I had hours to kill before work today, so I was driving to Ba Le on Mills for a delicious banh mi (Vietnamese sub) for dinner tonight. Turning onto Mills from Colonial, I remembered The British Shoppe on Mills, which I keep meaning to check out. I stopped in there and met Barbara, who was extremely friendly and helpful. I picked up three unfamiliar flavors of Walker's crisps and a can of haggis, which I've always meant to try but never had a chance to. I was pleased to see they had a whole freezer case of things like pasties, black and white puddings, bangers, scotch eggs, Irish bacon, and more. I would definitely recommend The British Shoppe to anyone who wants some treats from "across the pond." This is their website: http://www.thebritishshoppe.com/
Okay, next stop: banh mi! Except it wasn't. Directly next door to The British Shoppe on Mills was a new sign I had never seen before: International Market & Deli. The windows were completely covered with mural-like artwork depicting Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries. Could it be... a new Eastern European grocery store in one of Orlando's most exciting and multicultural neighborhoods? YES!
The place was huge, clean, and full of exotic delicacies from around Europe: lots of jarred and canned pickled vegetables, fresh baked goods, candy and sweets, a vast selection of beer and wine, a deli case full of meats, cheeses, and prepared foods, and wide varieties of fish and dairy products as well. The proprietor, Sofie (or Sophie?) answered a lot of my questions and let me sample a slice of a smoky Polish salami from the deli case. I ended up buying a hot Hungarian dry sausage, a vacuum-sealed assortment of smoked fish slices, and for a snack today, a savory meat-filled pastry that looked like a huge, flat empanada. It was tasty, but rather oily after microwaving it at work. It probably would have been much better fresh.
They even have Kinder Eggs, those great hollow Dutch chocolate eggs with surprisingly intricate build-it-yourself toys inside. They have a few tables for those who want to sit inside and eat, but I suspect most people will take their purchases to go. I was really impressed by the International Market & Deli, and for their massive selection of herring alone, I will definitely return. Any Orlando Chowhounds looking for European groceries and goodies, I suggest you check the place out!
Finally, I made to to Ba Le and got my sandwich, which was delicious as usual. This was the best "foodie" day I've had since my last trip to New York City!