Sunday, August 17, 2014

- Sometimes dreams come true: Or, you can't win if you don't play

Here's an essay that I just submitted to the Central Market 20th Anniversary Contest in hopes of winning a culinary tour of France and Italy ... whether I win or not, it's all true!


I’m Going to Texas: A Foodie Fairy Tale 

Once upon a time, long ago (at the turn of the century) and faraway (in Virginia), I first heard tell of Central Market’s wonders when my husband began consulting in Fort Worth. He would come back to Williamsburg with tales of post-meeting sorties that left my mouth watering.

So I was happy indeed when daughter Meg moved to Austin, where I fell in love with Tortilla Soup from the Central Market Café on a hot summer day in August. Winding through the aisles, marveling at the produce and deli and bakery, I found my Foodie bliss … only to return to the East Coast and rue my fate.

Fast forward to the present: We now live in San Marcos and shop at both local HEB stores, which have many of the Central Market products we’ve come to love.  But I still have a special Central Market shopping list for our weekly trips to Austin, where I stock up on:
  • Red boiler onions in Produce – just the right size to zing up Salad Days
  • Fresh ground veal and pork in the Meat case – for mouthwatering Meatballs
  • CM fresh ravioli next to the Sushi case – which gives new meaning to Leaving the Burg Leftovers
  • 5 grain cereal, rolled oats, maple syrup, and coconut flakes from the Bulk Foods section – for the best homemade Granola when combined with …
  • CM Arbosana olive oil – a balanced blend of fruit and bitterness, with a gentle hit of pepper for the back of the palate or …
  • CM Virgin Coconut Oil – which also makes killer popcorn
  • CM organic pasta – capellini so fine it cooks in only three minutes, for a fast dinner go-to
  • White Shoyu soy sauce – so delicately flavored it makes sushi sing
  • Pasture-raised eggs in the Dairy case– for the lightest, airiest Popovers and Cakes
  • CM flour tortillas– freshly made, they are requested by our hosts when we travel to the Midwest and East Coast (along with Salt Lick Chipotle Bar-B-Que Sauce)
  • Italian white bread from the Bakery  – perfect for Crème Brulée French Toast … if it survives the dinner bread basket
  • Castelvetranos from the Olive Bar – so perfectly brined you can’t eat just one
  • Speck (smoked prosciutto) – a Deli case delight that sparks up pastas and salads alike
  • Shredded Gruyère from the Cheese case – a wintertime wonder for Onion Soup and Gougères* (light puffs of butter, egg, flour  and cheese)
Central Market even carries Williamsburg Peanut Shop peanuts – for a little taste of what-used-to-be-home.

Of course, the list keeps growing as we encounter new Foodie Finds from Alfajores (buttery cookies sandwiched around dulce de leche) to Chiles (CM Hatch Green Chile Salsa Roja and CM Hatch tortilla chips), all ably accompanied by libations from local brews to worldly wines.

It’s no wonder we’re living happily ever after!

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