Thursday, November 11, 2010

Harris Teeter is going to bankrupt me if I'm not careful

Oh, Harris Teeter, that gorgeous, gleaming North Carolina-based supermarket chain, how you entice me with your delicious cheeses and dessert items. Ever since I picked up some extra work in Howard County this semester, I have made it a habit to swing by the Columbia Harris Teeter location after work on Fridays.

I would move into this place if I could.

I know: yes, it is just a supermarket. But there's something about going for the first time into a supermarket chain that you've never entered or seen before. I felt the same way the first time I ever entered a Wegman's (sometime in 2006), a Whole Foods (that would be 2004) or a Trader Joe's (waaaaaay back in '97 after moving to SoCal, back when the East Coast was largely TJ's-free).

This is a massive supermarket, and really, you could just never leave this place if you could get away with it. Just as with Wegman's, which carries a plethora of Northeastern items we can't find too easily in Maryland, Harris Teeter does the same thing for us coming from the other direction: a variety of Southern and specifically Southeastern brands we don't often find here. This includes not only big brands of everything from fry mixes and varieties of cornmeal to the whole Dixie Crystals product line, but also smaller, independent brands. Thanks to my newly-found willingness to try the free samples when offered instead of running in the opposite direction, a new favorite of mine is Augusta's Pimento Cheese. Based out of Charlotte, Augusta's Creations specializes in sinful and delicious pimento cheese (check out their online store). Oh dear! It comes in regular and jalapeño. I like hotter. Guess what is in my fridge right now. Go on.

I also must confess an addiction to their bakery section, not far from their section of cheeses chock full of free samples, and next to their deli which is always streaming with people getting sandwiches (unless they opt for the Asian food bar, which even has dim sum). I have become particularly addicted to Harris Teeter's petit fours (12 for $5). I often get a half dozen and devour them in the car before I even get home. If you let them warm up to room temperature, they are luscious. I have tried petit fours from a few area supermarkets. Supermarkets where I have seen petit fours include the Fresh Market, Wegman's and Harris Teeter, and HT's really are at least a half-cut above. Fresh Market's are tasty also. I can take or leave Wegman's petit fours. Not a big fan. I'll spend my money at Wegman's on their delicious $6 mini white cakes with vanilla buttercream frosting instead.

I was first motivated to go there when I found out that they carried a particular favorite brand of mustard that few others in the area carry. I thought it would be much cheaper to buy Raye's Mustard right off the shelf than mail ordering a jar all the way from Maine (Yes, a proudly Yankee mustard available only in a Tarheel supermarket chain. Go fig). I couldn't find the specific Raye's Mustard that I wanted, but it didn't matter really. I was already hypnotized by all the other stuff they had. By the way, you should see their wall of mustards. It's impressive. I just wish that, among all the boxes of Morton's Salt products and all the containers of kosher salt that they actually carried Morton's Kosher Salt, which was conspicuously absent (perhaps they were just out that day). A negligible criticism for a supermarket I'm liking more and more with each visit.


Nanc Twop said...

'their section of cheeses chock full of free samples, and next to their deli which is always streaming with people getting sandwiches (unless they opt for the Asian food bar, which even has dim sum)''

Sounds Yum
(Right there you're going to bring Harris Tweeter a stampede of your followers... they should give you a discount!)

wb John, btw :)

John said...

I know, right? Nah they don't need my help! Thanks :D