If you live in New Jersey you have heard all the hype about Fairway Market opening up a location in Paramus. I have been waiting for months for this even though I've never been to a Fairway location before. Friday I left work early and drove from Morris Plains to Paramus in severe rain and wind. I was a woman on a mission. From the moment I parked my car (on the opposite end of the parking lot)to the moment I walked through the doors I was like a giddy child going to a candy store. Well, in a mere 5 minutes I went from giddy and childlike to overwhelmed and all business. I had to push my way through old ladies who stopped in the middle of the aisles and abandoned their carts, kids who walked without looking where they were going and the mass of people looking for the best deals. It was like an obstacle course of women, children and little old ladies. I felt like I was in a zoo. Granted, Fairway only opened a week and a half earlier but I still was not prepared for the crowd.
Okay,on to the important stuff, the produce section was everything I imagined. It was huge, they had every variety of apples you could think of, tomatoes of all shapes, sizes and colors, basil so fragrant it reminded me of summer. There were red, green, yelIow and orange bell peppers, poblanos, jalapenos, cubanelles. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, some of the things I was specifically looking for they didn't have. I'm going to let it slide as I'm sure it is a challenge to keep the shelves stocked the first couple of weeks. I was looking for broccoli rabe and for sicilian eggplant but they had neither. They only had one type of eggplant which really surprised me. Next stop, the cheese counter. It was so overwhelming. They had everything you could think of and to be honest, I couldn't think of anything I wanted because everything seemed so exotic. I did decide to pick up some ricotta salata for Pasta Norma which I made for my mom's birthday on Saturday and some fresh mozzarella which was still hot. I used that to make chicken Caprese. (I wish I remembered to bring my camera to Staten Island where I cooked everything. I'll have to make everything again so I can share it with you.) The meat department was really nice. There were about 10 guys behind the counter who were trimming and cutting fillet mignon from the beef tenderloins they had on sale for $4.00/lb. I waited on that line for 30 minutes! Once I got my meat I was ready to run out of there screaming, it seemed like the crowd followed me everwhere I went except for the registers. When I got to the cashier there was no one on line. Do people just stay there all night? Was I a lucky one to make it out alive? Wow! So, I let the toothless woman (okay not toothless, she had about three teeth) ring me up and she had to question every single item. "What's this?" she asked about the parsley, basil, cubanelle peppers. "Oh, and what about these?" she asked, puzzled. "Tomatillos." I said. "Toma..what?" It was hard for me to keep from rolling my eyes. How can Fairway hire cashiers that don't know what any of the items are? They should definitely give them a lesson in fresh produce so they don't look so silly in front of their customers. Shouldn't every employee know a little bit about fresh produce if they are going to be working there? That aside, I will definitely be going back to Fairway once things are settled there. I don't expect to buy any paper goods or canned items because I don't think I'll get any deals there but will definitely go back for produce, meat and cheeses. Maybe I'll even be brave and buy some fish.