Sunday, February 21, 2010

Caputo's! Peppers!

I first discovered Caputo's in the Italian neighborhood not far from our old house within the city of Chicago. It was a really inconvenient store, with narrow aisles, barely wide enough to push a tiny cart, and very limited parking. But once inside, it was easy to see why people put up with all the hassle.

Being inside Caputo's was simply intoxicating: Lots and lots of fresh produce sold in often messy-looking boxes or bushels, but so fresh . . . a smattering of Italian being spoken very fast and with a lot of hand gestures, cashiers that wore too much mascara, and spoke with a thick accent . . . but they were super efficient, and friendly, and they remembered your name. Clearly, this was a family business.

I remember once getting a bushel of plum tomatoes from Caputo's and making marinara sauce from scratch - a lot of marinara, after all, I had to use up a bushel of tomatoes! I also remember mango season. I adore mangoes and Caputo had the biggest, sweetest and cheapest mangoes to be had in Chicago.

The word has gotten out about this treasure because Caputo's has been growing and opening stores up all over the greater Chicago region. And, lucky us, there's one near our house!

I wasn't expecting the new Caputo's to be as charming as the old one. I was resigned to finding a supermarket that was more traditional, able to appeal to a wider clientele, trendier . . . and, sure enough, the new Caputo's is gorgeous, and huge . . . but somehow, they've managed to keep the ambience. When we walked in, music was playing - Italian music, Dean Martin singing "That's Amore" followed by Pavarotti singing "O Sole Mio." The rest was pure bliss.

The peppers were spectacular today. So many choices in the dead of winter, and so relatively cheap! I couldn't stop smiling! Thank goodness I had my camera, otherwise I would have been filling my cart with too many peppers!

These are called Hot Finger peppers . . .


These might be your basic yellow, green, orange and red peppers . . . but they are far from ordinary . . .

The prices are amazing here! I don't know how they do it. Last week I paid $2.49/lb. for red peppers at another supermarket . . .

Ancient red, banana, poblano and jalapeño peppers . . .

More pictures of this wonderful store to come . . .

5 comments:

Angela2932 said...

Wonderful photos!. . . and I am SO envious!

Nicki, said...

I am going to have to bite the bullet and take my camera with me to the store (and else where) like you and Angela. Your post and photos transport the reader - I can hear Deano (loved that man) and the produce is lip-smacking. You lucky lucky girl!

Reds said...

Wow - those are great deals!!! Love market shots - so colourful!

Suzy said...

Dang that sounds wonderful! I hope they will build one or something like that here in Utah some day. My family is Italian and they'd absolutely love it! Me to!

Bobbi said...

Those look so amazing! I love me some fresh produce...for the taste and the colors.