By Carpe Salem “Finding Winston’s Cool”

(This was a post written on November 1 in honor of Dia de Los Muertos, aka “The Day of the Dead.” While that day has passed, we thought this post was too good – and too funny – to let it pass you by . Plus it offers some great scoop on a local grocery store you may not even know exists! Enjoy. – Katie)

Ok folks, today and tomorrow is Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead! If you read my previous post ( and any of my crazy facebook status/twitter updates), you know that I’ve been on the hunt for a mexican bakery so that I can buy some pan de los muertos (yep, you guessed it- bread of the dead). Bread of the dead is an important part when making your Day of the Dead altar (You make an altar in your house? Yep!). So, here’s the deal- Day of the Dead and the Christian tradition of All Saints fall very close to each other on the calendar (All Saints is Today, day of the dead is tomorrow), and they both serve a similar purpose- to honor, celebrate and remember those who have gone before us. Day of the Dead has a very beautiful, bright and colorful way of doing this (plus there’s great food involved which is always a plus).

Day of the dead altars vary from family to family, but each have some key components such as sugar skulls (calaveras), flowers (usually marigolds or chrysanthemums), food offerings (whatever that particular person’s favorite foods were), crazy fun-having skeletons….you get the idea! It’s a party, people! Click HERE or HERE to see some super cool examples of altars.

So, I needed some supplies, and a friend pointed me in the direction of the Compare Foods off of Silas Creek in Winston-Salem. Compare Foods is like a gigantic Hispanic grocery store, and it was overwhelmingly cool! I took a friend with me on this little adventure, and we had a blast (in fact we both agreed that we would be shopping there on a regular basis). People, you do not understand how much amazing stuff can be found here! First let’s start with the bakery- oh. my. god. For one thing it’s huge, and just as we got there, they were rolling out trays of freshly baked bread that smelled and looked amazing!! And-they had it!!! They had mini pan de los muertos!!! Score!

Pan de los muertos is shaped like little people(or skulls) and sprinkled with colorful sugar! Also, friend and I love elephant ears (you fancy folks call them palmiers). Basically, they are thin strips of pastry that are baked formed into ear like shapes with honey and sugar.They were gigantic and absolutely amazing. My jeans will be sorry I found them, but whatever-I’d like to meet the person who could walk away and not eat one of these (actually, no, I do not want to meet that person because clearly there’s a problem).

Oh, and the produce section!! Yes, I can stray from carbs from time to time (but, to be fair, I had to walk through it on my way to the bakery). It was amazing. First of all, .65 cent avocados (yes, I now scoff at Harris Teeter priced avocados), and all kinds of herbs, roots, etc. Also, they had a bunch of white coconuts which I had never seen before. Everything looked fresh and fabulous (I am not cheating on you locally grown organic vegetables, I know that you are better, but I am broke and sometimes must stray). Oh, and the cheese!! Huge refrigerated and fabulous looking cheese section (see pic) with all assortment of Mexican cheeses!

My friend was very excited to find Zote Saop (don’t worry I had never heard of it either). She swears that it will get anything out of anything (specifics are bad when it comes to stains-it’s all or nothing people). I of course needed an example, and she told about the unlucky meeting of her white duvet with some red colored dog vomit(never a good combination) -Zote Soap to the rescue!! Evidently said duvet cover came out looking brand new! Enough, I’m sold! Well, we did eventually find it and were so excited that we were taking pictures of it in the aisle- unsuspecting shoppers just trying to go down the cleaning supplies aisle were now stuck with the zote soap paparazzi. Well, it was only .49!! And, it came in white and pink-it did not designate the difference between the colors, so I got the pink one (might as well). I have not tried my Zote soap yet, but I’m sure one of my dogs will help me out with that sometime soon (Dogs, if you are reading this-don’t get any ideas).

So, let’s take stock here. Bread of the Dead-check. Elephant ear the size of my head-check. Zote Soap for all my stain disaster needs-check. Total-$1.95. What?!?! I have never in my life paid less than 2 bucks at the grocery store check out! But, there it was-$1.95. Seriously, I was about to grab the little cashier mic and yell out, “I love you Compare Foods”, but after the zote soap picture taking, I didn’t want to push my luck.

I bet you’re thinking, “hmmm, I wonder if she liked this place?”. I know, it’s hard to tell.

So, hopefully tomorrow my altar will be up and looking spiffy. Happy all saints/Dia de los Muertos to all you fine folks!

Have you been to Compare Foods in Winston-Salem? Tell us what you think!