Let me preface this whole post by saying, I have a thing for grocery stores. It is weird, I know. When I was a kid, my favorite thing was to join my parents on their weekly shopping trip. I loved checking out every part of the store. To this day, I love wandering around grocery stores thinking of all the things I can make.
Well, my favorite grocery store is here! It’s HERE! Mariano’s! For those of you outside of the Illinois/Wisconsin area, Mariano’s is a grocery store that recently made its way to my neck of the woods (no more driving to the city). It is like nothing I have ever seen before (for those that live in the upstate New York area, the closest comparison would probably be a Wegmans).
Mariano’s is a full service grocery store that carries all your favorite brands with prices comparable to other stores in the area, but it is unique with all the amenities they offer.
First stop, the wonderful bakery(two words: Chocolate Croissants).
The store also has great amenities that include gorgeous floral department, a fantastic deli, amazing produce department with an excellent organic section, and a fish and meat department that will prepare your fish and meat however you want for FREE while you wait. I think next time I am in a hurry, I will have them cook up some fajita mix, while I run and grab tortillas. Healthy dinner, on the go, and much healthier and less expensive than eating out or grabbing fast food!
Also, did I mention the do it yourself trail mix bar? Brian’s favorite trail mix is M&M’s, peanuts, and raisins. I surprised him with some trail mix, and made it just the way he likes it with extra M&M’s. Also, all do it yourself trail mix was a dollar off.
It also has a prepared food section with things to take home for dinner like homemade chicken pot pies or home made meatloaf. All you have to do is take it home and heat it up.
What I love most about Mariano’s so far is the convenience. They have a Hot Bar to pick up lunch or dinner, a gorgeous salad bar, (you can eat in the seating area or take home). Mariano’s also has a cafe (their French Kiss latte with Hazelnut and Vanilla is to die far),a smoothie bar, a sushi bar, a gelato bar, and fresh pizzas, BBQ, and sandwiches (the turkey with melted havarti cheese, arugula and apple slices is awesome) all made to order.
Typically, I don’t recommend grocery shopping while hungry, but at Mariano’s it is totally ok! Last Friday, I was able to tour the new store near me, and grab lunch for the kids. They had mac and cheese, fresh veggies, a fruit salad from the salad bar. To finish, I grabbed some fruit smoothies to keep them busy while we did our shopping (the police car shopping cart helped too).
Cheese is probably my favorite food group. My mother’s family is from the part of Ireland (Ballyporeen, County Tipperary) that is like the Wisconsin of Ireland, so it is in my blood to love all things dairy.
As you can imagine, during my tour of Mariano’s I quickly made my way to my favorite part of the store: The Cheese Section (which, coincidentally, is right next wine section my second favorite part of the store). I have never seen a cheese section like this before. They had six year sharp cheddars, smooth and creamy and reasonably priced brie, and a gruyere that was so wonderfully mild, I just HAD to use it in a quiche.
I grabbed a few other things and headed home to make a St. Patrick’s version of a quiche with lots of cheese as a nod to my Irish ancestry.
Erin’s Clover Quiche with Gruyere
1 frozen Pillsbury frozen pie crust
1/4 cup cream, half and half, or milk
2 or 3 scallions chopped
1/3 cup grated gruyere
2 tsp. fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
First, I carefully bent the metal pie tin into the shape of a clover by bending the opposite sides gently inward.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs, and add cream, scallions, salt and pepper and mix until well incorporated. Pour egg mixture into pie crust. Top with cheese and thyme.
Bake for 45 – 55 minutes.
I will be heading to Mariano’s again tomorrow. You know, just to hang out and get some cheese.
I was not paid or perked in anyway. I just love Mariano’s that much.
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