Most Vons I've been to in L.A. are pretty pedestrian affairs. Stark fluorescent lighting, standard, Middle-America layout and selection: the Ford Taurus of grocery-shopping experience.
But there's something going on at the Vons in Eagle Rock, at La Loma and Figueroa. You walk into the warm, subdued light of the produce section. Everything is mood lighting and smooth jazz; the floor is an "aged" wide-plank natural wood, with a rustic stain; mist rolls down seductively over the Chinese parsley and the Romaine lettuce. Young, hip thirty-somethings linger at the organic section, fondling Asian pears.
I've been working on my repertoire of, ahem, pasta. Last week was Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (you really must follow the link if you don't know what that means). This week it was a tomato-less sauce with red bell peppers, many many cloves of garlic, a healthy dose of onions the recipe didn't call for but I figured couldn't hurt, some parsley, some red pepper flakes, capers, and olives. I try to work capers and olives into most of my sauces if I can.
Cooking pasta, as you all know, is easy as pie, and sometimes satisfying -- especially if you're making your own sauce. The entire process is full of pleasure from me: from picking an easy meatless recipe out of the Easy Italian Recipes cookbook I picked up for Mrs. Octopus at the Glastonbury Public Library annual book sale in 2001, the short 1-minute drive to the Vons, donning my Ipod as I walk into the store, and wheeling through the sexy produce section.
The other week, my Ipod was on shuffle mode on the "Hip Hop/Rap" genre; I was bobbing along to "Microphone Fiend" and "You Know I Gotcha Open" as I perused the selection of heirloom tomatoes. Later, at check-out, in the middle of "Clones", I took off my headphones, swiped my Vons card, and saved $10.35. That's how I roll.
Such is my place in life at this point in history.