adventures in grocery land

Next week we’re having an event for our fellow innkeepers at our place, and I’d like to offer something non-alcoholic to drink but still festive.  I’ve been wanting to try making horchata, a refreshing rice drink, ever since the Albuquerque Journal had an article on agua frescas in the food section last year.

Obviously, the three recipes they published are made in the traditional method, using agave nectar as the sweetener.

On Saturday, it went something like this:

him:  “Hey, they have agave nectar here [at Trader Joe’s].  Want me to get some?”

me:  “No, that’s okay.  I have to get some other stuff at Pro’s Ranch Market–I’m sure they’ll have it.  I’ll just get it there.”

At Pro’s Ranch Market, I found everything I needed except the agave nectar.  Was it with the juices?  No.  Soft drinks?  No.  Specialty foods?  No.

I saw two store employees who looked kind of manager-like, so I went over and asked them if they had agave nectar.  A conversation in Spanish ensued (between them, not me), after which they determined they didn’t have it canned, but they have fresh agave in the produce section.

“Well, that could be interesting.  I don’t have the slightest idea how to pick a ripe one, or how to cut it, or how to use it.  Sounds like an experiment to me.”  And off I went to the produce aisle.

Up and down the aisles I went, looking at every kind of fruit and vegetable I knew and quite a few I didn’t know, but none of them said “agave.”

I went over and asked a produce guy where to find agave.  He spoke no English.  Between his non-English and my little Spanish, he told me to look in aisle 7.  I walked over to aisle 7 to find…  automotive accessories and office supplies.

Once I figure out how much sugar syrup to use, I’ll post the horchata recipe here.