Even though I’ve worked as a chef, food shopping is right up there with cleaning the toilet. To get through it, I’d invite friends along hoping they’d distract me from the onerous chore and I could get in and out quickly. It worked….too well. My friends were so successful that I usually forgot what I wanted to buy and had to drive back to the store to pick up one or two items.
I really needed to change my attitude because it was costing me too much time in return trips, so I started Actively Shopping. Active shopping is simply using your bike or feet to travel to and from the store. Anyone can do it and I guarantee shopping will not be draining, boring or time sapping. All you need is a pair of feet to walk or a bike to roll. You also need to have something that will carry eggs, maple syrup or even a watermelon. Shopping suddenly became more enjoyable, less stressful and I didn’t forget anything. It was the end of wasted time and return trips.
My Saturday began with shopping at Silverlake’s Farmers’ Market. I had to walk my dog, so I made a side trip with Karma my Tibetan Terrier. I managed to buy all of my produce before 9am, worked off some calories and Karma did her business. Three errands down within an hour.
I had a craving for salmon, which meant a trip downtown to Restaurant Depot. I’ve done this trip several times before on my bike and it’s around seven miles. To make things interesting I decided to check out the new bike lanes on 7th street and try out the lanes on Rampart.
The lanes on Rampart went further than I expected. Usually LA DOT does the minimal like painting a bike lane for three blocks and it connects to nothing. They didn’t skimp this time – I rode nearly to 6th street before the lanes ended.
That’s where I became confused.
I made a left onto 7th…no bike lanes. What happened to the bike lanes? I was suddenly in traffic lanes with cars travelling at freeway speeds. The road was the typically neglected LA street and there were no bike lanes even as I rode into downtown. The street ended at Grand and that was when I realized that I was on Wilshire – one of the most miserable boulevards in the City. I finally rode a few blocks onto 7th. The redesign is better than fighting for space with aggressive drivers.
After riding in 80 degree temps for 40 minutes, I was inside what has to be the largest store cooler in Los Angeles – Restaurant Depot’s cold room.
After buying 5 ½ pounds of salmon, I decided to visit my sister in the Toy district. It’s only two miles away. The Toy district is one of the early gentrified areas of downtown. The Toy and Biscuit Lofts are one of the few lofts where they’re owned by residents and not leased. Urban Radish, a new upscale grocery store, recently moved into the hood.
There’s no bike parking because most everyone arrives by car. Some people walk from the neighboring lofts, but I saw most leave the shop and hop in a car.
I couldn’t afford to keep a car and shop at this place. $6.75 for roasted kale?! I asked the manager if they planned to have bike parking. Her eyes widened and she said, “Probably next week.” Then she turned and practically ran away. No, I didn’t understand that one either.
I planned to ride back to Silverlake and check out the new lanes through the 2nd street tunnel, but the salmon won out (I couldn’t let it spoil), so I rode another mile to Union Station instead.
I met a guy on the train who was from Paris. He’d borrowed a friend’s bike to get around LA just like he did in Paris.
Once I started using active shopping I could shop, sight see and get exercise. I felt relaxed and stress free as I rode up the hill to my apartment on my bike with a basket full of salmon.
The new sexy vegetable is kale. Every high end restaurant, pseudo-nutritionist and farmers’ market touts it as the hot new vegetable that protects us from cancer and our heart from arterial disease, while at the same time maintaining our waistline. Instead of succumbing to the hype and paying $6.75 for roasted kale, you can make the same thing at home from a bunch of kale costing $1.
What you need is 1 bunch of kale
Seasoning of your choice
The first thing you must do is soak kale to remove the sand. You may have to soak it several times by draining the water and filling up the sink to it soak again.
Then spin it dry with a salad spinner. Wrap it in paper towels and put it in the refrigerator for 1 day to dry completely.
Spread kale on a sheet pan and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle with your seasoning of choice. I chose hot curry. Sprinkle salt to taste and then mix the kale leaves with your hands to ensure that the oil, seasoning and salt covers each leaf. Set in a preheated oven at 325 degrees and bake until crispy. That’s it.