Tom always has a smile and a joke when I stop in. I have been buying seafood from Rohr Fish since Fred and I were dating back in the early 80s. Then the shop was on Wabash, that location is now wholesale. Tom has been on Monroe Street for 23 years.
Seafood is the most expensive and perishable of products. You really need someone who knows and cares about quality. Tom knows and cares. I always check out the seafood counter at any grocery I go to. I have never encountered one with the consistency and quality I see at Rohr Fish.
Some of the burden of purchasing great fish lies with the consumer. Never buy anything that is less than beautiful. The flesh should be moist looking and have appropriate color. You can always ask to smell it. Fish should smell of the ocean, not fishy. When pressed the flesh should bounce back. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are not satisfied with the knowledge of the person selling you the seafood look elsewhere.
We are lucky here in Toledo to have such a seafood institution available to us. When you stop in tell them Mary Pat says “Hi!”
Finding great bread is a problem for me. I guess I am picky. I want a crunchy crust, a nice chewy texture and real bread flavor. Most breads let me down. This is one of the reasons I head down town to the Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning all year round.
First there is Egg and Honey with a nice variety of sourdoughs. I get a French baguette most weeks. We have bread with dinner most nights and this is our go to bread. Amelia also makes soft sourdough pretzels that are out of this world. Some weeks she will have surprises, like the week she had cocoa cherry bread….killer! I love when the loaves are still warm and fragrant when I get there.
Now things get complicated…a new baker (at least new to me) has started selling at the Farmers’ Market, All Crumbs Artisanal Bakery. They also make great breads. They do breads with olives or parmesan and garlic. I rarely like flavored bread…these are great. But they also make popcorn, almond cookies that crumble all over my car as I eat them on the way home.. And spicy ham scones which are perfect with homemade bean soup. The bakers at All Crumbs are Kelly Thompson and Gabe Lemay.
Gabe & Kelly
So you see my problem? An abundance of great bread and baked goods. How do I choose what to bring home each week? I guess this is not the worst problem to have.
Where do you find great bread?
This is Robert. He is the man I buy most of my meat from. You want to be friends with your butcher. I need to say that Robert and I worked together when I ran the seafood department. ( I should also add Robert rarely smiles this big but I caught it!) That is how I know he does things right all of the time. He knows his meat and takes pride doing his job well. He also knows what I am looking for and value. I like well marbled rib-eyes and I want the backbone for stock when he cuts my chicken.
I do most of my food shopping at independent local stores and the Farmers Market. But because I of my relationship with Robert I go to Fresh Market for meat. Knowing your vendor is the best shopping hint I can give you. They will alert you to specials and what is particularly nice that day.
I will be sharing my favorite vendors and shops along the way. Do you have a favorite butcher?