The availability of high-quality, local ingredients is increasing at a very pleasing rate. I’m not going to get into the benefits of this. Clearly I think this is a great thing, and I’m not gonna sit her and list them (at least not yet). Watch Food Inc. for now if you care so much.
Fellow food appreciator, Daniel B. who runs the FUSSYlittleBLOG, has been talking up this place called Adventure in Food Trading for a really long time. That AOA post went up in March, and it has been on my “To do” list since then. I’ve only been putting it off because it’s been difficult to find a time to make it over there while I’m not working and they’re open.
That’s why this past Thursday, I took a vacation day from work. (Don’t worry. I had other stuff to do too; I’m not that crazy.)
As it turns out, the day I chose to visit was the day they were terribly behind on stocking their spaces with stuff. It didn’t really matter; the staff was willing to let me look at everything I wanted to.
And, as you walk through, there’s a lot to take in. Right now, there are basically five regions in the shop: a cured meats and cheese walk-in refrigerator, a fresh meat freezer, a specialty spice rack, an area for wet goods like vinegars and jarred peppers, and an area for dry goods like chocolate. The layout isn’t exactly retail friendly; it’s a warehouse!
The real purpose of my trip was to buy some duck proscuitto, a cured breast of duck that I have been exposed to at the Wine Bar on Lark Street. Since I was making a day of it, I decided to peek at the product list at home and pick out a few other things that I wanted to price and possibly purchase.
When I went to the store, I took a look around and found a few things, but this was a somewhat frustrating experience, mainly because, once you find something you might buy, the person helping has to walk back to the computer, and look up the price. It’s difficult for me to shop for deals with this type of system because I feel bad making someone look something up and then saying no. (Side note: this would be a great application for a tablet and WiFi, #justsayin) I must say, even though I had these guys look up the prices for a whole bunch of items, many of which I didn’t buy, I didn’t feel pressured at all. The guys working there, in an attempt to expose me to many of the products they offer, even gave me samples of cheeses.
By now, you want to know what I got. Alright, here’s the rundown, then I’ll make a few comments at the end.
Not pictured – two 7oz cans of chipotle peppers in adobo ($2.60/can)
Everything down to the guanciale is local within a reasonable distance. That’s excellent. While the young man was cutting the truffle cheese, he let me sample some; it’s made exclusively for these guys. There are shaved black truffles and truffle oil incorporated into the cheese, and the exterior is caked with garam masala. It was a wild tasting cheese, in a great way.
I walked out with the items I did because some things are going to serve as ingredients in dishes, some are staples, some are going to get eaten as is, and others were just WTF? prices, like a whole box of dried ancho chile peppers for $9.
There were plenty of other items I didn’t take home, but I will return to Adventure in Food Trading again. Honestly, though, I don’t really need to walk around and see the products to get the inspiration; next time, I’m going to print up a product list, grab a highlighter, pick the items I might buy, and phone an order in. The guys working there are a pleasure to talk to, and I think this method would be a bit more conducive to finding even more great deals and products.