The Spot: Bodega 420, Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
See Also: - Biltmore Union Farmers Market: What We Skipped and What We're Still Lusting Over - Jobot Owner Helps to Open New Market on Roosevelt: Think Fresh Veggies, Bulk Grains, Mexican Candy, and Hula Hoops - Aaron Chamberlin's Phoenix Public Market Café to Open Late Spring
What We Bought: Bodega 420 is a little different. For instance, its stock revolves around shoppers voting for what they'd like to see in the store. If you don't like the offerings, just blame fellow customers. Beside the smoke-shop aspect of the store, it's also got fresh produce and some essentials to get downtowners by between trips to Safeway, Trader Joe's, or the Saturday and Wednesday farmers markets.
We love the local Olive Leaf Tea Co. loose-leaf tea ($10) and the Fever Tree ginger beer ($1.75) in terms of thirst quenching. It's also a great place to pick up a pint of Crow's Dairy goat's milk any day of the week. Another definite plus is their bulk foods section, which is super-cheap and great for essentials like organic quinoa ($6/lb.), split peas ($2/lb.) and popcorn kernels ($3/lb.). Or if you've got a munchie emergency and need your popcorn right away, grab a bag of Popcorn Indiana ($2.25) in either kettle corn or sea salted varieties.
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What We Skipped: We feel like this doesn't need a ton of explanation -- Campbell's Pork & Beans, Vienna mini sausages, and Spam. There are probably a few Valley chefs who would scoff at our dismissal of canned meats, and, while we're sure they can make them into something fantastic, we're not so certain we could. Who voted these into the market anyway? Pass!
Also, we know the dream of the 1890s is alive in Portland and the hearts of many local hipsters, but no Necco wafers please. Some things were probably made better in the 19th century, but we think mass-produced candy has progressed since then.
What We're Still Lusting Over: While most of the fare at Bodega 420 is pretty common, we found one thing that we regret not picking up every day since and usually multiple times every year in general -- Girl Scout cookies. Calories be damned, we love a box of Samoas like a fat kid loves . . . a box of Samoas. Maybe we'll go back to Bodega 420 sometime soon to grab a box, if only that infernal RetroCade game wouldn't distract us with Ms. Pacman and Mario Bros. for the rest of the day.