Sweetnicks Goes on a Field Trip

by Cate on March 19, 2006

… but we’ll get to that in a second. First, the dinner report. In my continuing effort to use ingredients I had on hand (and quickly before they turn into mush before my eyes), I was searching for a recipe to use up my fresh asparagus and goat cheese. In catching up on my magazine reading, a recent issue of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food provided just the answer with her Creamy Fettuccine with Asparagus. Martha gave Rachael Ray a run for her money, since this recipe was on the table in less than thirty minutes. The verdict? It was good, but not a WOW for us. Just no real flavor impact. S’ok, they can’t all be winners. But with the fresh dill, it’s a perfect addition for Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging. I think I might give it another try with the addition of grilled chicken.

OK, onto the field trip I took tonight. I thought it was time to do some intrepid reporting for you, so I went to go visit an international grocery store I have heard about, but just hadn’t gotten around to checking out yet. International Food Warehouse has quite the cross-section of cultures happening amongst its aisles. Located in Lodi (370 Essex Street for those near enough), it’s an interesting place. You can see Chowhound’s piece on it here.

As soon as you walk in, the smell of cooked Indian food drifts right over … mmm … I love that smell. There’s a little restaurant inside the grocery store offering up freshly cooked Indian food with a place to sit and eat. Everything from Dosas and Samosas to Onion Kulcha and Naan bread. I snagged a few Chicken Samosas on the way out, couldn’t resist.

The spice selection was fantastic, as were the prices. The below picture is about a quarter of the full spice area. Pure extracts were a bargain at 88 cents (perfect since I was out of orange extract).

Being the olive-freaks they are, it’s a good thing The Husband and Nicholas weren’t with me as I wouldn’t have been able to pull them away from these olive carts. Check out the selection! I did, of course, bring them home some.

My mom will be happy with this next find. I first discovered this brand of jam in a small Turkish/Israeli market that has since gone out of business. She said it’s so good, she can eat it just plain with a spoon. For those that might be able to decipher the characters on the lid — can anyone tell me the origin of it? (You can click on the picture to enlarge it)

They did have a small “American” section with things like pasta, cookies, crackers, etc. I also discovered just how many flavors of Stacy’s Chips there actually are (five!). Our Costco carries Stacy’s Chips, but I’ve only seen the “naked” flavor. I grabbed Cinnamon Sugar and the Parmesan, Garlic and Herb.

I was surprised that their “Spanish” section was so small and didn’t include things that are commonplace elsewhere (Goya chips and Sazon seasoning, for example). The same goes for their Indian section. No ginger paste? The warehouse also doesn’t have any meat, fish, deli or other similar departments. It’s more geared towards packaged and bottled products. That said, I’ll definitely go back every now and then, but no burning need to make regular trips. Now, Corrado’s is another story.

OK folks, that’s a wrap for tonight. Tune in tomorrow to get all the details on our afternoon party … you know it’s going to be something different when The Neighbor is doing the cooking for it, and I’m not allowed to. Also tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the exciting email I got tonight. It’s all I can do to not wake up The Husband… everybody’s sleeping and I’ve got to tell someone!

A year ago todayPreachers Gone Astray.

Creamy Fettuccine with Asparagus
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart
Serves 4

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast 1/4 cup pine nuts, stirring often, until golden, 2-3 minutes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 3/4 pound fettuccine or other thick-strand pasta until al dente, according to package directions, adding 2 bunches of asparagus (trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut into thirds) during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Reserve one cup of pasta water, drain. Return pasta, asparagus and reserved pasta water to the pot. Toss with 4 ounces creamy goat cheese (broken into pieces), 2 tablepoons grainy mustard, 2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves and toasted pine nuts. Season with coarse salt and black pepper.

Sweetnicks’ Notes: This would taste fantastic with some grilled chicken tossed in.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

sher March 19, 2006 at 6:19 am

Wow!! That fettucine looks pretty darn good!!!!!!!

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Riana March 19, 2006 at 9:53 am

That spice store looks fabulous!! I want one of those near me!! The strawberry jam is from Greece, I believe that is Greek writing. My husband says its Russian but he is a math teacher, what does he know?

I might send you a shopping list!!!

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Kalyn March 19, 2006 at 1:41 pm

The combination of asparagus, goat cheese, pine nuts, and dill sounds good to me too. I like your idea of adding chicken. Sounds like a very fun field trip.

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merley March 19, 2006 at 2:46 pm

OK, back in the sixties that building (on Essex St) used to be Modell’s. It was a cheapy department store where we used to go to buy our back to school supplies. Aisles and aisles of pencils and paper. We never bought any clothing there, but maybe some gym shoes. There were 2 floors at the time. I haven’t been in there since. Glad that there is good shopping there now!

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Ruth March 19, 2006 at 4:35 pm

Thanks for taking us on such a wonderful shopping expedition!!

My honey and I went to Toronto’s largest market/food emporium yesterday. It covers two full floors with fast foods from all over the world downstairs with the fancy desserts, honeys, jams, and spices. The fresh meat, fish, poultry, cheeses and awesome olives and other deli delights on the main floor. We usually take public transporation when we go to keep us from buying everything. This way we only can buy what we can carry.

Thanks for sharing.

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Marianne March 19, 2006 at 6:33 pm

Fun field trip, Cate! And that pasta sounds delightful. I posted up an entry today in your honor, just a head’s up.

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hereandthere123 March 19, 2006 at 8:57 pm

I remember that place before it burned down. It was similarly stocked and visited by equal numbers of locals. Years ago, my parents lived in Maywood, so it was fun to visit and pick up all the international goodies. Thanks for the field trip!

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MeBeth March 19, 2006 at 9:02 pm

That store looks like tons of fun – I could spend an entire day in there!

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Rose March 20, 2006 at 12:46 am

That store looks like so much fun. I would probably get dizzy from the overwhelming number of world food products.

It looks oddly similar to National Wholesale Liquidators (who have a pretty decent sized international food section–considering most of the store isn’t food), I wonder if there is a connection.

You love to tease us with your news, don’t ya :-)

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Ivonne March 20, 2006 at 1:34 am

Hi Cate!

First of all the fettucine and asparagus look pretty darn good to me!

Thanks for the write-up about the market. I love reading about where other bloggers like to shop! It’s like taking a trip and you’re a great tour guide!

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MonkeyBites March 20, 2006 at 3:39 am

That looks like hours of fun (maybe even days..)
Thanks for sharing your field trip!

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Cate March 20, 2006 at 4:37 am

Sher – nice and simple, just the way we like it. :)

Riana – I think you might be right on the Greece angle. If you’re craving anything you can’t get there, just drop me a line. ;)

Kalyn – I think grilled shrimp would work nicely too.

merley – you have a great memory – wow! Are you still in Jersey? Anything else down there worth checking out?

Ruth – your field trip sounds awesome – I definitely would have had trouble there!

Mrs. Canada – thanks so much; we loved those lasagna rolls. Might be time to take a trip down memory lane… ;)

hereandthere123 – it’s definitely worth a trip.

MeBeth – I gotta keep you guys coming back for more, right? Someone at the party today said that it’s actually a chain, so it looks like there may be a connection.

Ivonne – thanks for coming along for the ride.

MonkeyBites – if you think that’s good, I might have to stop at Corrado’s and get some pictures. That place beats this one, in my opinion, though smaller and a different focus. Maybe next weekend…

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