I like little gourmet items. Nothing big or fancy. To me, spending $22 bucks on a huge block of parmesan cheese is a splurge. But, one that makes me really happy. Rustic places have always warmed my heart with soulful pieces of culinary delight. Rosemont Bakery on Brighton Ave. in Portland warmed me from head to toe for like an hour today. Just to walk into this place is like sheer heaven. It smells divine. To the right, immediately upon arrival is an array of fresh local vegetables that you wouldn’t even imagine could be possible. Beautiful crimini & trumpet mushrooms, artichoke heads which are nice and tight, thick asparagus spears, bountiful herbs. I could go on and on. To the left is the wine with thoughtful notes scattered about which direct you to feel safe buying a nine dollar bottle of wine because they are telling you it drinks like a thirty. Continuing on there is an amazing cheese spread with ricotta like I have never seen available anywhere else, mozzarella cheese that melts in the mouth instantly, soft fontina, again, I could go on and on. Then there are refrigerators with smaller gems like freshly made sandwiches, raw milk, olives and all sorts of tiny things that make my tummy dance in delight. The real gem, however, was the meat counter which features a butcher so informed, so down to earth, so down and dirty with the animals that I almost could not believe it. To start, he offers me a slice of goat prosciutto. Something I have never heard of but was incredibly tasty. He literally carved a piece off the leg upon my acceptance. I immediately asked him for some to go, I mean, how could I not. Then he goes on to tell me about where and how he gets the meat in the store. I mean, this is real stuff happening here. This is fresh. This is being one with the place where our food is derived. I bought ground beef, ribs, pork chops and I ordered my leg of lamb for Easter. We spoke for a few more moments in which he told me about living in Italy and creating a curing space in his basement. I wanted to hug him. Maybe I should have. I wandered around the store for almost an hour and I spent way more money than maybe I should have but I got things like organic cocoa powder which made my bouchons taste like heaven tonight and salami that looks just like it should. Fatty and slightly hard to chew. I purchased a deep and colorful olive oil, harissa, a spice from North Africa and Saigon cinnamon, which smells so different from any cinnamon I have ever put my nose to.
After I paid for all my treasures, I felt so complete walking out of there with four filled to the brim brown paper bags. It’s rare that when I food shop I feel that whole but this afternoon I smiled to myself.
In a world where everything is getting overpriced and pretentious, I marvel at places like this. It’s so basic and fancy in its own way, I love that about it. I love that it feels like mine.
Take your butts there this weekend. You will see what I am talking about.