Friday, July 19, 2013


Those of us who love food have been driving by, wondering, imagining, obsessing about the opening of this strange, new US Foods Chef'Store.  What is it?  When will it be open so I can check it out?  Will I cross the threshold and completely lose my mind?  What is this gigantic former Piggly Wiggly going to contain?  The giddy excitement was becoming unbearable.

Well, it's finally open and I was able to make a small foray into this enormous culinary mecca.  In a word?  Whoa!  It's amazing.  Obviously, this is the place to shop if you own a restaurant or a catering company.  I saw the equivalent of a sheetrock bucket full of soy sauce, a gallon of olive oil, cases of avocados and every type of to-go box known to man.  But, there are still items here that fit into the everyday domestic kitchen.  Unfortunately, I only had about a half hour, so I didn't even make it through all the aisles or the meat department.


I did have time to find two super awesome products. Caperberries and white truffle oil.

I have an intense love of briny, sour, pickled foods.  I crave Claussen's pickles and have actually gotten in my car to drive straight to Publix.  I mean, when it hits, I want a pickle and I want it now.  (Here's where the husband makes some pickle innuendo joke!) I love capers on just about anything, including on a spoon.  Yes, I've been known to eat them right out of the jar.  But, caperberries are a whole other matter.  The first time I had them was about 30 years ago when my family was in NYC.  We discovered them in Dean & DeLuca and all went crazy for them.  Try finding them in Columbia, SC.  Virtually impossible except in the occasional gourmet shop where they've been priced as if they are Beluga caviar. Not anymore!  I got this huge jar at Chef'Store for 6 bucks and some change.  

As  you can see, I've already made a pretty significant dent in them.  I admit it!

Now, truffle oil is another thing that those of us here in the South simply didn't grow up with.  I've heard of it, of course, but it wasn't until about 2 years ago that I finally got to try it.  My pickle-joking husband gave me a little bottle of it for my birthday.  As tacky as it is, I had to know how much it cost.  $22 for a bottle that was probably less than one fluid ounce.  (Remember those shops with Beluga prices?).  Well, here at the glorious new Chef'Store, I got 9 oz. of white truffle oil for about $11.  I seized the moment, you know, carpe diem'd it.  I was so excited, I practically ran to the cashier. 

So, now I am armed for truffled risotto, truffled eggs, and one of my favorites, truffle-drizzled french fries!  Seriously, if you haven't ever tried that, you must give it a try.  

This store is really fascinating.  The prices are more than good and if you do need large quantities, it's there.  But, you can still shop for yourselves.  You just might need to split with friends.  For instance, a case of avocados (48) is only $19.98.  That's $0.42 cents per avocado.  The grocery stores act like they're doing you a favor when they put them on sale for $1 apiece.  So, get 5 or 6 friends to split one case and for roughly $4 each, you all walk away with lots of avocados.  If anyone is interested in going in on this deal with me, let me know.  Really.  I'm serious.

The US Foods Chef'Store is located on St. Andrews Rd, right off I-26.  For you Irmese, that's the old Piggly Wiggly on the hill.  For those of you who can't find your pantry without using your GPS, that's 655 St. Andrews Road, 29210. Block out an hour or so and have fun!

1 comment:

  1. FYI - you can put avocados in the fridge BEFORE you put them on the counter to ripen and they'll last weeks. I only need to split a box with one person, and with the way my family eats 'em we could probably eat our own box just fine. Not entirely a health food store (MSG by the bottle?!?!) but they've got some great deals on some great stuff. We're big fans.



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