Today the weather was the warmest it’s been all week. In honor of our second week as a blog we went on a gourmet ingredient tour of Bozeman. (I do say we because my husband, while not an author, does quite a bit to help me out.) A good time was had by all and it was good to spend some time just us poking through downtown.
While we were out I was reminded of something that I tended to forget about when you visit a large mountain town, the lumbersexual look is a common thing as is the hipster. Not really going to focus on social commentary, other than to say, it made me feel old and probably more comfortable roaming the backcountry with a few friends than visiting civilization. I felt like the hermit coming in from the mountain wearing furs and trading gold nugget bits for dry goods among the more dignified gentry as they regarded me with curiosity or plain indifference. It was also easily forgotten about because small shop owners are generally a great bunch of people and my husband is good at distracting me from myself.
So, we went to four fantastic little shops in between breakfast and tiny boutiques of hippie and offbeat happiness. The first one was The Tea and Spice Exchange. I always love going into this store. As soon as the door open, you have all the fantastic spice smells coming at you. I just want to throw money in the air and yell “One of everything!” But, I didn’t. I did however make it out with a fantastic salt sampler, a refresh for my ancho pepper powder, and smoked BBQ rub blend, for Mr. Stacy.
Next we wandered down Main street, giggling as he helped me over some of the still icy spots. One of those things he does that makes me feel like a princess rather than a clumsy ox. Our next stop was Townshend’s Tea Company. I couldn’t tell you in all the number of times I visited cafes and restaurants in California and Florida where bubble tea was being sold and I never thought to try it. Today was a first and as I ordered a black hibiscus tea with rosewater jellies, I felt it was just as complicated as any coffee order, especially when dairy gets involved. It was super sweet to me, but really good. The sugar kept me buzzing for the rest of our outing and amused my husband with my hummingbird impressions. They DO have good tea and I walked out with rose petal tea, which I do plan on using to make some panna cotta and crème de la earl grey which will be in the breakfast cup.
Since I was all sugared up, we sprang back down Main street and straight to the Montana Honey Bee Company. They have the friendliest ladies working there and they will happily let a sugar high woman sample whatever honey flavors are in the store. I bought a one pound bottle of Basswood honey. I was rather hesitant about it, but there were some wintery juniper notes in the honey that just called to me, probably because winter is here in Montana and it made me happy.
The last food stop wasn’t downtown, it was on the way home to Daniel’s Gourmet Meats. It’s fairly new and it was our first visit. I fell in love with the door handle and first step in reminded me so strongly of this butcher shop on Main street in Bluffton, Ohio where I grew up. Not the big place that kept hitting our apple tree and ruining the neighbor’s lilac bush with their too big trucks going down tiny residential allies because the drivers were too lazy to back out the other way directly onto Main and avoid the houses with the kids playing. The little place on Main that worked with small producers and kept that small mom and pop feel. We discovered many kinds of bacon in that new place and the apple and cinnamon bacon HAD to come home with us, I could hear it begging in the cooler.
All in all, it was a great time for us running around and going on this ingredient hop around Bozeman and I hope you enjoyed it too. For my local readers, check these places out if you haven’t yet.