69 is NT$ 8.00 = about US$ 30 cents.  When you reach 70 years, you ride the bus for FREE.

The bus stop was just  in front of the Taipei Tienmu Baseball Stadium. Local television carries many games from this stadium.

This bat and the balls are huge.

We're just across the street from the Takashimaya Department Store, which opened in 1994.  

Here you see the corner as I turned to my right and took this photo, the baseball stadium to my right side up the sidewalk and the department store to my left across the street.

Let's head inside by this side entrance. I believe the steps on the right go up to an elevator bank serving the parking areas on floors 5-9.

I got a small grocery cart and spent about an hour looking around.

No enchilada sauce here either.  I settled for a few mixed cans of salsa, one Old El Paso Salsa and two cans of La Costena Salsa.  I hope between the two brands, I can get a decent flavor combination for my enchiladas.  When I fly back into Taipei on my next trip, my bag will have a dozen cans of Old El Paso enchilada green and red sauces.

After checking out of Jason's Market, I was back outside in front of the store waiting on the Takashimaya company courtesy bus which shuttles back and forth to the Taipei Metro Shilin Station.

Here's the Takashimaya Store shuttle bus.

The bus driver is cleaning up the bus, soon the door opened, I was toward the back of the line, but found a comfortable seat inside.

The Takashimaya shuttle bus dropped us just down from the Shilin Metro station.  The Metro station steps are just in the rear of that skateboard mural straight ahead.

As I walked up to the mural area, I turned around a took this shot looking back to where I got off the bus, about 30 or 40 yards back, you can see the side street way back by a cement pillar, just about out of sight.

OK, here's the Metro station steps, train arrival times can be seen on the red sign hanging from the ceiling.  There are two lines that serve this station, so the trains run in both directions about every 3 to 5 minutes, depending on time of day.

Taipei is a wonderful city, the people are friendly and the food is great.  But once in awhile you need a plate of enchiladas...

I'm off to Min Quan Metro station and a walk over to the Florida Bakery.  They have corn tortillas, but it takes 2 days to get them in, they'll call me when they arrive.  Bummer!

So, Friday evening, if the typhoon does not arrive and the corn tortillas do, I'll be eating enchiladas for the first time, in wonderful TAIWAN.

Adios friends...  I hope you enjoyed the afternoon trip.

UPDATE One- 29 May 2011:  I put all of the ingredients together yesterday, rolled up 11 beautiful chicken enchiladas topped them with the remaining onions, sauce and cheese and into the oven they went @ 420f for 15 minutes....

They tasted as good as they look.  I was surprised.  The mixture of 3 different sauces gave them a wonderful flavor.  Write me for the sauce recipe.

Lesson learned, you can prepare your own enchiladas in Taipei!

It's Memorial Day today, I'll pop three of the left-overs into the microwave for lunch, as with most dishes, they'll probably taste better today than when the came out of the oven.

Adios friends.

1 comment:

titojohn said...

Kent, Thanks for taking us on your shopping trip. I can relate to looking for food items that ones really misses from home. :)

Have you tried Macho Tacos yet? The tacos and burrito pictures really look good.