Saturday, September 22, 2007
With all the construction going on up there in Friendship Height's, it's comforting to me to see Rodman's still going strong at 5100 Wisconsin Avenue. It started in 1955 as a drugstore; today it's a landmark, an institution, I'd even call it a phenomenon. As Arlo Guthrie said in Alice's Restaurant- "You can get anything you want" but there is a minor drawback or two.
The first problem with going to Rodman's is getting out of there. You might go in for one quick thing like LU's Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits which Safeway doesn't carry anymore, but there, just as soon as you walk in, are fireworks at the door- 30 percent off- right next to the BBQ sets and the Toblerone bars. This is the back entrance which is a narrow, one small cart aisle created by stacks and stacks and stacks of food and drink: tomato sauce, olives, chutney, baby clams, BBQ sauce, wine, vinegar, sardines, curry paste, Parmesan cheese and stuffed peppers-(wait is that a topping or a side dish?) jams, marinated artichokes, and olive oil. OK, now I'm actually IN the store and officially past "the entrance".
The second problem is which aisle to run to first?
Look- there's those Italian cookies, the ones in the big red tins, Lazzaroni's that used to have the wrappers you could light on fire and make a wish on as they rose to the ceiling. And those weird chocolate cigar type cookies someone bought for us in Greece once, not to mention digestive biscuits, whatever they are, and those cinnamon things I just remembered I came in here for.
Oh, and they have Lady Grey Tea. Safeway doesn't seem to stock that anymore either. Fritos, Doritos and crystallized ginger. I don't what to do with it, but I'm intrigued. Squirt bottles of Kalamata olive puree under a sign that says "dessert toppings". And something that looks like shrunken heads over there in the produce aisle turns out to be celery root. Celery root? O look- they've got a great deal on lemons. Does anyone need a scratch off ticket? A baguette would be good for later. And do I have enough tuna fish?
Over in the beverage aisles, I am befriended by DC native, "Hoppy Dave" who educated me as best he could on the amazing variety of beers he stocks-a happily bewildering experience that almost involved me getting a second cart. (Warning-one cart is bad enough in there- something akin to navigating a Hummer through the back streets of Georgetown.) By the time he was finished with me, my cart was full of stuff I'd never heard of, but couldn't wait to try-including Bell's Batch 8,000, a commemorative ale which only gets made every 8,000 years. ( I might be wrong there, but my head only holds so much info.) He also filled me in on my high school teacher, Bob Tupper who went on to produce Tupper's Hop Pocket Ale, an excellent adult beverage courtesy of Old Dominion Brewery which, Dave tells me, has been bought now by Budweiser. What? That's why there was no Tupper's in sight as the Tuppers don't do "bud."
Now I've solved the problem of leaving Rodman's. My cart is full, and so is my head. But I didn't even make it downstairs to the other floor where the household products are, the coffee makers, the watch repair, play-doh, hair brushes and oh, yeah, it is Rodman's Drug after all. Don't forget the pharmacy and the vitamins....next time.