The Vibe: Many hours before the Packers trounced the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV; before the insurmountable halftime show claimed yet another victim in the form of the Black Eyed Peas; before Christina Aguilera's wavering national anthem--I stood in line at the mecca of snack-supplying neighborhood grocery stores.
The Café: Sitting an easy walking distance from the Mount Baker rail station is the Mekong Rainier Supermarket (3400 Rainier Ave. S., 723-9641).
On the aisles sat bags of noodles and tofu, fruits from a spread of Asian countries, four varieties of yams, and sweet potatoes for 39 cents a pound. A man standing in front of me smiled over a thick packet of spareribs costing less than $10. Every six-pack of bottled beer was tagged $7.50--whether Vietnamese, Thai, or classic Corona.
But what I was really interested in were the bags and bags of international snack foods. I spent 15 minutes just trying to pick out a pork-rind flavor. And then I spotted the durian and coconut-flavored cookies.
Durian is famous as the creamy fruit covered by a giant, prickled skin that smells absolutely foul. Filipino friends swear by it. So of course I had to buy the cookies.
I was thrilled to have walked out with interesting snacks and beer at a bargain, but the real test came when I brought my haul to a Super Bowl gathering with an adorable blond toddler.
Turns out I needn't have worried. The durian cookies were sweet, with just a hint of something savory, or maybe tart. She spent most of the afternoon with one of them, or a pork rind, stuck in her tiny mouth while she kicked a miniature 49ers football.
March Madness is only a month away. Mount Baker rail riders, take note.