Epicurean Quest

The dogs and I set out on an epicurean quest yesterday, because after the Cheese Tour on Sunday, I have been itching to have friends over for wine, cheese, fancy olives, charcuterie and great crusty bread. We purchased some wonderful cheeses on the tour, but I needed to find out where locally I could purchase the other items.

We drove in a big loop, first stopping at Stannard Farm stand in Cambridge.  I picked up some veggies, and they have their own maple, honey and sundries, but no bread.

Then we headed to Yushak’s Market in Shushan – I know they sell quality meats so I thought they might carry prosciutto, salamis… but they do not.  They had one loaf of bread from Murray Hill Bakery – but I wasn’t familiar with them and it was a little too firm for my liking, and so, disappointed, we moved on.

Diversion along the way, I pulled into Woodlands Cemetery.  I love cemeteries – my favorite is Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Belmont, MA, because it is also an arboretum – but I had never been compelled to pull into this one before.  It is a small, flat plot with some basic headstones, surrounded by chain link fence, period.  At the back of this seemingly boring cemetery was a little dirt road hidden behind the trees.  “Interesting” I said out-loud, and up I drove, rounding a corner to discover the woods opened up to a huge cemetery.  The road twisted up and up and up through gorgeous headstones, obelisks and tombs and from the top there was a stunningly beautiful view of the Green Mountains. I WILL return many times.

Back to the quest and back to Cambridge, miracle of miracles, Common Ground Cafe & Bakery was open!  I have only ever caught that place open once, so I asked what their hours were:  M-TH 11:00AM-8:00PM, FR 11:00AM-3:00PM, Closed Saturday & Sunday.  So they do keep regular hours, just not the hours you would expect.  The place is gorgeous – we’ll have to go back and sit for a meal sometime.  They have a bakery in the back so I bought a loaf of Rosemary Olive Sourdough Bread.

Next I hit the Cambridge Food Co-Op.  I love the Co-Op, but I don’t shop there often because, to quote the great Jimmy McMillan, their prices are “too d*mn high.”  But I knew they had an amazing cheese selection, so I thought I could find the other items on my list.  They had no charcuterie but they did have some nice fancy olives and many loaves of that Murray Hill Bakery bread that just came in that day so I was game to try a loaf of Granny Omi bread.  The Bakery I am familiar with, Round House Bakery, delivers their breads to the Co-Op on Wednesdays and Fridays – not Tuesdays – so I’ll have to go back for those.

The Village Market in Cambridge sells bread every Sunday at the Farmer’s Market, so I thought I would stop by their store to see what they had… but they were closed when I drove by…  at Noon on a Tuesday.

I’m telling you, the country is a weird place.  You need to keep a database of all the different (and unique) schedules for all the places you like to frequent.  And DON’T forget to call just before you plan to leave the house to ask “will you be open when I get there twenty minutes from now?”  Because I can’t tell you how many times we’ve shown up at a place, when we thought it was open, only to find a sign on the door “back in 25” or at the Post Office at 11:30AM the other day “closed for lunch.”  Very very frustrating.  The city is about immediate gratification – anything you want at any time of the day.  The country is about delayed gratification – nothing is ever available when you want it or when it’s convenient.

P.S. – the Granny Omi bread was excellent – wood-fired, flour-dusted crust, perfectly charred in spots, and it was a sourdough with beautiful large holes in the interior.  We had it with Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog (purchased prior to the cheese tour) – a ripened goat’s milk cheese – like chevre on the interior, a rinded brie on the exterior and bands of vegetable ash running through it.  Yum!!  Thank you to Steve and Susie for introducing us to this cheese last September.

P.P.S. – The epicurean quest distracted me from cleaning up my piles and planting the lavender… so I will do this today as I mourn the closing of our pool.

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One thought on “Epicurean Quest

  1. Ha! I knew there was a reason we’re friends. I love cemeteries, so do the girls and Jim. We stop at cemeteries that look especially old or interesting and collect names for stories we might write and imagine what the people were like in life. Names like Thomas Story, Mary Current, Emma Engleking, Minnie Luckstead, Frances Wineking, Charles Brainard, and Olive Tarbocks. I wish I had the picture I took of the ornate gate in front of one cemetery. You could look out of it, down a long country road and it seemed like the literal “end of the road”, but from our position was like the starting point of a new journey. The landscape, at sunset, looked like a pastel chalk sketch. We had lunch and wandered around for a long time. There was a story of one man, Samuel McMachlin “killed by a tornado” and a few day’s later his son, Annon, 8 years old, died most likely from injuries from the tornado. Then, his teenage son died. We couldn’t find the wife/mother, so assumed she remarried. Those tombstones had the precise number of years, months, and days the person lived.

    I also have been interested in cheese lately and wish I’d been with you on your cheese tour. I’m eating low sugar (15 grams a day give or take), and I’ve been enjoying cheese. My friends and I went to an orchestra/rock concert at a park near the Mississippi River, and I brought a sage cheese that everyone ignored and thought was “funky” but I liked it. Jim would love you instantly for your appreciation of good sourdough.

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