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 . . .