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Chasing Rock Stars at Fairway Market

Fairway Market Foodie Rock Stars offer up some tasty samples and simple recipes at the new Fairway Market in Woodland Park, NJ.

Have you shopped one of the newest food stores in Northern New Jersey yet? Recently I drove a short 12 minutes from my home in Montclair to a newly opened Fairway Market in Woodland Park. I’m always in the mood to meet Rock Stars and I’d heard Fairway Market was the place to find a select few! And sure enough, when I arrived the Fairway Foodie Rock Stars and Friends were in the building!

As soon as I rolled my cart in the front door I spotted Uncle Vinnie; he was at the end of the main produce aisle, just past the fresh-by-the-pound leafy lettuces and almost across from the asparagus. As I got closer I heard Uncle Vinnie, Fairway’s key produce vendor (and Rock Star Friend), talk about the importance of using the freshest salad ingredients; he mixed ingredients for a salad while he yakked in English and Italian to the gathering crowd. In a mere couple of minutes Uncle Vinnie made his “Special Salad.” He dished it up in generous-sized containers so we could have a taste. The addition of fresh parsley, oregano and basil put the leafy salad beyond “tasty” for me. I retired to a spot near the organic potatoes and savored each bite!

Fortified, I rolled into the bakery. With no Rock Star in sight I paused at the selection of mini whoopee pies, shortbreads, and thumbprint cookies. They looked yummy, but I put them down. Why? Because I couldn’t find any portion/calorie information on the packaging. It was tough to walk away empty-handed, but I did. Fairway, take note! Portion and calorie information is a must-see for many of us.

I passed the deli case with its variety of pre-prepped meals and stared longingly at the cheese monger, who sure looked and talked like a Rock Star as he offered generous samples of a couple of different cheeses. I wanted a taste, but I decided before I walked into Fairway that I would limit my sampling! Then not two seconds later I rolled by the café and snagged a sample of a sandwich that featured the store’s fresh-made daily mozzarella, which was moist with a nice, light salty finish. So much for limits! BTW: The café offered great looking selections of ethnic cuisines and fresh-chopped salads.

Looking slightly ahead I spotted a small crowd near the fish counter. I parked my cart and walked up: Store-made shrimp salad! As I speared a full-sized shrimp and bit of celery I struck up a conversation with the man standing near the sample table. I wondered out loud how the salad was made. He told me Fairway steams fresh shrimp then mixes it with Hellman’s mayo and celery. Simple recipe! I popped the shrimp combo in my mouth and chewed. No rubbery rebound. No gassy odor. Just sweet tender shrimp, a crunch of celery and a light mayo dressing. I tucked a container into my shopping cart. And the man I spoke with? The knowledgeable one? None other than Fairway Foodie Rock Star Tony.

Call me crazy, but I had fun food shopping at Fairway Market. The signage for many items it sells tells a story, draws me in and makes me want to try, say, one of the hundreds (I’m pretty sure that’s correct) of olive oils on offer from around the world. I noticed organic, vegetarian and vegan offerings throughout the store; and the products are tucked in among the “regular” food offerings in the same category, rather than sequestered. The layout makes it much easier for me to grab them and go. I’m looking forward to tracking down some more Fairway Foodie Rock Stars in the near future!

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