Russo's Food Store, located on the Watertown-Newton border, isn't a perfect place for a parent. The store is packed on a Sunday. The carts are so small that it is impossible to bring two toddlers. It can be chaotic at best. Yet if I could replicate this store, I would do so in a minute: it is my idea of food heaven. One of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday is to bring my almost 4 year old and to talk about all the wonderful and varied produce that we see. We go home and try to fashion a meal out of our selection.
I love so much about this place. I adore the fact that it challenges my food knowledge each time.
I don't know what to do with the glorious Buddha's Hand, have never tasted a Forelle pear and can only wonder how I would use Methi leaf or tiny beech mushrooms, Cha Foo, potato leaf, zapote, Thai Okra banana flowers or sharon fruit. The colors make me smile, especially on a gray winter day. They have products that I simply can't find elsewhere: 3 types of beets, pasta in all sorts of shapes, 6 types of potatoes, meyer lemons, huge Scamorata cheeses, mini squash, and thick, chewy corn gorditas by Cinco de Mayo.
And so much of the food is local: fresh tofu from Chang Shing Tofu company, my favorite Taza chocolate bars, homemade and luscious burratta cheeses from Fiore Di Nonna as well as produce from local farms. The selection of cheeses makes me swoon as I inhale the smell of goat cheese from France and gruyere from Switzerland. I have never even begun to take advantage of their meat counter, full of fresh proscuitto and artisan salamis. What I can't fathom is that despite how much I put in my shopping cart, I always pay half of what I have elsewhere. Ah...if only it didn't take me about 40 minutes to get there.
Sometimes I go and just meander through the aisles, randomly putting in arugula, kumquats or fresh ricotta. Other times I bring shopping lists to create dreamy salads or stir fries. But what I love most is the smile on my boys' faces as I display my bounty on the kitchen counter at home.
Russo and Sons, 560 Pleasant Street, Watertown, 617-923-1500