Several people have mentioned Lupe Pintos since I first blogged about missing chocolate chips, back in the fall. I don't know why it's taken me six months and a personal chaperone (thanks, Fiona!) to get there. It's probably because it's on the south side of town, and I live on the North side. Once I gave up my bus pass, I stopped traveling further south than the Castle. Stockbridge is idyllic, and it's easy to get sucked into village life.
As for Lupe Pintos, it's worth the trip if you're an American living in Edinburgh feeling a bit homesick. The owner must get similar reactions daily. I can't tell you how many times one of us exclaimed, "Look! Look what they have!" whilst grabbing some processed jar of crap that we would never have touched in a Kroger. Example: Smucker's Goober, that icky invention that includes both peanut butter AND jelly, you know, to save you time. MereD's family always had a jar of this strange striped "food," and I remember commenting that it must be the laziest invention ever. I guess I've always been a food snob. Somehow, though, it was exciting to see it in a European grocery. But, oh, what they must think of the American diet...
To be honest, many of those products that made us homesick are unnecessary time-savers. Like Aunt Jemima pancake mix -- you know, for when you can't be bothered to mix a little flour, water, milk, and baking powder together. I mean, of all things to make from scratch, pancakes have got to be among the easiest. Even chocolate chips (they had Nestle TollHouse Chocolate Chips!!) seem kind of like pre-chopped chocolate for lazy Americans (like me). Although, to be fair, it's the only semi-sweet chocolate I've seen over here, and sometimes dark chocolate doesn't cut it in cookies.
This little store -- about 1/8 the size of a New York corner deli -- was packed with specialty imports from various countries, but the owner sure did order the right things and name brands to make American ex-pats oooh and ahhh. A quick list: proper tortillas, tortilla chips, ranch dressing, jell-o, Jif peanut butter, Hershey's chocolate syrup, Hershey's chocolate bars, reese's cups, Libby's canned pumpkin, French's mustard, Ro-tel (but no velveeta), Butterfingers, and A&W root beer.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure Fiona got some kickbacks for bringing two homesick Americans into the store. We walked away with a couple of Lone Stars and some sriracha sauce, but now we know where to go when David runs out of Hidden Valley.