When my alarm pierced the air at 4:00 am on Wednesday morning, I was fairly unprepared for a long, two-hour haul to the grocery store.
I can now tell you with the utmost enthusiasm, it was worth it.
Now before you wonder why I was out of my mind enough to hit the highway before sunrise for the sake of a shopping cart, let me set the stage. This Wednesday, February 3rd, was the grand opening of the flagship grocery store, Main & Vine.
In the heart of Gig Harbor, Washington, in a beautifully repurposed QFC, is now a bright, friendly neighborhood grocery boasting local artisan products alongside recognizable brands. Hoping to bring a warm community center to the town, Main & Vine brings everyone together around the thing we all love most: food.
Unlike traditional store layouts, fresh produce and prepared foods took center stage, anchored by the store’s ‘sweet spot’ – an operating kitchen demoing a meal, highlighting what’s for dinner.
It was busy. Bustling with eager local shoppers and a veritable army of excited executives and employees, it was easy to see that this was a project of time, effort and love that the team was thrilled to share. And there were plenty of happy folks to share it with. Navigating the parking lot alone was like playing Tetris in a minivan. Shoppers pushed full carts up and down the aisles and cars tucked into parking spots in rapid succession.
Big balloons and swinging jazz lit up the entrance. Immediately my sleepy, drive-tired mood was replaced with a tingle of excitement. Is there anything more fun than watching a community light up over food culture?
(Of course, I’m sure the coffee played a good part in my excitement. Cutter’s Point, a local Washington roaster and coffee company, is featured here, slingin’ lattes to the happy, hungry masses.)
To be truthful, I didn’t know where to begin. Everything had the enchantment of new, charming excitement to it. I had an empty shopping cart in front of me, begging to be filled.
Drawn to the breads, pastries and gleaming deli counter, I forayed into the fray. I was impressed—although there was approachable familiarity to all of the store’s features, there were unique and intriguing displays that made me grin. The bagel display, for instance, had me at hello.
The deli counter was also impressive. I’ve found myself pleasantly surprised at how knowledgeable those behind the counter were.
I was handed sample upon sample of paper-thin prosciutto and hearty salami, courtesy of local charcuterie purveyor Olympia Provisions (of which I am already a huge fan.)
The prosciutto pictured below, by the way, was awesome. Sliced as thinly as possible on razor-sharp equipment, it only proved that early morning is a very acceptable time to enjoy cured meats.
Maybe I’m in the small percentile of crazy gastronomes, but brand-new food features always suit my fancy. (I woke up before dawn to drive to a grand opening of a grocery store. Take it for what it’s worth.) But let me impress my excitement upon you once more for what ultimately was my favorite experience.
Side note: if you’re not in the Pacific Northwest and can only envision what I’m talking about, cross your fingers that someday a Main & Vine will open near you. If you are a PNW local, next time you’re hitting up Seattle, make a slight southern detour.
But I digress.
The seafood counter was busy and brimming with smiling people, customers and employees alike. But as far as I’m concerned, it was the feature just a yard or two away from the iced glass of the fresh seafood that caught my eye.
A large, waist-high cooler, slotted with sliding handles, held an assortment of flash-frozen seafood and sides. Small bay scallops, shrimp in pesto, creamy risotto, and five-grain sides all stood at perfect attention, equipped with small scoops to fill the waiting pile of plastic to-go containers. Essentially a frozen bulk-foods style approach to premade meals, these seafood options were nitro-frozen, eliminating the need to add the usual frozen food preservatives.
It is, in my opinion, an awesome way to stock up on dinners (or sides) for the week, ready to eat in forward, cook-from-frozen simplicity.
Even better, they taste really good. As a premade food skeptic, I reserved all judgement until I could prove their worth over my stove later that night and was actually incredibly surprised.
By the time I made my way through the massive lines, my cart was laden with all of my favorite things.
Prosciutto, thin and silky.
Salami (several kinds.)
Cheese. Lots of cheese, most of it local.
Unhomogenized milk from Washington’s Twin Brook Creamery, classically bottled in glass, thick cream waiting on top.
Honeycrisp apples larger than both fists put together.
Marbled steak. Raw local honey. Mandarins with stems. Daisies wrapped in brown paper.
I may have gone a little crazy.
Of course, putting these things to the test is the true mark of a successful shopping trip. I returned home to fill my kitchen with a bounty of fruits and flowers.
And then, of course, I did what I do best. I started cooking.
Without further ado, let me pass along my sweet and simple takeaway from this excursion!
Honey Nectarine & Olive Oil Crumble
3-5 large stone fruits (In my case, nectarines, although plums and peaches are also great options)
2 T raw honey
1 1/2 t sugar
1/4 c water
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c olive oil
- In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, oil and vanilla. Mix (preferably by hand or in a food processor) until it all comes together. The result should be crumbly and slightly sandy, but able to form a nice crumbled texture. If you’re having trouble getting the dough to stick together, add a few tablespoons of water at a time until desired texture is reached.
- In a small saucepan heat diced fruit, honey, sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and let thicken until fruit is soft and syrupy.
- Remove from heat. Pour fruit mix evenly into one large pan (a pie dish will do nicely) or several small tins.
- Top evenly with crumble.
- Bake at 375 for 8-15 minutes until crumble has turned golden. Remove, let cool.
- Serve and enjoy!
Interested in checking it out? Visit Main & Vine here:
5010 Point Fosdick Dr NW, Gig Harbor, WA, 98335
or on Instagram
And check out the full gallery experience here!