This is the time of year when folks in Phoenix head for cooler pastures, and it's time to travel the world if you can. But, if your vacation this summer is a staycation, you can still feed your inner globetrotter by heading to India, Africa, and Russia -- via several of the Valley's interesting ethnic grocers.
Today's Favorite Ethnic Market: Yasha From Russia
Yasha From Russia 10240 N 32nd St Phoenix, AZ 85028 (602) 347-6055
Russia is famous for its frozen winters - and who in Phoenix isn't dreaming about just a touch of that snow-kissed goodness this time of year? Yasha and Tanya have brought a king's ransom of goods from the mother country for hungry Phoenicians, although sadly that doesn't appear to include snow.
Thankfully candy is a powerful mood elevator, and it's here in spades. Loads of Russian chocolates, sweet treats, and a shocking array of caramels, stacked in baskets, that would tempt the most ardent dieter. Tipplers rejoice, too -- there are aisles of wines and spirits, including an adorable wine in a bottle shaped like a bunny.
The bright, cheerful store is stocked with pickles, pickled vegetables, and loads of borscht that'll come in handy when it's not so toasty. Nothing like a warm, steaming soup to chase away the chills, but that will have to wait. Ample bread selections include beautiful rustic ryes and bags of small, crunchy bagel treats.
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Sausages, pork, bacon, and salami, all lined up in a deli case, begs to be sampled. Creamy cheeses pressed up against the glass tempt shoppers to take home a chunk. As for caviar, there's a nice selection of the Russian delicacy that won't all break the bank, with several around $30 a pound (a steal).
So there's no snow. That's alright. It's actually the warmth of Tanya's smile that gets us back here anyway.