Mrs. Carla Monti

Mrs. Carla Monti

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Marketplaces!

I have been on a hunt for fresh new stores to expand my grocery shopping beyond our local chain, Publix. Last week I started going to The Fresh Market, which I would describe as a mini, more organized version of Whole Foods. I've only been to Whole Foods a handful of times and my impression is always the same - too big, too expensive, and too chaotic. Quite frankly, one doesn't need ten different types of quinoa. The Fresh Market seems to be in it's own category. Although relatively small, the selection of fresh produce, proteins, wine, and imported products is spectacular. I spent about an hour last week browsing all the aisles, and I was pleasantly surprised to find many Italian or Swiss food products common to my college years.

I ended up buying two pieces of bourbon glazed salmon, chicken breast wrapped around ricotta and spinach and covered in breadcrumbs, haricots verts, and baby bella mushrooms for dinner. I can't take too much credit with this picture - my boyfriend took over once I unpacked my groceries! Yum :)

I also baked some basic chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting (topped with rainbow sprinkles) for my attorney's little girl's birthday - but I made sure to use my favorite chocolate cake recipe which always includes a healthy serving of sour cream, the key ingredient to keeping any chocolate cake rich and moist :)

This past weekend, I made my way to two well-known, New York-style farmer's markets, one called The Boys and the other, aptly named The Girls. The Boys is small but fully stocked with a lovely bakery, cheese, wine, fruit, veggie, protein, and ready-prepared food sections. I had every intention of coming home with a bag bursting with freshly ripe berries, broccoli florets, and whatever else my little veggie/fruit loving heart desired ... however I made a beeline for the wine selection and came home staggering with bottles of Chianti, Merlot, and Marsala. (Fairly typical.) I also bought some lovely linzer cookies with apricot in the middle, but I got a little too excited and forgot to snap a pic. Here is just one section of the bakery side.


The Girls was a smaller, more country-type store, with various knicknacks, every flavor of fresh ice cream imaginable, and mile-long shelves of every jam and jelly in existence. I'm not kidding - there was even a homemade fig-jalapeno jelly on stock.

I also had the best strawberry milkshake of my life at The Girls, which is locally known for offering people to pick their own strawberries (sadly not in season on my visit), so their main menu features strawberry milkshakes, strawberry shortcakes, and strawberry ice cream - all homemade with natural ingredients and a comforting lack of preservatives or artificial ingredients, something that seems to be all too prevalent in everyday groceries.

I was in a Mexican mood for dinner over the weekend, so I purchased the usual suspects;  ground beef, sour cream, corn, refried beans, shredded cheese (Mexican 4-cheese blend) corn tortillas, and fresh limes to make one of my favorite recipes - tostadas. I have made them before (here) and my basic recipe comes from Gimme Some Oven, but I generally tweak it each time, depending on the ingredients at hand. In the case of this past weekend, the avocados I had bought were not ripe in time, so I substituted corn to add a sweet element amidst the salt and crunch of the other components.

Delicious! I love how crunchy the tortillas get when baked in the oven, both sides doused with a healthy serving of extra-virgin olive oil. Topping it with enchilada sauce-soaked ground beef, sweet corn kernels, dollops of creamy sour cream, melty cheese, and smooth refried beans - yum! These are filling and so quick to put together whenever you have a Mexican craving.


  1. Cool names of marketplaces. I haven't been to one and haven't heard it before either. I'll try to go there this weekend and see what I can shop.

  2. Very nice. Looking forward to some samplings this weekend!