OK, I admit it. I’m a foodie! The leaves may be changing in our ‘hood (well, some of them) and the holiday season decorations may be changing store fronts and the fronts of our homes as we begin to prepare for Thanksgiving, but as a foodie I’m here to tell you not to carve your turkey-day menu in stone...
…not until you drop in on Epicure Imports, a Costco for gourmands (or just anyone who likes to eat – like me). Yup – you read it right! A warehouse for those who love fine food, but don’t want to pay the fine price.
Here’s the deal. Epicure Imports, unlike big box stores, is not open to the public every day. It’s a gourmet food supplier/warehouse/wholesaler for fine-dining restaurants in Southern California, the Bay Area, Arizona and Las Vegas. However, several times a year, it opens its doors and beckons folks to “come on down” and buy these wares at discount/wholesale prices. And its doors are open to everyone in the ‘hood on Friday, Nov. 18th (1:30-6:00pm) and Saturday, Nov. 19th (9:30am-2:00pm) – just in time for that Thanksgiving feast.
Not long ago, William Boyd, the President and CEO of Epicure Imports, gave me a tour, not only of the items up for grabs by us non-food pros, but into the vast, walk-in freezer. He wrapped me up in a large staff down jacket before we entered, though my bare toes were naked in my flip flops.
Inside were boxes, crates and tubs of gourmet heaven: Rougie fois gras (Epicure Imports is the largest distributor in America)… vats of Echiere French butter ready to be shipped to Las Vegas (French butter is much richer than ours, he told me – 80-83% butter fat - no wonder Julia loved cooking with that butter)… boxes of L’Artisan macaroons described by the Wall Street Journal as the best evah… 1 – 20 kilo cans of Ravi fruit puree for delectable desserts… boxes of croissants of every kind… meats, fish, etc., etc.
By the time we left the freezer, my toes were approaching a frosty blue color, but I didn’t care. I was delighted to learn about so many imported products that go into the dishes that make a great restaurant.
Back in the warehouse, my next stop was the cheese/salami/pate tasting table, right next to the non-alcohol tasting table. As my toes thawed, I tasted and sipped the Reim sparkling all-natural lemonade which has no fructose or corn starch (also comes in sparkling grapefruit, blood orange and regular orange).
I then entered the chilled cheese room (overseen by Fabien and Charles, the cheese guys) with a large selection of French cheeses that just made my blood race with excitement (thankfully, that ‘blood-racing’ kept me from getting cold again). Also in the cheese room were imported Italian and French pre-sliced hams, salamis and other meats as well as a terrific selection of fois gras and pates (my heart went pitter patter for the pate). I wanted one, two, three of everything… but settled on a few cheeses.
Next, I headed straight for the grilling sausages. Just had to sample a few… a perfect pairing after my cheese and charcuterie tasting.
Moving on, I couldn’t resist tasting the truffle oil and balsamic vinegars - to die for!! One bottle of balsamic family reserve was made from a 150 year old starter. Speaking of truffles… Epicure is now selling fresh black truffles by the ounce… and that’s no trifle.
It was time for a bit of something sweet, so I headed for the cookies and candies displays which included Republica del Cacao regional chocolates from Ecuador plantations. There’s even an ‘old vine’ chocolate. Like old vine wine made from… hello – old grape vines, this chocolate is made from old cocoa vines. Old vines – new vines – the chocolate is organic (cool!) and delicious (even cooler!).
There’s all sorts of chocolate for eating and for baking… even 5 kilogram (11 pounds) chocolate bars! If you’re a chocoholic you need no other reason to go to Epicure.
Walking up and down the aisles, I saw boxes, sacks, cans and tubs of gourmet pastes (pistachio, hazelnut, tiramisu, mango, etc.), pastas, rices, nuts, beans, olive oils, vinegars, and Edmond Fallot mustards – truly mustard of the Gods. My favorite: walnut dijon!
So, neighbors (and visitors from towns and cities everywhere) – check out the latest Epicure Imports warehouse sale… your taste buds will thank you – there’s even a $50 gift certificate “door prize” being given awarded each day. If I win, I think I’ll hold on to it for Epicure’s Holiday Warehouse Sale in December… if I can wait that long.
6900 Beck Avenue
North Hollywood CA 91605