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Another Hungry Mouth to Feed in Progreso

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We live at the beach and work in a funky little port town. While Merida is cool and cosmopolitan, and capable of satisfying almost every base consumer desire, out here you have to be craftier. If you’re looking for random foodstuffs from home, such as Skippy peanut butter, Almond Joy bars, Heinz cocktail sauce, Chunky New England style clam chowder, Uncle Ben’s rice, and Taste of Thai meals, go to El Paso, located on Calle 29 across the street from the (kick ass) plastic store. They also sell frozen turkeys for the holidays and have a small wine and liquor selection.

The grocery store San Fransisco de Assis on Calle 80 is best for dry goods. They also boast a small section of interesting spices and blended oils. For a time we were able to find Uprising frozen pizza there, though lately it has been noticeably (likely only by us) absent.

Speaking of pizza, Progreso has at least three options for you, and all do delivery. There is a Dominos on Calle 80 that is, if nothing else, consistent. If one large with two topping for 150 pesos seems a little expensive, go on Tuesday nights when pizzas are two for the price of one. The ubiquitous chain Pizza Messina’s has an outpost here, or you could try Mr. Pizza way out on Calle 31. Both offer thin crust pizza, with a brownish tomato sauce and weird cheese.

For vegetables and fruits, sneak between the stores and past the licuado stand on Calle 27 and you’ll find a small but serviceable farmer’s market. Everything seems to cost 10 pesos, so have your pieces ready. I like the red apples, green beans, bag of spices, and pineapple, though I prefer the miniature honey pineapple you can buy at Bodega Aurrera (aka The Best Little Fruit in the Whole Darn World).

Bodega Aurrera is the bare bones Walmart store in Progreso, and the market we use most often out here at the beach. There are days when the produce is awful and others when I am so grateful for white mushrooms, romaine lettuce and red peppers. Their bakery bread is good enough and you can buy San Rafael ham and turkey at the deli. We have also become closet fans of their prepared chicken fingers. Again, Bodega Aurrera is a rather humble supermarket, but is totally okay for simple shelf stable staples. You also cannot argue with their mascot Mama Lucha, who fights for low prices for her family, nor with the atmosphere outside on weekends when the grill is going and sexy girls promote whatever.

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Unless you really endeavor to change your palate, you won’t be satisfied without a weekly trip to the better markets in Merida for the truly great Luripak Danish butter, herbs, cheeses, fresh milk, quality meat and fun stuff like ravioli, Carr’s crackers and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. It may take multiple trips and a little ingenuity, but most any American can make do with the food you find in the stalls and stores on the Gulf coast.

I am happy to report that I just discovered a very small vegetable market in the arcade beside the collectivo stop in Chelem, where I plan to shop for locally grown on my days off. Check that out for Roatan bananas, onions, tomatoes, chilis, etc. It’s lovely to meet your neighbors and savor fruit and flowers kissed by the Yucatan sun.

There Are 6 Responses So Far. »

  1. OH MY GOD!! Luripak Danish Butter, the best butter ever invented. I have had a year long struggle with rancid, dark yellow butter here in NZ until I saw the Luripak beacon on the chilly shelf, all hail to it’s gloriously pale, normal colour and delicious “I just want to lick it off my fingers” taste. How did the Danes know we had such a need in these lands?

  2. I have found Luripak Danish Butter at the El Paso in Progreso. If you like pizza, stay away from Mr Pizza on Calle 31. They have the worst tasting they’ve added sugar to the max. Awful. But for a great hamburger, go further east on Calle 31 and across the street look for a place called Benny’s Burgers. He has a hamburger shaped placed with some benches and tables out in front and opens at 8:00 p.m. except for Wednesday nights. The burgers are great and range in single to triple patty sizes. They won’t set you back an arm and a leg like Burger King. A burger comes with a side of fries added at no extra cost.

  3. I have to agree with you on the Mr. Pizza front. That weird brown slurry on that pizza is, I don’t think, even tomato-based. Jillian and I split on Benny’s Burgers. We both got a little sick there once. For her, this means never returning; for me, not so much.

  4. I dont know when you guys had Mr. Pizza, but I just got back from Progresso and It was amazing!!!!

  5. No, no it wasn’t. I’m sorry. Thanks for writing!

  6. Umm, no, Alvaro. We ate at Mr Pizza in December, and while it wasn’t completely disgusting, it wasn’t in any way amazing. In fact, it was terrible. We will never go back.

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