BEST GOURMET GROCERY - 2007
Readers' Choice: Kowalski's
We're pretty sure the members of the Kowalski family cook. Not cook as in doctor cake mixes to look like tortes, but cook as in flag recipes in Food & Wine and go in search of the particular type of pepper from the Basque region of Spain that will make them work. We think this because Kowalski's eight metro area markets are reliably stocked with the new, the unique, the locally produced—in short, the building blocks on the shopping lists of those of us who would just as soon chop and sauté as make restaurant reservations. Like buttery green olives marinated with wild fennel ($8.99 a pound). Like fresh mozzarella ($8.59) hand-pulled by the chap who tends the cheese case. Like grass-fed beef and store-baked bread made from that yummy new white whole wheat. And, most enthusiastically, like La Loma tamales, Hope Creamery butter, Venus soups, and even Blue Bell Grape Jelly, made in Red Wing from grapes developed at the University of Minnesota. Come to think of it—assorted Kowalski cooks, if you're reading this, we're not too polite to invite ourselves to dinner. We'll bring the wine....