I was recently contacted by Nicole Bailey-Williams, the Queen of Corn at Capital Corn & Confections. This long-time English teacher and published author, embarked on this career after being inspired by a popcorn shop recommended by her publicist while on a book tour. That visit led to a food revelation and Bailey-Williams brought the idea home where she founded her gourmet popcorn company. She also does party favors (personal or corporate) and will even bring a multi-flavor popcorn bar to your special event. I took her up on her offer to send me a couple of flavors to sample, they are pictured here. Besides enjoying the popcorn (especially that Cookies & Cream), I like that her name and website url (trentonpopcorn.com) “promote” our state capital, which is so in need of any positive spin it can get. Next time I see Capital Corn, I’ll make a point of trying the Gingered Caramel flavor. At holidays, I’d go for Peppermint Bark. Look for them at Marrazzo’s Thriftway (Ewing), Pennington Quality Market, and Kennedy’s Cheesecakes (Hamilton), or order online. Now I’ll digress by getting up on my soapbox: Remember Trenton’s glory days of nice department stores and fine Italian restaurants? Sigh. One of my private dreams is that Trenton can some day be a magnet for people throughout the region again. The city has for years been a sort of arts incubator, maybe it can do the same for fledgling food entrepreneurs? Remember, “Trenton Makes.” A big problem for fledgling or smaller food entrepreneurs (and I hear this from them all the time) is the lack of available production space, it has to be health department approved, so there are lots of regulations and it’s not cheap to create. A large, shared-space facility is important to grow these businesses.
Speaking of crunch, I also recently enjoyed a new salad at Lucy’s Kitchen and Market, their Chinese Chicken Salad. Loved the very fresh and crispy Romaine, little rice noodles, and sesame seed chicken.
And, it’s so cute in its classic Chinese takeout container. Since I took mine home, I dumped it all out on a plate and had a great lunch. And, oh, these cute deviled eggs they make, a mix of plain and curried. I do think this will be the summer of the egg. And radish…
Also, the new grocery store, Mrs. Green’s Natural Market (a regional chain), is now open in the old Acme spot in Princeton Junction (West Windsor). The community has sorely missed a market in this space, so I hope they settle in nicely and do well. I especially like their dairy section (Ronnybrook non-homogenized milk), a nice selection of fermented foods (so interesting!), and their produce is ALL organic. They have some nice meats too (including kosher), seafood, and their own sausages. The little pear tart in my shopping bag photo below was also quite good. Areas to work on: Flip store layout so you enter at produce. Every other store in the area is laid out (more or less) right to left, produce through frozen, but this one is the opposite, and the carts are outside the door leading to the frozen aisle. Not! One of their checkers said the original plan was to have customers enter at the produce door, but for some reason that didn’t happen. Did they try putting the carts outside the produce entry rather than the frozen entry? As it is, I didn’t even see produce on my first visit, since I didn’t have any on my little list, because when you approach it from the interior of the store, it’s pretty near invisible. And that’s a shame, because their produce is nice. And, as I said ALL organic. The only other place in the area that offers that is the Whole Earth Center. Also, they need larger checkout counters, because there’s nowhere to put items once they’re scanned by the checker, and they need some cart corrals in the parking lot. The inefficiency of the checkout counters is a biggie, because we all know that New Jerseyans are chronically in a tearing rush, especially when on the way home. These guys are likely learning that the hard way, this being their first NJ store.