HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >


Durham Ingredient/Tool shopping help, please?

I'm shopping for a Mexican dinner to be held on Sunday, and could use some pointers as to where best to look for a few things. I will need to pick these up either late this afternoon (after 6:00), first thing Saturday morning (before 10:00), late Saturday afternoon (after 5:00), or anytime Sunday before 6:00. I'd strongly prefer to stick to Durham. If some of these should be available at any old Food Lion, or such, please pardon my ignorance and tell me so.

fresh epazote leaves
dried pasilla chiles
ancho chiles

a whole, cleaned and scaled fish - snapper, grouper, striped bass or such

And, where does one look for bar supplies like a muddler, extra-fine (super-fine?) sugar, bitters, vermouth? (Can you get vermouth in a small bottle?)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would recommend the Mexican restaurant across from Church's on Roxboro Road or Compare Foods on University.

    1. Alision-

      Check out Compar Foods on Atlantic Ave in Raleigh. The chiles are in the Produce and the epazote leaves are in the aisle across from jelly. Get a taco at the tacqureia inside - they're tasty. There's a Compar Foods in Durham, too.

      I get bar supplies at the Teeter. When I was in the Dominican Republic last week, the bartender was using a bitters bottle as a muddler, so you don't need to buy one specifically.

      Compar Foods has the fish, too, but I've not bought them there because I don't speak Spanish well enough. The giant Asian market in Cary has nice fish too.

      Now that I've fully read your post, here's the bottom line. Any Hispanic store in Durham should have what you want.

      1. I recommend you go to Galaxy supermarket on University Drive to get your Mexican dinner ingredients. Then go across the street to Capital Seafood to get your whole, cleaned fish. One suggestion, while at Galaxy go to the frozzen food cases and look for packages of various frozen tropical fruit pulp like mango, guava, and guanabana. These frozen pulps mixed with some rum or vodka make wicked cocktails.

        For your bar stuff there is an ABC liquor store on the access road to 15-501 after it forks off from University Dr.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bbqme

          I could be wrong or it may be a county by county difference but IIRC Orange ABCs sell neither vermouth and bitters nor bar tools like a muddler.

          You can find all 3 in most grocery stores, I'd look wherever you go to get the sugar/fish.

          1. re: brokegradstudent

            I've purchased vermouth at ABC stores. Not sure about muddler or bitters.

            1. re: brokegradstudent

              ABC's are a county by county thing. They're almost a store by store thing. You can't buy individual airline bottles in Wake but I believe you can in Durham. Some stores have better selecitons of brown liquors, others have a better selection of "exotic" items. It helps to ask the store clerk. Some know who carries what.

            2. re: bbqme

              excellent tip on the frozen pulp. I like the guanabana(soursop) with any gin based drink

            3. I'd go to the Galaxy on University, too. Vermouth and bitters can be found at the Teeter. If you can't find superfine sugar, you can food process regular sugar. I muddle with a wooden spoon. Works.

              1. Thanks, all! Galaxy sounds like the most convenient place to find everything I need, then head across the street for the fish.

                Thanks again.

                1. Reporting back: Galaxy had all the stuff I was worried I might not find in my Food Lion - especially the "epazote", considering I had no idea what that was! The guy working in produce was very helpful.

                  I got a whole grouper from Capital Seafood, the people there were also very friendly and helpful, and the fish was a big hit at the dinner.

                  I had not asked about, but found morels easily at Whole Foods - holy crap those are expensive!!

                  None of the grocery stores that I visited had a muddler. The hostess had a mocajeto, though, so we got the job done. I still want one (a muddler) for my own "bar", but will simply keep an eye out. I found bitters at pretty much every grocery store, found a huge bag of x-fine granulated sugar, so opted for making a simple syrup instead. And, I still wonder whether it's possible to get a small bottle of vermouth. It would take me years and years to finish those big ones!

                  Anyway, thanks for all the help, and for saving me from running around like a chicken with my head cut off all weekend.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: abowes

                      To buy a muddler go to University Mall in Chapel Hill and look in the utensil section of Southern Season or the store Kitchenworks there. Both carry muddlers.

                      And thanks for reporting back. I hate it when I spend the time to give somebody advice and then don't hear back from them.

                    2. Galaxy Foods on University Drive (near the junction with Duke St.) is more than likely to sell what you need. I visited the grocery store about a month ago on a Saturday morning and they sold Latino food items I'd never seen before as well as selling lots of Latino produce in bulk like chilies (OK, fresh and dried). I bought some limes but they were rubbish. They must have been old (but didn't appear that way) because they yielded no juice when I squeezed them.

                      As for fish, you may find that at the fish market, Capital Seafood, that's almost opposite, on the other side of the road on University Drive.

                      I've bought vermouth (Noilly Prat) at the grocery store. I think you'll find bitters there too. I've never seen vermouth in a small bottle but when you start to make drinks for a group, you'll find that you use up a regular size bottle pretty quickly.

                      Update: just noticed the replies and saw that the OP found what she wanted. Oh well...