Mexico on Argyll

Michael works near a little shop called Argyll Foods at 9984 63 Ave NW in Edmonton. It has been your usual little corner shop until recently. In December, it was purchased by Carlos and Bernardo, who are from Mexico.

Michael had brought us home a strange sweet called a Pulparindo from this store. It’s not like anything I’ve had. The base is tamarind. It’s chewy. It’s starts off salty. You chew into sweet, and finish off with a kick of heat.

Having never been to Mexico, or exposed to anything genuinely Latino (a visit to Tijuana, an Old El Paso Taco kit, and shots of tequila don’t count), I was interested in what else they had in this store.  I asked Michael to describe the stuff they had, and Michael replied, as most men will, with descriptions like “those flat bread things”, and “pop” and “flour” and “that candy”. I tried to interview Michael further, but decided the best thing to do was get in the car and go for a visit.

When I arrived, Bernardo was outside scraping the ice and snow off the front walk. We introduced ourselves, and I was happily taken into the store for a tour. My first observation was that it was the cleanest corner shop I have ever been in. The stuff on the shelves were lined up neatly and the floor spotless considering the muck outside.

We had a nice visit Bernardo and I. He was generous with his time, and patient with my questions. Bernardo is from Mexico City. He was a flight attendant with Aero Mexico for 16 years, and I deduce that is where he learned his excellent customer service skills and developed his charm. Bernardo spent time pointing out the different salsas, beans, sugar, chilis (both dried and canned), tamales, corn masa mix, drinking chocolate, candies, tostados, fruit concentrates to dilute in jugs of fresh water, and cheese. This is the just the beginning, soon he and Carlos will be bringing in many other Mexican products, including magazines and, what I can’t wait for, is coffee!

There were a few items that grabbed my attention, but mostly a brown cane sugar. I inquired how it would be used, and Bernardo explained one way is to break off a piece of the sugar and put it in your coffee with a cinnamon stick. My photo of it didn’t turn out, so you will have visualize it. Think of a hockey puck in a rich caramel brown. The drinking chocolate, which Bernardo explains smells of Mexico to him, smells heavenly. Through the box, you get a delicious chocolate aroma and the hint of cinnamon and cloves. I couldn’t resist it, and had to buy it. In fact, I took home two bags worth of stuff to try. You can see my haul in the picture. Now, the challenge is to put this together into something that resembles supper, and hopefully in the shape and taste of something a Mexican would recognize. We already tried the tin of guanabana nector with a splash of rum. It was devine.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. C Walsh says:

    Ay carumba! Michael and I did a lot of dragon fire breathing, mouth fanning, gasps and gulps with some of the chilis we tried. I thought I was a tough cookie when it came to heat. I'm a lightweight.Dinner was delicious – tostados, refried beans, cheese, chili, etc. although I'm not sure if the presentation was authentic. I also tried the chocolate, and was nicely surprised at the mix of chocolate, cinnamon and clove. It was yummy and puts a nice twist on a hot beverage to take to the ice rink.

  2. Charlotte says:

    love it!! what 'spice' (couldn't help it with the talk of chilis!) it adds to the tale to include tidbits about Bernardo and the pictures…great post! 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    Muchas felicidades chicos que buena onda su supercito, all the luck of the world, que vendan miles de productos, yo se que estando lejos de su pais extrañan todas esas cosas, many kisses and embraces for all those who want them, los extraño!!!Eduardo Padilla Beltran

  4. Anonymous says:

    hey! what a nice surprise Berny!! thank you for the store because now we have a place to go and shop the real Mexican products hehe! anyway hope to see you soon at the store…I love the Sangria by the way, but they are gone hehe! please order more for me!!! hahahaha!Jose Armando Ortega.

  5. Jesus Nunez says:

    What a nice surprise to see such a good article! …I'm glad to tell Edmonton people that they just got themselves a very nice person with a great idea of selling real Mexican food. Congratulations Berny, you know how much we all miss you!

  6. habanerogal says:

    If only I read your posts in chronological order I would not have needed to ask the question about the Oaxaca cheese. Duh ! Always great to find a new ethnic food shop especially Mexican !

  7. Maria Valencia Gustafson says:

    Hola muchachos, me da gusto saber que cada vez mas y mas los conocen en Alberta, su tienda tiene todo lo nesesario para hacer deliciosas comidas mexicanas, o para ese antojo, ultimamente no he podido ir pero pronto lo hare, para comprar jarritos de todos sabores especialmente de tamarindo y jamaica, tengo muchas ganas de probar sus tortas tambien, que tienen un olor que dice todo, huelen riquismo, tienen tambien tarjetas para llamar a mexico de las que me gustan que rinde mucho tiempo para llamar , a un excelente precio, al mismo tiempo puedo mandar dinero a mi hija, wow!!!! todo en un mismo lugar y si le agregamos ese excelente servicio, amabilidad,y don de gentes que tienen , tienen un trato maravilloso a todo aquel que los visita, Dios les siga bendiciendo abundantemente chicos se lo merecen, hasta pronto!!!!

  8. Walsh Cooks says:

    Hi Maria!

    We’ve shared your kind comments with Bernardo and Carlos. They will be very pleased. Thank you.

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