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If you still haven’t stocked up on essentials, your best bet is to avoid the big grocery chains. Trust me. Here’s a survival tip: hit up the corner bodega on your block. There’s a good chance that they are still well stocked. And there’s an even better chance that you won’t have to stand in line for hours nor arm wrestle anyone over that last bag of rice.

I just took a quick survey of Mount Pleasant Street’s bodegas. There was plenty of food, plenty of aisle space, and the lines were minimal!

Check out my rundown after the jump.

International Progreso Market:

Food Stock: Extremely High. There are plenty of bags of dried beans, rows of canned beans, and coffee. A clerk was stocking eggs so that’s a good sign.

Gourmet Factor: You can still find cans of octopus, glass jars of olives, and massive purple eggplants.

Line: Maybe six deep. Another four or so at the butcher counter.

Stress Factor: Zero.

Los Primos

Food Stock: Rows of detergents look untouched and there were still cases of Arizona Iced-T yet to be unpacked. So if you like overly sweetened cans of tea, you are in luck. Goya products also well represented on store shelves.

Gourmet Factor: A fine selection of Fanta including the very rare pineapple-flavored Fanta.

Line: One, maybe two people.

Stress: So low you may feel need to extend small talk with cashier.

Best Way:

Food Stock: The market’s produce section is a little picked over.The section is down to two packages of garlic, and two bruised yellow onions. But there is still a mountain of potatoes, tons of mangoes, and avocados. You can forget finding any packages of ground beef or much in the way of chicken breasts. There were only four ox tail packages on the shelf, and just two packages of round steaks. You can find stew meat and chicken thighs.

Gourmet Factor: Big selection of Yellow Tail!

Line: They ranged anywhere from two to five deep.

Stress Factor: Moderate.

*photo by Darrow Montgomery.