Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fridge Full of Fruit

(All this for a mere $50.00 plus they even threw in a Kitty, what a treat Thank You Russo's)

Whenever I need a little pick me up, I always know just what to do…. shop! As for what kind of shopping, I don’t discriminate and enjoy all different types of spending. However, my absolute favorite kind of shopping involves home good stores and purchasing small hand held gizmos / serving plates that I don’t need, but simply can’t pass up. (I may not eat sushi or have ever cooked a food that requires individual sauce, dipping bowls, but look at these, there a must!)

Recently I discovered, dare I say it, an even better store to shop in then my beloved Crate and Barrel. (Shocking I know) The store I found is a kind of co-op grocery market, and it is called Russo’s. If you live in Massachusetts you simply must check it out. I don’t know where or how to begin my explanation of this hidden gem so I’ll explain exactly what it’s like when the gates open and (angels and doves fluttering by) you enter.

Located in Watertown, the building resembles a barn or garden nursery from the outside. Once you enter you see how truly expansive it actually is and are immediately blown away by the quality and range of goods offered. The first things that you come across are floral arrangements lined up to the right of the entrance. They carry every kind of flower imaginable and with a fairly inexpensive price tag. (Last time I went they were selling ½ dozen roses for $4.99 and we bought a mixed bouquet for $9.99) You can mix and match the flowers, then bring them inside to be wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon. You may also order custom arrangements ahead of time.

After the flowers you enter the apple section. There you will find every variety of apple sold in wicker baskets for $1.99 a pound. So far, I’ve tried their granny smiths and their red gala and I’ve been pleased with both. After the apples is an equally impressive onion section with red, yellow, white, sweet, mini vidalia, pearl onions, shallots, garlic…. Etc. (Basically every kind of onion you could possibly want.) Beyond there, (before you have even entered the actual store) you will find cabbage, brussel sprouts and potatoes of every variety.

At this point in the shopping excursion, you’ll likely have a cart full of goodies but before you start planning recipes in your brain..... open the double doors and check out what all the fuss is about….

To the left you’ll find nuts, dates, trail mix, greens like you wouldn’t believe, imported cheeses, steaks, tenderloins, yogurts, herbs, eggplant, zucchinis, squashes… I could go on, and on, and on but I realize I can’t possibly capture every item that they carry. Just trust me when I say they have everything you are looking for and then some.

In the right and center sections of the store they carry oranges, berries, tomatoes, nuts, peppers (again, of every variety) and mushrooms. Beneath the vegetables you’ll find imported pastas, italian cookies, brushetta toppings, crackers, homemade bread crumbs, dried fruits, and chocolate spread. Honestly I’m always too overwhelmed by the delicious vegetables and fruits to actually bend down and browse these items but have vowed that next time I will. We did purchase imported spinach pasta from Italy and it was far better then Barilla. I know that it’ll be like rediscovering the store once I truly dig through the other items on their bottom shelf.

Their deli carries boar head meat, imported salamis, homemade pasta salads, fresh pasta (last time we were there they had lemon basil, spinach, herbed, wheat, and plain fettuccini) and bologna, ham, turkey, and pepperoni of every kind. The cheese section won’t let you down and you’ll likely walk out with more then your family can possibly consume. We got some fresh mozzarella and goat cheese feta and Alex said the Feta “tasted like Greece.” Quite the compliment.

In the back of the store you’ll find the prepared foods, the bakery and baked goods, and the floral department. I’ve never tried anything from their prepared section but it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The lasagna slices look like they weigh a good ten pounds each, and the chicken parm and meatballs are soaking in perfectly thick Italian gravy.

I love to browse through the baked goods and tease myself but I’ve never, and probably never will, allow myself to test these out. We did try their almond cookies which were quite good, (although then we had them in the Northend and realized they were incomparable) and their cinnamon almond biscotti which are the perfect companion with my nightly mug of tea.

The floral section is impressive and they sell potted plants and seeds for your garden. I’d probably have more to say about it if I had a garden, but I don’t so you’ll have to check it out for yourself.

There are so many reasons to love this store. I love it for the fruits and vegetables which are comparable to Whole foods but a fraction of the cost. Aside from that, their selection is four times as large and I assure you, you’ll come across a handful of items you’ve never seen or heard of before. It inspires me to try new and healthy things and for $50.00 stocks my fridge with enough to last at least two weeks. (For us this is quite the feat since at Shaws / Stop & Shop we spend nearly $120)

It’s a great place to go before hosting a dinner party. You can get everything you need in one place and even purchase the centerpiece. I love it, and if you go, you will too.

(An impromptu stir-fry inspired by a trip to Russo's)

No comments: