Mi Pueblo, which translates to “My Town,” makes grocery shopping an adventure.
I love going to this Hispanic supermarket on Green Springs in Homewood! Not just Hispanic, though, it’s really a multicultural place with foods from all over the world. You’ll recognize products from the United States, and you can get to know other things from Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Jamaica, India, Puerto Rico and Columbia. The many colorful flags that fly on the top of the building are a clue to the cultures represented inside.
With more than 44,000 square feet, I believe this is the largest Hispanic grocery store in Alabama (the Mi Pueblo location at 3060 Pelham Parkway is close, with 43,200 square feet).
Grocery items are displayed in fun and clever ways. There’s a little restaurant in the back serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; eat in at the buffet, or get your food to go. The meat department sells everything from fresh chicken to long, crisp slices chicharrón (fried pork rinds) to beef for fajitas and steaks for grilling and all sorts of seafood. A good number of items are already cooked for you. A little stand near the front of the store has its own special sweet and savory things including elotes (Mexican street corn). The bakery offers handmade tortillas in addition to beautiful cakes and other sweet treats like pan dulce (sweet bread). And the dairy area has items from all over Central and South America and beyond. Get your authentic Cotija and queso fresco and queso Oaxaca and crema in these cold cases.
Here are a few of my favorite things at Mi Pueblo:
The fruits and veggies are fresh and very reasonably priced. I love listening to the Mexican pop tunes or mariachi music in this colorful space. Sometimes they turn the music up really loud!
The dried peppers (just look at all of them!) smell and feel and are fresher than what you get in a bag. (It takes very little time soaking in hot water to soften them up.)
Fresh baked items include pillowy doughnuts and, of course, churros.
So many different kinds of Fabuloso! My favorite is the lavender scent. Pick whichever one you like. Your house will smell … fabulous.
There are quality Asian foods at Mi Pueblo, too.
There are shelves and shelves of religious candles with images of many saints. Our Lady of Guadalupe is represented, of course, and so are dozens of others.
The produce section is a happy place with colorful murals above neatly stacked fruits and vegetables and other things like giant cactus leaves.
Dried spices are inexpensive at Mi Pueblo. You’ll find just about everything you’ll need here and some things you didn’t know you needed.
There are lots of different flavors of Takis as well as other chips and snacks not often seen in other grocery stores.
Quick dinner or potluck contribution? Get a few pounds of the tender, juicy, slow-cooked carnitas from the meat department in the back of the store, add some Cotija cheese from the dairy section, fresh salsa from the restaurant, white onion and cilantro from the produce area and handmade tortillas from the bakery. Done and done.
What’s better than spicy candy? Spicy candy in the shape of corn.
The buffet is filled with all sorts of delicious things. Grab some friends, and meet for lunch.
And, finally, there’s this: fruit in a cup. Thick, fresh slices of pineapple, mango, jicama, cucumber, papaya, cantaloupe and watermelon (or you can choose your own combination). Make sure to get your fruit topped with everything: Tajin (chile lime seasoning that you’ll want in your own pantry), sweet and spicy chamoy and a drizzle of hot sauce in addition to the freshly squeezed lime juice. I never leave Mi Pueblo without my fruit in a cup.
Mi Pueblo Supermarket
216 Green Springs Highway
Homewood, AL 35209
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Here’s an easy and tasty reason to visit Mi Pueblo:
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Take two pounds of fresh tomatillos (husked and rinsed well), and place them on a baking sheet with four cloves of garlic (unpeeled) and three to five fresh chili peppers (I use serrano chilies these days because I know they are hot; seed all or half of them if you want less heat). Roast all this under a broiler, turning once until the tomatillos are softened and everything is lightly charred.
Let this stuff cool, peel the garlic and put the tomatillos, garlic and peppers into a food processor along with half a cup or so of cilantro leaves and stems. (Add about a quarter cup of roughly chopped white onion if you want). Pulse until blended to your desired consistency. Remove from food processor, squeeze in a little lime juice. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add more lime juice if you want. Chill until ready to serve.