I took a vacation day last Tuesday to wander around the Italian Market with a friend.
We both had quests and places we wanted to hit and thing we wanted to find, but also we wanted to wander around when it was less crowded than it gets on Saturdays.
First we popped into Spice Corner, where I picked up some aleppo pepper (so I’ll have it ready the next time I make DiBruno Brothers – I bought a bottle of balsamic and split a venture in a spanikopita with my friend. It was sadly a little disappointing – there was a huge block of spinach topped with a few layers of phyllo, which did not retain any crispiness after being microwaved. So tasty in a spinach side dish kind of way, but not a favorite spanikopita. But the people were very friendly.
Then I went down a few doors to the cheese side of DiBruno Brothers, but my friend refused to enter because of the intense funky smell of cheese. Mmmm funky cheese. So I wiggled through the crowd all the way to the back where there was decent room to stand. And they had a beautiful cheese there whose name I did not write down – it was a gooey soft-wind cheese with (I think ) chanterelles or something like that – and it was only available for a month or so, and it was delicious. I would have bought one, but they were only selling whole cheeses, and while I am ambitious, I am still only one person. So I asked them to bring me something kind of like that one only available in smaller quantities – and I ended up with Tomme Welsche.
milk: goat (sic) [really cow]
country: Alsace, France
An aged cow’s milk Tomme that receives constant washing with Marc de Gewurztraminer throughout its maturation
And then to round things out, I sampled and then bought a gouda-type goat cheese that was luminous and just this amazingly clear taste with little crunches of some kind of crystal in there (but not really salt crystals…).
country: California, US
An aged goat cheese in the Gouda style from Cypress Grove Farms, known for their Humbolt Fog. Dense and creamy with a peppery goat finish and sweet flavor
It is delicious. Oh, and then I bought more balsamic vinegar as I was heading toward the door – it’s not my fault: I’d been running low and the stuff is delicious on almost everything.
And then I went to join my friend in yet another spice store: Grassia’s Spice Company. This place was pretty much empty, but there were a few people who came in while we were browsing and they picked up what they wanted and bought them so quickly that it might have been doing a good business without filling the place. Instead of selling mostly plain spices, this place specialized in spice blends. But I had already picked up spices and had recently ordered stuff from Penzey’s, so no need for anything else.
There was a little more wandering. Both of us had quests that we sought to fulfill at Fante’s. She wanted to acquire the best icing tool ever, whereas I had a relatively simple quest in mind – just getting a couple extra quarter cup measuring cups because I use that size most often and it’d be nice to be able to let the dishes accumulate a little, even after using a measuring cup (yeah, like you always do dishes right away). And yet neither of us earned any experience points. I did leave with another magnetic hook for the back of my range hood so that I’ll have somewhere to hand the measuring cups once I find them, but no luck on the cups themselves.
So after Fante’s, we went to Fosters Urban Homeware (which I remembered by conflating the address from Fork You with a store I saw somewhere in center city – but I called up my mother and asked her to search for me, just like an iPhone, only with added familial bonding). Anyway, no luck there. And a later search turns up a branch of Kitchen Kapers on 17th between Walnut and Locust – I was probably thinking of that one.
So then we tried the restaurant supply store at 5th & Bainbridge, and while they came the closest to providing what I wanted, we both still left empty-handed. Who knew single measuring cups were so hard to find?
So back when we were by Foster’s, we decided to eat some lunch. We’d both heard of (but not eaten at) a local restaurant called Fork, so when we passed their prepared foods spinoff, Fork: etc., it seemed like a fun place to try. I picked out some salmon salad – I though it had peas in it, but they were capers, and yet amazingly I still liked the salad. It did, however, taste extra fishy because of the briny berries. And then I tried all three of their soups: eggplant barley, mexican chicken, and seafood gumbo. The Mexican chicken was the winner, so I got a bowl of that. While the other two soups were tasty (and did not stint on the salt), they both tasted of seafood so I could not later identify for my friend which little paper cup had seafood gumbo and which one had eggplant barley. And I picked up a loaf of sesame sourdough to eat those with. The bread was dense and not very sour, but it was tasty white bread with sesame seeds all over it, so it was close to (only denser than) the semolina bread I had been hoping to find at DiBruno Brothers. And then I bought some wafers of Eclat chocolate to bring me up over the credit card minimum. Mmmm!
So now let me tell you what I ended up doing with the rest of the loaf of sesame sourdough bread. It turns out that it makes an amazing baked cheese sandwich with the Tomme Welsche cheese. I sliced it a little less than a centimeter thick and then in half, add two thin-ish slices of the cheese and drizzle with buckwheat honey. Then pop into the oven until the cheese is gooey. This was so good that I kept going until I used up the last of the cheese.
And then the last couple slices of bread were buttered and toasted (in the oven because you can’t do things in that order with a toaster – besides, I don’t have the counter space for a toaster) and then topped with blueberry jelly.
So now I have searched online for 1/4 cup measuring cups, and the only one I found not only looks cheaply made, but also is out of stock.