Cheese and feelin' good in my neighborhood

We had some friends over for lunch yesterday.  They're hiring my husband to help them remodel  their home and wanted to look at his sketches, so we could even write off the whole meal.  I made raclette (which is a fancy way of saying awesome melted cheese on top of roasted new potatoes) which gave me a great excuse to check out Antonelli's, a new cheese shop in town. (It's next door to Dolce Vita, a great gelato and panini shop.  It was hard to not stop off there as well)

Saturday was a GORGEOUS day and I was actually able to go grocery shopping without the kids, so I was in a pretty darn good mood.  And then, just as I was almost to the shop, one of my favorite songs came on my ipod:  Al Green's version of "I Can't Get Next to You."  Take a minute just to get in the mood of my story by listening here.

I've got to do a little side note to explain how great of timing this is.  Lately when making breakfast tacos at home, my husband will let a little cheese ooze over to the pan and get all nice and toasty/burnt, which tastes amazing.  So amazing that when I eat it, a little Al Green soundtrack starts playing in my head, and I'm not just saying this so I can attempt to sound quirky.  It's very real. Al Green = yummy melted/burnt/toasty cheese.

So my good mood went to great mood as I walked into the shop.  Good thing, because the place was jamming and it took a while to get service.  But the owners are really amazing and nice and made everyone feel comfortable while they waited.

My turn, and as luck would have it, they had raclette cheese (not everyone carries it, and I've often had to go all over town to find it, even when living in bigger cities like LA and San Francisco). However, they didn't have a cheese deli slicer and raclette's impossible to cut in thin even slices on my own. So, alas, I had to go to Central Market instead. I still recommend going there, because you probably won't ever need a deli slicer for the yummy cheese you can get here.

Central Market shopping sans kids is still a treat.  Besides knowing that they carry raclette cheese and will happily deli slice it for me, I also got to get some bulk spices.  I can't express how much joy I get by visiting their bulk spice department.  Regardez, s'il vous plaît:

You can get the same amount of spices that are in spice jars for a fraction of the cost.  I'll get a couple tablespoons of something, and it will be like $0.05.   Here's how much a nice amount of thyme cost:

Yep, that's 18 cents. Every time you try a recipe and it calls for garam masala and you don't want to spend $8 on a spice you'll probably not use again for a long time, just head to CM.

Just to complete the yuppie story, I also bought pâté and truffle butter. Which weren't that expensive, but it all made me feel like the post I did the other day might be on to something when it comes to Austinites' spending habits.