Sunday, 24 June 2012

Mining for Noms in the Mother Lode

Yesterday was a glorious day - not too hot and not too cold - so I went for a drive to check out some delicious spots in the Sierra foothills.

I arrived earlier than expected in Amador City and found the only place open for business to be Andrae's Bakery.  This turned out to be a stroke of luck!  The place smelled wonderful, and the ham and cheese croissant I sampled was just what was needed to keep me going.

Heh, that made me laugh.

Next on the agenda was the Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe.  The woman there was very helpful in offering samples - I think I tried some ten different varieties - and came away with two goat cheeses by Cypress Grove Chevre, Sgt. Pepper and PsycheDillic.  It may not seem like there's all that much to this shop, but everything I tried was varying degrees of marvellous.

Swingle's Meat, with its revolving fiberglass cow (LOVE!) touts itself as the "carnivore's toy store."  And they're not kidding.

You enter, and nothing prepares you for...

Yes, they stare at you a bit accusingly...

...or diffidently refuse to meet your gaze...

 ...but the bacon looked incredible... I had her slice me a pound of the honey-cured under the disapproving glare of beasts from near and far.

They had everything you could want.  And a few things I didn't.

Buffalo burgers?  Yeah, we'll try one of those as well.

These folks have been winnin' prizes for pig since way back.

I loaded up with a roast and some bourbon-marinated kabobs too.  Don't tell my heart.

Pets beware... they might come for you, next... don't be fooled by the "I <3 My Pet" ruse!

And so, dear reader, the hypnotic revolving cow keeps perpetually spinning as we leave this meat paradise, but will lure us back, we are sure...

Moving on to Jackson, wherein lies the Vinciguerra Ravioli Company, located in what looks to be an old drive-in fast food joint.  Their hours of operation are very limited, but the lady manning the place was very friendly and helpful once they finally opened.

I had high hopes based on reviews I'd seen, so I got two kinds of ravioli, meat and pumpkin, and some marinara sauce.  I made the meat ones with the marinara for dinner that night:

I hate to say it, but I was disappointed.  The marinara I found thin and unflavourful, and the ravioli themselves were so delicate that they disintegrated when removing them from the cooking water, despite me being very ginger in my treatment of them; the meat filling was very bland, as well.  Ah well - sorry, Vinciguerra!  I'll hope for better when I try the pumpkin ones.

While in Jackson I took a wander through The Biggest Little Kitchen Store in the Mother Lode aka "home of all those bits and bobs you didn't know you needed until you saw them."  The weird and the wonderful, the "I must have this or I can never cook again" and the "that's the stupidest damned thing I've ever seen" - it's all here!

And finally, winding back home there was the Amador Vintage Market, which was a nice little find in such a small town - their prepared deli food looked yummy, though my hopes for a delicious gelato to finish off the day were dashed when I saw how few flavours they had (all unmarked) and how sadly unappealing it looked, with half of the tubs scraped empty.  Sob.

And now to collapse, and plan the next venture... and the next meal made from the swag I acquired...

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