When I found out that Marx Foods, the online specialty food retailer that supplies restaurants like Alinea and recently caught the attention of Food & Wine magazine, would be opening a brick-and-mortar space, it piqued my interest. There's still plenty of demand for specialty food stores in Seattle, and Marx Foods, which opened yesterday, sounds distinctive.
Since I haven't yet had a chance to swing by the shop (located at 144 Western Ave), I went straight to the source. Below, owner Justin Marx gives us the scoop on some of his favorite local and international food finds.
Midori Farm Dill & Caraway Sauerkraut
"Best kraut ever. Top one of our game sausages with it on a roll and a spread of one of our great mustards and you are in business. It’s made on the farm in Port Townsend by owners Hanako & Marko using all their own produce."
Chicaoji Chipotle Chili Sauce (pron. chee-COW-gee)
"A hot sauce made with goji berries, cacao nibs, chipotle chilies and apple cider vinegar (including the mother of vinegar) sounds weird, but if this is what weird tastes like, I’m all over it. From Lopez Island, this sweet, savory, smoky, mildly spicy sauce has a naturally thick consistency and is made with only six ingredients. Put it on everything."
"Imagine a thin, pillow soft, hand-crafted vanilla marshmallow disk that fits your mug of hot cocoa perfectly and melts quickly into a layer of marshmallow cream evoking the foam on top of espresso drinks. Artisan marshmallows in all sorts of unusual flavors are all the rage these days, but MaddyMelts (from Sumner, WA) take the high-end marshmallow in a new direction by being just the right shape.
Tabby Cat Spicy Pickled Zucchini Spears
"These zucchini spears stand out as the suprising balance of all things pickle and just the right amount of heat. Application: straight out of the jar."
Rachel’s Ginger Beer
"I’m stocking it regularly so I can grab a bottle of it every day. Rachel’s is the shit. Handcrafted in Seattle using fresh lemons, cane sugar and ginger, ginger, ginger, this stuff makes mass market ginger beers wet their labels in terror."
National & International Products:
Italian Pistachio Cream:
"Guilty pleasure in a jar. This stuff is inspired by a cream made by the monks of Assisi, and made from Sicilian pistachios roasted within 24 hours of harvest. We keep sneaking spoonfuls right out of the jar, but it also makes a great spread for toast and a ready-made dessert filling (we put it in pumpkin whoopie pies and OMFG)."
"There are people who wait all year for wild ramp season to savor their perfect garlic-leek-onion-esque flavor. Now they don’t have to. They just need a salad (or seafood). From Brooklyn with love."
Filotea Egg Pasta:
"Italy’s Filotea pasta is amazing – flavor and texture that are shockingly close to fresh pasta, with the convenience of dried pasta. It even cooks faster and is made with free range eggs."
Naked Edge Vegetable Leathers:
"As convenient as a fruit leather, but a lot better for you. Also a great way to get the kids (or picky adults) to eat their vegetables! Made in Colorado in four flavors: Berry Spinach, Sweet Potato Pie, Cinnamon Beet & Carrot Ginger."
Butternut Squash Seed Oil:
"Made in NY state from the seeds of non GMO squash, this oil is buttery and (you guessed it) nutty. Use it instead of butter on baked potatoes, and roasted veggies, dip bread in it, etc."
I asked about fresh meats, and here's what Justin said:
"Our meat collection is basically all of the meats that you see on restaurant menus but can’t find at retail: wild boar, venison, elk, pheasant, poulet rouge, etc. None of them are local though.
In time, I hope to develop a local collection and am currently looking at a few WA farms but I wanted to put together a unique selection of meats and most of the things produced locally are ubiquitous and the familiar species. Oh, and we are bringing Mangalitsa back to Seattle!"
Marx notes that meats aren't currently available; look for meat department to debut December 3rd.