Archive for ‘NOTEWORTHY FARE’

August 26, 2014

Union Market, Washington, DC

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If I lived in DC I’d go to Union Market once a week and stock up on stuff and eat, a lot. During our 4 day stay in the capital city, we were lucky enough to have our hip, cool cousin show us around a bit. On our last day we ventured over to the Union Market. I was told it was a must see before we left the city. Kind of like an indoor Brooklyn Flea without the vintage wares, Union Market was uber cool and full of delicious bits to see and enjoy.

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Here’s a little look at what was inside…

The Righteous Cheese people. Isn’t this the coolest sign ever?! They had a wonderful assortment of artisanal cheeses. Check out their site to see why they’re Righteous. They offer gift baskets and cheese trays and they also have a cheese blog and newsletter. Hail to the cheese people!!!

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Bountiful fresh produce and flowers, and the most unbelievable breads. I was kicking myself that I didn’t buy a few loaves of these rustic beauties to bring home. Low carb, no carb, blah blah blah – this is not the place. Just look at that bread! Nom nom nom!

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It was a split decision on where to have lunch. Alan and I opted for bagels & lox from Buffalo Bergen and our daughter picked a muffaletta from Red Apron. Buffalo & Bergen had a New York City old-fashioned soda shop feel. I had to try their rhubarb soda and Alan had a real vanilla cream soda. I assume this is how they made them in the “old days,” with heavy cream… back when folks weren’t calorie conscious and enjoyed the finer things in life with reckless abandon. It was delicious!

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The Red Apron is a hot spot in DC these days. Looking for killer charcuterie? They have it! Check out the muffaletta. Perfectly crispy bread, gooey with cheese, chopped olives and Red Apron’s own meats. I stole a bite and it was great.

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There was a small stand with a wonderful assortment of spices. I regret leaving without some new spices more than the miss on picking up some bread. They had lots of unusual blends. The Za’atar caught my eye, I love this Middle Eastern mix. I generally make it myself (here’s link to my recipe), but theirs looked awesome! I liked how most of the spices were in these little plastic bags. I fill my spice jars at home and the little bags make for easy storing of extras. If you’re looking for a great way organize your spices, here’s my trick.

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Desserts! We picked up a couple of cupcakes to go from Curbside Cupcakes… delicious! Look at the pretty sweets from Curbside below. Unfortunately, as often happens with foods I want to photograph, the cupcakes were eaten before I could snap a picture. There was also a fancy chocolate vendor and of course, gelato from Dolcezza Gelato. I picked dark chocolate and pistachio, yum.

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One of the things that I love about these city style markets are the giftables. Each vendor sells something unique and personal that is perfect to give as a special gift. I always love all the packaging, too. In addition, they had a knife vendor selling all kinds of cutlery and they also did professional knife sharpening. Very cool.

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I see another trip to Washington in my future and next time I will be prepared with a cooler and my reusable shopping bags in hand. Minus the humidity, Washington is such a great city. The Union Market is like a hipster style market in the middle of our nation’s capital. When we were leaving, they were setting up for a beer festival outside. Really? I need to live here. Awesome!

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July 3, 2014

Highlights from the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC

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What happens when you put 2400 food vendors under one roof, all with samples for tasting and me in the midst of it all? A mind altering, feeding frenzy! I spent Monday at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC and though my feet hurt from hours of walking, my belly was full of all the scrumptious nibbles of specialty fare, and my mind was spinning with lots of new food info.

Wandering for the day with a pregnant friend didn’t help matters. We seemed to find every artisanal ice cream vendor with ease, not that I’m complaining. Hail to the people at Jenis ice cream for their lemon and blueberry frozen yogurt! It was a perfectly creamy combination of tart fresh lemon, swirled with sweet blueberries. The ginger cookie snap ice cream from Phin & Phebes was creamy and spicy with a subtle swirl of yummy lemon frosting. They were definitely two of my favorites.

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Cheese was a highlight of the day. Though no particular cheese stood out, I was dumbfounded by how many cheese vendors there were. How much cheese can one person eat? Apparently a lot, because everywhere I turned I was trying a different type of cheese. Representing so many countries, the cheese peeps were so happy to share their story and wedges of their prize-winning cheese. The stinkier the better I always say.

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Breakfast cheese to spread on toast, genius! The fig was awesome!

Not surprising, vinegars and oils were everywhere. We approached one Italian balsamic vendor and asked for a taste. We were told they conduct their tastings as a flight, like wine and beer, just much smaller portions. We stood there drinking spoonfuls of delicious balsamic from their entry-level price on up. It was amazing how different each one tasted, a real education of how balsamic comes to be. My favorite vinegar of the day was this truffle balsamic. Where can I buy this stuff?

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The BEST truffle balsamic!

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Being a life long retailer and an even better consumer, I was struck by how beautiful some of the packaging was. Elegantly wrapped chocolates and bottles of vinegar. So much time and effort goes into the design of the product. I found the more specialized and smaller the vendor, the better the packaging. Think gift baskets for the holidays, lovely stuff.

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I loved the unfiltered ginger ale from Bruce Cost below. And the peppered bacon from Nueske’s might have been the best bacon I’ve ever had… bacon samples! Also my favorite crackers of the day (below) and are you surprised I found the anchovy guy? Slices of baguette with anchovies – yum! And we sipped the most delicious maple syrup. If you aren’t using the real stuff, you must give it a try. Throw that Log Cabin stuff away.

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My final thought of the day was simply – “I love truffles.” White truffles, black truffles, truffle potato chips from Spain, truffled vinegars from Italy, cheese infused with truffles, artisanal salt flakes with truffles… wonderful truffles. We sat with a very well dressed Italian guy who’s company makes only products with truffles. Truffles are their thing and this guy knew his stuff. I learned that Italians find their truffles using dogs, while the French use pigs – which coincidentally doesn’t always work so well. Female pigs love the smell of truffles, they smell a bit testosterone’ish to the pigs, which can result in them just eating the truffles when they find them. I think the Italians might have a one-up on the French in the truffle hunting department. Check out the mountain of truffles below!

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I could go on and on, a real food education. I will be going back next year for sure. A day filled with food and more food, what could be better?

 

 

 

 

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