Last-minute buys for last-minute arrivals

fmchoc1.jpgWhile at the Farm to Market Grocery on South Congress for local eggs and a couple of other items, it was easy to find the small souvenirs of Austin that visitors love. Don’t laugh: one is Ruta Maya Coffee in those burlap sacks. Another is a set of PLACENotes, a sort of boxed deck of cards of Austin local attractions, some very well known and others less so. Since the store opened, these have been restocked several times and always sell out. Yet another find was a chocolate bar (can’t wait to try this) by local Chef Keem, labeled “A little sweet – from a sweet little shop . . . ” and with Guittard dark chocolate, pure vanilla, cherries, pecans, brandy, and a touch of habanero and jalapeno pappers” (can’t wait to beg for a square of this one).starz1.jpg The wrapper for the bar, by the way, besides sporting the additional motto of “eat local chocolate,” is printed on very handsome ecru Southworth (once Eaton) laid paper. I also couldn’t resist a nested set of three Lone Star cookie or canape cutters, which are also great tracing templates for little kids (there were Christmas tree shapes also available).

spoonz1.jpgAt K S Oriental Food Market (1729 East Riverside), the purpose was to restock bamboo salt (Korean parched sea salt). Those wonderful wavy-topped bowls for seafood soup are now sold out (the ones with blue freehand rendering, not transfer prints, of crabs, lobsters, squid, and other denizens of the deep). There are many other tabletop ceramics of interest, though: the smallish blue fish plates make excellent desktop paperclip holders, for instance. There are very sharp plastic-cased knives for three dollars containing one blade and a second fold out with two bottle openers. There are also ceramic bobbleheads of various creatures for the dashboard or back shelf. Having resisted the Benriner slicer stocked at a very decent price, deciding instead to keep using one of those ancient and very dangerous Feemster slicers that used to be found being sold at fairs by the hucksters, we did buy some of these wooden spatulas and mixing spoons, a good deal these days at two bucks apiece. They don’t make rasping or scraping noises in cast-iron or other pans, don’t disturb nonstick cooking surfaces, and are easy to clean with a rubber spatula when being used in a mixing bowl. K S is keeping a very tidy bulletin board outside with many postings of interest to the local Korean community.

These quick dashes were made in hopes of continuing to avoid crowded holiday shopping venues. In that regard, the expedition was not entirely successful, but there was no commercial holiday music at either place, and the shoppers, though numerous, were happy ones.

Update: There was no waiting to sample that bar of chocolate. We can return for an unopened one. This is excellent chocolate, almost like eating just ever so slightly more firm chocolate intemperance.

2 Comments so far

  1. M Sinclair Stevens (unregistered) on December 23rd, 2005 @ 8:52 pm

    They’re bamboo, not wood, aren’t they? At least I have some from Japan that look just the same that are. The round shaped one is a rice paddle.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on December 24th, 2005 @ 12:34 am

    It’s possible that they are, in fact, bamboo. I never thought of that. As I inspect them, I see at intervals on the larger item three (double?) rows of small dots. Could they mark segments of bamboo? The items are very light in weight and neither one has a true bowl; just an end that’s not so thick as the handle, slightly depresssed. They were labeled mostly in Korean (packaging’s now gone), each individually as “mixing spoon.” The short-handled item is not entirely flat, but has a shallow “bowl” of sorts; the other has a long handle with a hole drilled in it and a pointy corner that works well for scraping around the circumference of the bottom of a flat-bottomed bowl or pot. Other items similar to these have come from Mexico via FiestaMart.

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