You pull up to an empty parking lot, sprinkle 5 cars, and that’s it. Pick your spot. In the shade? In the front? No problem. Then you walk into the store and everything looks untouched. You know this is something unheard of. The platform of strawberries look beautiful, no boxes removed (yet) and you get your first choice.
And this is when it happened: the CM employee asked me if I wanted a fruit sample. He told me they just got the shipment of these fruits last night. He’d never heard of them before and he offered to cut it open right there and let me have a taste. Of course I said yes. I bought a saucer nectarine by recommendation too. “This is nice,” I thought, how could it get any better?
More emptiness in the store…well, everyone else I walked by was an employee, either decorating for the Hatch Chile Festival or checking inventory or restocking. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so much space and time on my hands…so I smelled everything and anything I had been curious about before but was too embarrassed to do in front of others. (So do that next time.)
Anthony Bourdain said in his book Kitchen Confidential, “Bread is the staff of life.” That is fact. And if you come early, you will never have to choose between two measly loaves. You will have a variety of choices and the whole entire bakery section smells divine. Bread is the staff of life.
Now you already know if it’s empty, there will be no line to pay. That should be the deal-maker right there. I was the first person in my line. I didn’t have to switch lines while I waited thinking it would be shorter, I didn’t have my friend come with me and make them wait in a “back-up” line, I didn’t have to wait in the inevitable long line because everyone decided to come shop (we’ve all been there). I was the first person and it took about 1 min to wait and pay.
As I’m sitting here typing, I’m enjoying my fresh Hatch Chile muffin (hatch chiles are in season and they are all the rage in Texas) and my Wild Berry tea that smelled so good I had to buy it, I’m telling you: 8AM is not a nightmare of a time to wake up if you’ve got a thing for fresh bread and first-choice fruit.