I went out for a glass of wine with my colleague from the department last night. She divides her time between here and Oakland. We were talking about how Flag housing is as expensive as Oakland (OK, only almost as), and I said, it's not just the housing, it's the groceries. I cannot buy feta for less than $5.99/lb. If I do see it on sale, it's always that ridiculous kind with basil and tomatoes already somehow filtered in. My colleague said, that's true, when I come in from Oakland, I bring my groceries. When my friend came to camp, she brought pancetta, goat cheese, yogurt, all from Trader Joes. Her pancetta cost less there than store-brand bacon here. I don't even think there is pancetta here.
One can shop in Flag and find most things, it just takes a trip to three or four stores. If it's summer and you can include the farmer's market, then you can find most good things fresh. I shop at Safeway for Frosted MiniWheats and Fruit Roll Ups, Tillamook Cheese, boneless, skinless chicken thighs and butter, Randall's meat market for steaks and pork chops (he does have good bacon, but no pancetta), the store called the Farmer's Market for almonds and apricots, cheap herbs, tortillas, jalepenos and bell peppers, New Frontiers for fish and organic produce (when in season, it's not astronomically expensive), and the CSA/farmer's market for coffee and eggs and surprising vegetables and fruit.
It takes half my life to shop for groceries. And the Farmer's Market here? I have to say, meh. I bought carrots, melon, tomatoes and somehow spent $20. Talk about half my life. I mean half my paycheck. People call Wholefoods Whole Paycheck. They should call Flagstaff Whole Paycheck except that it's neither funny nor full of pun.
Anyway, the pain in the ass that is the grocery shopping in Flagstaff can be made up for in Flagstaff's commitment to concerts in the park. Free concerts where you can bring a blanket and a picnic and snack and hide your drinks for hours. There's a concert a week plus extra fun festivals downtown every other week.
For the picnic tonight I'm making tarragon chicken salad, something with leftover goat cheese, and a salad from Food and Wine. Oooh. I just found the Food and Wine salad--Summer Chopped Salad with Quick-pickled vegetables. It calls for 3 oz goat cheese. Done and done. The goat cheese was on sale at New Frontiers so I bought some. Call it serendipity.