Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Time for a road trip- Back to the city!

Once in a while...... the city beckons me. On a cold rainy fall day there isn't much to do around here. The garden is done. The leaves are gone. It seems a little desolate at the Little Lake House. What's a former city girl to do? Go on a road trip! Days like this are when the city beckons to me. I have always loved shopping on "crummy weather" days. Everyone else stays home. I don't have to participate in parking lot combat and traffic doesn't seem as bad. Pair that with the middle of the workday, and you have the perfect time to hit the store.

Generally speaking, I hate shopping. I hate the mall. I hate the stores, the pushy salespeople, lugging an arm full of bags around. HATE it. I'm no big fan of grocery shopping either. While it might be fun browsing the produce and different areas of the store, pushing that huge cart, lugging all the bags in the house. Just not fun. Less fun than laundry. Unless........ isn't there always an unless? Unless my grocery shopping trip has taken me to Gateway Market.

If you aren't familiar with Des Moines, Gateway Market is a small, upscale grocery store in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood. Unlike the big supermarket chains, Gateway features local and organic produce, unique foods, gourmet items, fresh bakery, deli hot case, amazing beer and wine selections and a cafe where you can sit down and enjoy a nice meal and a bottle of wine. In warmer months they have a lovely patio to enjoy. The location is great, Sherman Hill is beautiful and close to downtown. Lots of big beautiful trees line the road and the store is just........heaven.

Walking in the door the first thing you see is the amazing produce. Today they had locally grown hot peppers- Hatch, Scotch Bonnet and ghost chilies (first time I have ever seen ghost peppers in a grocery store), cremini and shiitake mushrooms (score for me on the creminis), several colors of beets, beautiful multi-colored carrots, French fingerling potatoes, Peruvian purple potatoes, many varieties of squash, organic microgreens, and so so so much more. I'm only a few steps in the door! 

Fish tacos are on the menu so the next thing in my cart was a package of gorditas. I thought they would be a nice change of pace from the usual bland tortilla. The gorditas have a heartier texture and are a bit more substantial as well. I think they will be perfect. I have a table filled with garden tomatoes and fresh spinach in the fridge, and jars of salsa so we'll be all set. 

My heart was broken when I saw that the olive bar was disassembled. The olive bar is my sole reason for shopping there! Well, not really, but almost! There are usually about twenty or so different olives on the bar, plus olive combos, salads and Peppadews. Once in a while you will find something really different and exciting like pickled baby pattypan squash. Oh well. Probably just as well. I would have spent a big chunk of cash on tubs of olives.

Craft beers and imports- ice cold and ready to go
Balsamic vinegar has been the topic around here the last couple days, and when it comes to balsamic vinegars, Gateway has a great selection. From the everyday balsamic to the truly special imported bottles, several shelves in the store house several dozen different vinegars. There is an equally, if not more so, impressive selection of olive oils and other unique oils. Looking for truffle oil? You'll find it here. Imported and domestic, you can find an oil in any price range here.

The grocery shelves at Gateway are something to behold. Hot sauces are all the rage right now, and Gateway has a great selection. I was surprised to see pure capsacian extract on the shelf. I've never seen it in a store before. One million Scoville units. Of course, with ghost chilies and Trinidad Scorpion chilies and so on, one million isn't all that impressive ..... with an extract you are adding that to something that's usually already THAT hot...... well, at least that's what ChiliHeads do. Anyway- lots of fun hot and spicy sauces. Lots and lots of interesting Indian foods, most of which were cooking sauces and things like that. A nice selection of Asian ingredients- not as much as an Asian store of course, but enough to make a pretty decent Asian meal. 

Brave enough?
And then........we have the pasta aisle. I didn't get any pictures in the pasta aisle. My hands were restrained by The Chef (just kidding, but you can imagine). I wasn't interested in the dozens of pasta sauces available. Oh no, I was eyeballing the many unique pasta shapes! If you've never heard of it. they have it! I did spy a few familiar faces on the shelf- pappardelle, fusilli, spaghetti, a couple different styles of lasagna and penne rigate. I think I might sneak back there without The Chef and bring a few cool pastas home. I know I can always whip up a fabulous pasta dish no matter what we have in the cupboard.

The Happiest Place on Earth
Just across from the pasta aisle is the Happiest Place on Earth. No, not Disneyland- the wine section! Gateway prides itself on it's amazing wine inventory and knowledgeable staff and rightfully so. Wines are grouped by region and are easy to explore. A tasting bar has something for everyone and will open a bottle you are inquiring about for you to taste. They have a great selection of over 100 imported and craft beers too. Having dinner in the cafe? You can pick a bottle of wine to take over with you- there is never a corkage fee. They will even chill it for you in the express chiller at no extra charge. The cafe is a great spot for a quick lunch or dinner with friends or a casual date.

The wine staff will be happy to open a bottle for you.
Gateway hosts all kinds of fun activities throughout the year as well. Wine tastings and classes, such as Wine 101, provide guests with lots of opportunities to learn and explore new things. Speaking of wine, wine and cheese are a natural pairing and Gateway Market has a full-service cheese department boasting over 200 cheeses. You can have your cheese cut to order, sample different cheeses- both artisan and imported cheeses, and they always make sure to have a great assortment of crackers, and their house-baked South Union baguettes right nearby.  Having the South Union Bakery in the same building is genius. You get the freshest, most incredible breads......just steps from the ovens. I am hopelessly addicted to the bread. The bakery case is also filled with fabulous pastries, cakes, and the most meltingly delicious macarons I have ever had. Today I got Pumpkin Chai Macarons.......ohh my. Heaven!!!

If you ever get a chance, you simply must visit Gateway Market. If you're anything like me, you'll be right at home.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

No comments:

Post a Comment