A summer explosion 6/16/2021

Quick things:

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  • We’re open for pre-orders/curbside pickup AND in-person shopping. Click here for more info, or here to start shopping!
  • New & noteworthy: Strawberries. Raspberries. Shelling peas. Snap peas. Fava beans. Fennel. Cucumbers. Zucchini. Cherry tomatoes. New potatoes. Red tomatoes. It’s like a summer explosion in here.
  • ICYMI: We have our own in-house bread fresh every day (Tuesday thru Sunday, that is) — that’s baguettes, Plain Jane sandwich bread, white sourdough boules, and multigrain Sweet Hearty. (All varieties available fresh until sold out, almost always available frozen. All made exclusively with Small Valley Milling’s certified organic flours and grains.)
  • This week’s fresh McGrath’s Bakehouse breads: Cranberry Pecan, Cheesy, and Dill Onion (plus the standard Original, Sesame, and Irish Oatmeal). Next round arrives Friday, 3pm-ish.
  • Please note — due to inventory controls to prevent overselling, many items will show out of stock on the website even if we have them in store.
  • Masks continue to be required and will be as long as they’re required of anyone (looks like until June 28). We have updated other aspects of our COVID-19 safety plan, which can be found here.


Happy beautiful sunny Wednesday Thursday, friends!

Since last I wrote, Dusty and I jaunted to DC and back, and then apparently an entire week+ went by, and now here we are, in the midst of a summer produce explosion.

The DC trip now feels like it was ages ago, but it was great! Our jaunt was Sunday evening through Tuesday afternoon, and our first adventure was an 8:30pm dinner reservation at The Dabney. 8:30pm is about when we normally eat dinner, but we’re not normally starting a four course experience at that hour. I was a little worried about our ability to stay awake for it (Sunday was our only option for that particular venue, which I really really really wanted to try), but it was so good and the service was so wonderful and everything was so delightful that not only did we both stay awake no problem, I don’t think I even noticed how tired I was until we were out on the sidewalk waiting for the Uber.

The Dabney, it turns out, has a Michelin star, and while I have not eaten at enough Michelin-starred restaurants to claim to be well-calibrated to their rankings, I think The Dabney’s star is very well deserved. I didn’t actually know about the star until we saw it hanging on the wall, I assume because I’ve been wanting to go there even before they earned it (that’s what a hipster I am), mostly because I knew we shared some farmers and makers in common. I mostly want to eat at any restaurant working with the same food we’re selling.

And the food did not disappoint. From the starting snack of a crispy pork rind topped with a fava bean “condiment”, to the bright and fresh scallop crudo with cucumber salad, to the melt-in-your-mouth pork belly, allll the way to a dessert that I definitely thought was perfect and I definitely can’t remember (I think I was more tired than I realized) — it was all interesting, well put together, seasonally appropriate, and out-of-this-world delicious. It warn’t cheap, but I do think it was a great value for the meal and the experience. Ten out of ten, would dine again.

Other highlights of the trip were our baguette and croissant mini-tours (Boulangerie Christophe, Fresh Baguette, Tatte, and Bread Furst — limited options on Mondays and Tuesdays);  hanging with my aunt and uncle who have lived in DC for something like forty years, and taking them to the Old Ebbitt (oyster happy hour!) for their first time in something like forty years; sharing tapas at Jose Andres’s Jaleo; reading a book on the balcony of our hotel room while Dusty took a nap; and generally reveling in being on our first jaunt in two years (maybe to the day).

A picture of a bowl of pasta topped with shelled fava beans, surrounded by chopped parsley, and sprinkled with shredded cheese. A cheese grater and hunk of cheese are in the background behind the bowl, and all rest on a wooden butcher block.

From a summer past (2019), fava bean cacio e pepe with TONS of parsley.

And things at the store went so well in our absence that we’re now scheming about another, slightly longer jaunt, later in the summer. Maybe even something like a vacation, albeit still a mini one.

I’m pretty excited, and very grateful that the stars are aligning so that we are able to begin thinking about leaving the store for a few days just as the world is beginning to seem safe enough to receive us for a few days. While I wouldn’t say no to taking off work to just lie around my house, it’s much more satisfying to think about spending those few days elsewhere. Also much more likely that I’ll actually stay out of the store if I’m a few hours away…

Anyway! While this scheme of a potential mini-vacay is very top of mind for me right now, it’s at least several weeks away, and there is a lot of eating to be done in the meantime.

Tho’ it might not earn a Michelin star, a recent highlight in our home was a zucchini & garlic scape pasta. Dusty made this one so I can’t say for sure, but I assume he started with chopped scapes in olive oil, then added the zukes just long enough to soften them, and then put the whole thing over linguine. Easy peasy, and definitely squeeze-y a lemon over top of that.

Another one for me, and this might sound a little weird, was Rettland Canadian bacon with mini broccoli. Threw some Canadian bacon in a dry pan on medium-high heat. Tossed a handful of mini broccoli stalks in there and let them get a little charred on each side. Dumped it all on a plate. It was for lunch, I guess, and I’m not about to serve it to company, but it was really good, and satisfied some craving I was having to simultaneously eat something rich and salty with something crisp and fresh (but also a little charred). I think the bottom line on that “dish” is that with two high quality and delicious ingredients, it doesn’t take a lot of work to combine them in delicious ways.

I wish I had more cooking adventures to tell you about. As I stood staring at the produce display this yesterday morning, trying to figure out how to arrange all the newly incoming goodies, I was also thinking about how to fit them into my life. Pea toast, please. Fava bean cacio e pepe, please. Grilled zucchini and pork chops, please. A big salad with tons of herbs — mint, dill, parsley, all coarsely chopped, screaming summer and sunshine. Yes, please.

I think this year it’s going to be hard to make the time to indulge all my summer cooking and eating fantasies. I’ll get to some of them, but some of them, with fleeting seasons, I might miss. I’m hoping you’ll let me experience some of them vicariously — if you make something delicious with all these summer treats, I definitely want to hear about it.