I’ve never really been a shopper, per se. Apparently I used to have small anxiety attacks at the mere thought of going into a shoe store when I was younger. I guess the shoe salespeople at Thom McCann really upset me. Likewise – and a lot more recently - I would get antsy at the thought of the greeters at The Gap. Their Black Hole Sun like smiles and overly effervescent and solicitous welcomes kind of freaked me out. I would find myself zipping in and trying desperately to dodge them. They always won.
When I go shopping with friends I am always the first one to be over it. I find trying on clothes, taking things off and on and off and on, really tiring. I always get sweaty. I find stores that aren’t organized properly to my aesthetic to be wearying to sort through. As a result, as a shopper for clothes, shoes and the like, I am both deft and impulsive.
But put me at a farmers’ market, a larder, a grocery store, an Asian market or a tienda and I will methodically go down each and every aisle and scrutinize, poke and ogle every, single item. I can linger forever. And when shopping for food stuffs I am neither deft nor impulsive.
This past weekend I stayed mostly over at Fred’s place on the Eastside. On Saturday we rode our bikes to the Silverlake Farmers’ Market. We started out at the western end of it and ambled, slowly, through each and every stall – even the non-food related ones. I even found an old copy of Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in The Lake for six bucks. We grabbed a couple of iced americanos, a bunch of carrots, a pound of wax beans, some sprouted broccolini, a demi-baguette, and three beautiful heirloom tomatoes. I carefully packed our tiny bounty into our baskets and we rode on.
The next day, after being super lazy, we decided to go on a late afternoon bike ride. This time we took Besito with us and rode in the other direction and ended up in a sweet little nook of Echo Park peppered with shops and markets and people. There I discovered the most adorable, teeny, tiny little neighborhood green grocer called Cookbook. They sell meats, cheese, bread, fruit, veggies, coffee, olives, cornichons, sweets, and some fresh prepared foods. I was in heaven. My teeny, tiny heaven.
And so there I picked up a small ball of burrata, some fresh strozzapreti, and some caramel ice cream. Yes. Caramel ice cream. Again, I carefully packed our even tinier bounty into my basket, so as not to crowd Besito in Fred’s basket and we quickly rode home. We couldn’t have that caramel ice cream melting on us. Yes. Caramel ice cream.
Food-wise we had a bunch of stuff to work with. We also had our usual Sunday evening plans to watch Mad Men and then Game of Thrones #nerdalert. It was a warm day and a warm evening. I took inventory.
I noticed that I had brought with me some shopping from my garden; dandelion greens, kale and a cornucopia of fresh herbs.
Then things came together. After a weekend of casual food shopping we made a delcious meal incorporating elements from all of our stops. We went alfresco with zebra tomato, pistou basil and burrata crostini during Mad Men and a dandelion green, white bean, and tuna salad for Game of Thrones. All of this we paired with a couple of rosés from Domaine LA. And, of course, we capped off the evening with a couple spoon fulls each of that caramel ice cream. Yes. Caramel ice cream.
Me – I guess I DO like shopping. Hell, I’m a shopasaurus. I did buy a particularly special pair of shoes somewhat recently - not at Thom McCann. But, I guess mostly it just depends on what I’m shopping for.
Zebra Tomato, Pistou Basil and Burrata Crostini
1 baguette, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 Zebra Tomatoes (any color) sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 lb fresh Burrata Cheese
1 bunch of Pistou Basil, chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper
Toast or grill the slices of baguette and brush with olive oil. Rub toasts with cloves of garlic.
Assemble beginning with slices of tomatoes and then a dollop of burrata and a sprinkle of the basil. Top with a droplet of olive oil, salt & pepper.
Two years ago: Potato Salad with Creme Fraiche, Mint & Basil