Friday, October 28, 2011

Tonight's Menu Will Be . . .

...Ancho Chili-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Fennel.

The highly-attractive and functional Mrs Elliott and I will be tackling this recipe tonight.

It took me a bit of searching to find ancho chili powder. Struck out at the first two markets I tried. Drove to La Colima, the Mexican food store near the corner of Greenwood & 3rd. Looked around a bit at the spices, didn't see any ancho.

There was a tiny Latina stocking the shelf nearby.

"Necesito chile ancho molido," I said to her.

"Chile ancho molido!" she said cheerfully, and pointed to a bag of guajillo chili powder on the rack.

"Guajillo," I said. "Es lo mismo de ancho?"

"Si," she said, said seriously.

Not entirely convinced. "Es verdad?"

"Si, si, es lo mismo! Es ancho!"

Okay, well, what the heck. Maybe a regional difference. Besides, 99 cents ... a smaller amount of the same spice at Newport Market would have cost over two bucks. At Whole Foods it would have been $5 for a bottle, but it would be organically raised and fair traded, I'm sure.

I got the bag and wandered around the store to see what else they had. Found Diet Coke in a can. Do you know how hard it is to find a single, chilled, 12 oz can of Coke these days? All your Kwik-e-Marts sell anymore are the larger 16 oz Cokes in a plastic bottle. I don't like plastic bottles, they don't seem to keep the drink as cold as an aluminum can (probably not true but it feels that way), are probably laden with something horrible like BPA, and 16 oz is more than I care to drink at a sitting.

80 cents. Score!

The nice lady at the cash register asked if I needed a bag.

"Necesita bolsa?"

"No, gracias."

My Spanish exhausted, I got out of the shop for $1.79,  drove home, and checked the Google to see if guajillo chilies were the same as ancho chilies. Turns out that they are not exactly the same, but the two are often used in tandem in many traditional dishes. I'm sure it'll be tasty.


  1. When did you start drinking Coke, Jack?

    Re your Spanish: It's far more extensive than mine. One time a few years ago we were staying at a motel and I wanted to tell the chambermaid we had left our dog in the room. The best I could come up with was: "Ich habe el perro en la casa." A bizarre, ugly combination of German and bastardized Spanish.

    Amazingly, she understood me.

  2. There's a new spice place at the Old Mill, The Savory Spice Shop. Best go there soon as I predict it won't be around all that long. Too specialized. Not unlike the SNL skit a few years back about the store that only sold Scotch Tape. Huh?

  3. HBM: Great word salad! I, too, tend to build my sentences with words in the same manner as they would be in English. I drink the occasional diet Coke, nice on a hot day, but it must be out of a can.

    Anonymous: When in Seattle I found a Penzy's Spices one block from our hotel and picked up some barbecue rubs, but I haven't checked out the spice shop at the Old Mill yet. Didn't even think of it. Like you, I have a feeling they are too niche-y to stay in business long. The rents there must be extraordinary. I'll wager that a small bottle or bag of ancho chili powder costs more than a buck there.


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