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Mini-Mart US in Carmel Like a Tasty Visit to Russia

euro03#CarmelIN — Maybe it’s the candy Babushkas.

Maybe it’s the full-size herring in the deli-case.

Or maybe it was the seed packets for homeopathic herbs found only in a part of the world I had to Google.

But the “Mini-Mart US” at 1323 S Rangeline Rd in Carmel is anything but your typical small-scale American convenience store. It’s a “Russian and Eastern European Grocery Store” with curious offerings and food-mash-ups you won’t find anywhere else this side of the Eastern Bloc.

Despite it’s tiny size and location – wedged between a nail salon and a larger Japanese restaurant – there’s PLENTY to choose from. A stocked seafood case displays a nice assortment of fish, sausage and pirogi that’ll make you miss the Eastern European grandmother you wish you had. The very friendly staff seemed bemused by my befuddlement, but appreciated my genuine interest in their bottled “salted cucumbers.”

euro02“Are the what I think they are?” I asked the young woman with the slavic accent.

“Yays. Dehy are peekles,” She said.

Yeah, pickles. And they looked awesome.

I thought I’d buy stuff to construct a sandwich as a good way to sample their products, but I only had $10 with me, so I bought a loaf of “Eastern European Rye,” a half-pound of salami and some candy bars wrapped in colorful paper with fairy tale designs on them. The salted cucumbers would have to wait. As another store patron pointed out, Eurpoeans like their salami fatty, and the thinly sliced medallions of meat did not disappoint. So tasty and buttery.

euro01“You should come back,” the staffer said. “We have a pickled beet salad and salmon that you will like very much.”

It won’t take an arms race to stop me, that’s for sure.