Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fancy groceries in Hartford

Hartford has been atwitter for some time now about the prospect of groceries downtown. Ah, Downtown Hartford, where they forgot to put residents and necessities. Well, there's nothing like making up for lost time. We didn't know quite what to expect. From the way "everyone" talked about the "need" for a "real grocery store" in Hartford, we pictured something a little more practical. So the reality of The Market at Hartford 21 proved to be a delightful, whimsical surprise for three out of four Scenics enjoying a lazy Sunday together. 

After an initial WTF moment over the cereal bar.

But fine, OK, this is sort of a practical idea - people working in Hartford might want something boring for breakfast, and it's a nod to the American tendency to aspire to such an air of carefree and casual that to take the "trouble" to bring identical ordinary cereal from home would be unthinkable. 

Moving on. We were wowed by thing after thing. Like the fresh pasta bar.

And the homemade gelato, with appalling flavors like Bacon and Bloody Mary. The staff were friendly and invited us to try a sample. The bacon flavor was less disgusting than it sounds, but we'll stick to the less adventurous varieties on return visits.

The prepared foods looked fancy and delicious and put Whole Foods to shame (not that that's such a stress - ugh, Whole Foods prepared foods...). We drooled over pork shanks and crab cakes and forbidden rice.

Good thing we didn't visit this joint hungry. We wouldn't have been able to resist peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes or the array of Nassau chocolates and candy. Or sushi and appetizers by Ginza. Or quail eggs and elitist CT soda.

We were impressed by tasteful displays like this one (Grandma's CT soaps smell amazing!):

And displayed our usual poor taste around the whole dead pig and some phallic vegetables (we were too tired for pointing today, but we got a friend to stand in):

Today's visit on full stomachs and empty wallets was all gawking, no buying. But we all agree that The Market is a welcome addition to Hartford and we'd totally eat there.

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