Food Shopping: World Market & Williams Sonoma

8 Feb

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Time for another food-venture in shopping! This weekend, to prepare for a Mardi Gras-fest with some DC friends (details and Jambalaya recipe pending!), I ventured to the foreign land of Friendship Heights — which really does sound like a foreign land — to hit up two favorites. First, World Market supposedly had a killer collection of Mardi Gras goodies. Secondly, Williams-Sonoma is always worth a perusal.

And, thankfully, I took my camera! Here’s a fun round-up of what I found at both stores. Let’s laissez les bons temps roulez at two fun chef-friendly outposts.

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At World Market, I found the Mardi Gras Mecca. Determined to whip up either King Cake or Beignets for the party I was attending that night, I found a treasure trove of semi-homemade goodies. The Praline Bread Pudding Mix looked divine, but in the end, I had to pick up a box of Cafe du Monde Beignet Mix. The recipe? 2 cups of mix + water. Hard to beat! Plus, the mix itself was only $3 or $4. Puffy little pastry pillows, here I come.

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King Cake! Complete with plastic baby, no less. This easy mix required a bit of rising-and-kneading labor, but in the grand scheme of things, a homemade King Cake cost little more than $5 and some time. Mardi Gras mixes FTW!

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Chicory coffee, anyone? Cafe du Monde’s dark, tasty brew is ready for the purchasing at World Market. They also featured a number of additional flavors and styles, including chicory coffee in decaf and a classic French roast. Dunk a beignet or two into the mug, and you can transport yourself to a streetside N’awlins cafe.

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Abita, which — fun fact that I didn’t know — is semi-local to New Orleans, has a Mardi Gras Bock seasonal beer that was perfect for our Fat Tuesday Fete. If you’re looking to experiment with your brews, but don’t want to pay oodles for some poser-riffic fancypants beer, give this easygoing ale* a try. Light, frothy, spicy and fun? Sounds like the perfect way to wash down some jambalaya and king cake. Glug glug glug. (That was me, drinking the Abita. Of course.)

*Yes, beer-loving friends, I know that bock is different from a traditional ale. Beer-Lover Card still intact!

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Now, here’s where shiz gets real. When I spent a semester in the UK, one of my favorite treats (that I could actually afford — expatriate-on-a-budget for the win!) was a McVitie’s Hobnob. Oaty, chocolatey, delicious-y (?), they were perfect with a hot cuppa tea. Or breakfast. I wasn’t picky. World Market, among its many furniture and decor-related charms (map-covered giant letters? Um, YES.), also has a stellar supply of consumable food goodies from across the US and around the world. I spent a long time debating between buying a few sleeves of these “digestive biscuits” (tee hee, British people.) and a slew of other tasty treasures.

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My last stop in World Market was the kitchen supply area, where I snapped two pics including the first shot of this entry. If you scroll back up, you’ll see a large display table covered in ceramic crocks, each stuffed to the brim with kitchen goodies. These little guys were hiding innocuously on the table, and while I’m more than happy with my Cow Timer, he may or may not need a growing menagerie of friends. Whooo, whoooo should be on my counter-top?

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Next, my food-shopping adventures took me to a nearby outpost of Williams-Sonoma. Known for its high-end cookware (Le Creuset is a heavy presence, including the new “Quince” line shown above), gourmet food products and sophisticated feel, it’s more of a “window shopping” than “shopping shopping” experience for someone on my budget. Still, inspiration can come from any source, and I did come away with some tasty goodies.

Fun fact: the 2nd picture above is a Moroccan clay pot called a Tagine, and it’s used for cooking that country’s oh-so-flavorful dish of the same name. While this “floral mosaic” version was a bit (cough cough way more than a bit cough cough) out of my budget, it was fun to see such vivid colors and designs on a piece of cookware.

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I never expected to find comic-friendly kindred spirits in Williams-Sonoma, but I was pleasantly surprised to find these cookie and cupcake decorating goodies. A special edition cakelet pan that’s shaped like Thor’s head? A cookie featuring Spider Man swinging on his web? Unreal! Want to buy your own? Check the Williams Sonoma web site; if products are sold out online, in-store is always a great option.

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My little wooden mortar-and-pestle is as old as the hills (well, if the hills are 8 years old), and I couldn’t help noticing these lovely replacements. At least as inspirations, given their $40 price tags! Perhaps I’ll find a knock-off version at Target or in a smaller kitchen store.

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Finally, these super-adorable cupcake toppers and shelves upon shelves of cook books had me drooling. Conversation heart cupcakes? Couldn’t be sweeter. And I loved the wide variety of books on the Williams-Sonoma shelves, from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking to Bryan Voltaggio’s latest tome.

Well, that’s it for this round-up of food shopping! Tune in next time as I continue to drool over all things food-related. Just not literally, and not on the merch itself. Might get myself kicked out of a store.

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