As you plan your summer excursions, consider that assembling picnic supplies can be an adventure in itself. For example, your visit to the extraordinary Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton can be an excuse to stop in and stock up at Vicente’s Tropical Supermarket, a locally-owned, full-sized grocery store. Vicente’s serves a broad clientele the mainstream of which is Cape Verdean, with strong currents from Brazil, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Haiti.
Shop the store before putting together a truly unusual ‘to-go’ meal from the extensive lunch counter—a freshly-cooked savory array from traditions that could perhaps be described as eclectic tropical Atlantic. First, hit the produce section to ogle the fruits and tubers and perhaps acquire a huge papaya or a four-foot-long fresh sugar cane for the ride. Peruse the aisles for hard-to-find items like isinglass and kola nuts, shop Vicente’s tremendous array of dried corn and beans, and select from every form of processed coconut known to humanity. (Sure, Jamaican margarine can be no more edible than the usual junk, but it is more, well, interesting!) And, wow! A full-service meat and fish counter, featuring live butchers and fish-cutters, both endangered species at many supermarkets today.
Vicente’s Tropical Supermarket
160 Pleasant Street
Brockton, MA 02301
fb: Vicente’s Supermarket
Headed to the South Coast? Let’s say you need a picnic for a day at Horseneck Beach. Try Portugalia Marketplace, a stylish addition to the already rich Portuguese market cohort in our region. Just a couple blocks from Fall River’s City Hall, in a repurposed mill building, this terrific emporium redefines the “ethnic grocery store” using a Whole Foods aesthetic, but, happily, the result is anything but generic. The focus remains pointedly Portuguese—a vast and unfailingly interesting wine section, a great selection of cheeses and cured meats cut to order, and—wonder of wonders—a huge, glassed-in, salt-cod mega-counter. Plus, a housewares aisle just packed with gorgeously utilitarian ceramic and cast iron cookware. Best of all, a knowledgeable, friendly staff, willing to guide you through unfamiliar wine territory, explain the difference between the 6-month and 9-month Sao Jorge cheeses, and expound upon the Norwegian versus the Canadian bacalhau.
489 Bedford Street
Fall River, MA 02723
by…Paula Marcoux hates shopping unless it has very high entertainment value.