Don't make me go post-nasal on you. Please.
As everyone can tell by their grocery bills, food costs are getting higher and higher each month. Since I cook for sport, business, and personal enjoyment, I am constantly in a furtive search for inexpensive venues and establishments to purchase high quality, low cost foodstuffs. Dean & Deluca is not one of those places. I visited a Napa Wal-Mart multiple times during my visit (I know! I'm an economic slave to the corporate giant!) and the produce was the cheapest I've seen in years. I have no desire to live in Arnold Schwarzenegger's playground, but I might consider it if the price of food is right. I realize now that the labor and delivery of food in California must be close to nil. All you have to do is walk into the backyard, pick what you want, and eat it. As I said earlier, California is the nation's breadbasket. A cheap Mexican bread basket. Or South American one.
My first lunch in Napa Valley was at Dean & Deluca in St. Helena, CA. Dean & Deluca is a gourmet grocery and coffee retailer. I had such a good time in the store, I didn't need to purchase anything to get enjoyment from the atmosphere. Dean & Deluca is not where I will be shopping to purchase my high quality foodstuffs, decorations, wine, stemware, utensils, or anything else I can think of culinary. The place is TOO expensive. Many of the items I found there can be found at any other reputable retailer for 100% less. My local Harris Teeter will do just fine. A set of Peugeot stainless steel salt-and-pepper mills retail at D&D for $120. At my beloved Sur La Table, $55. No lie. No exaggeration.
D&D's ONLY redeeming quality: the sandwich counter in the deli. Nestled in the dimly lit hindquarters of the atelier an array of fresh ingredients were at my disposal to put on the sandwich of my choice. Meats, four kinds of cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, marinated capers, three kinds of aioli, 12 different breads...and the list could go on.
I don't know what drew me to it, but I chose a Dutch crunch bread first. I'd never seen or heard of this bread but it looked so fresh and wonderful. I piled turkey, avocado, bacon, red onions, lemon aioli, and Swiss cheese on this sandwich. Well, I asked my sandwich artist, Andrew, to do it. I fell in love with this meal.
I searched for Dutch crunch throughout the trip and I found it two other places, Whole Foods in Fresno and Napa and Cafe Fanny in Berkeley. It must be a west coast bread (like really good sourdough) because I tried to find it at my Whole Foods in Winston-Salem and I got crazed looks from the bakery staff.
Today I found it. I found a recipe for the Dutch crunch bread. I have yet to try it out but I found I am not the only one that thinks this bread is one of the best things on earth. Nicole of Baking Bites thinks so too. The recipe is here.
- Nikki @ NikSnacks
- I'm an award-winning private chef who writes and talks about my life as a food writer, culinarian, podcast host, and food tour guide, I'm a classical French trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami. I've worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger, catering chef, pastry chef, butcher, baker, and a biscuit-maker.