Friday, September 4, 2009

Special Feature: The Mercantile, Atlanta, GA

1660 Dekalb Avenue, Ste. 150, Atlanta, GA

Yesterday afternoon I dropped in a specialty/gourmet food shop near Little Five Points called The Mercantile. The Mercantile is housed in a small shopping center near Candler Park. This was my third trip to The Mercantile over the past couple of months.

The Mercantile is a small shop, so while it doesn't have anywhere near the selection of a place like Alon's or Harry's Farmer's Market it does have a very nice staff who promotes personalized service, as well as some fun and interesting items.

For example, I noted the following unique foodstuffs on the shelves: Adagio teas, Basick's mulling spices and P.B. Loco's Premium peanut butter, which was offered in flavors such as caramel apple, jungle banana and Asian curry spice. Can't wait to stop back in and purchase the latter. I'm a curry lover, and curry peanut butter is something I have yet to sample.

There's also a refrigerated section with chilled wines, non-alcoholic beverages and a few specialty beers, such as Original Sin.

Near the cash register you'll find homemade truffles from Mt. Pleasant, TX, which ring in at a whopping $3.99 each. There's also rock candy crystal sticks ($1 each) and Boston Baked Beans candy, something I haven't seen in a long time. Kudos to the store's buyer for including this bit of nostalgia.

The shop also currently carries autographed copies of Shirley Corriher's Bakewise, which recently won the James Beard Award, and a limited variety of beautiful handmade aprons. Either would make an impressive gift for the foodie in your life.

The Mercantile also offers prepared foods, made by Chef Samantha Enzmann, who previously served as a chef/instructor at the nearby Viking Culinary Arts Center. The weekly menu may be found on The Mercantile's website. A sampling includes a sandwich called The Claire, made up of proscuitto di parma, roasted tomato, arugula and lemon aioli, and tomato and orange (!) chicken noodle soup.

While I did not partake of the prepared menu items, I did purchase a few deluxe snacks from the deli-style counter last week. I opted for the Flat Creek Lodge natural cheddar, which was very good, and the 2 Little Pigs pate, which wasn't my favorite, along with a box of Carr's water crackers. I also purchased a homemade chocolate chip cookie that I really enjoyed. Other items in this area were white anchovies and marinated olives.

Too bad I had reached my "dinner allowance" at that point, because I would have liked to pick up a bottle of one of The Mercantile's reasonably priced wines. The Mercantile offers many wines under $15/bottle. Some options are 2007 Tenuta Sant' Antonio Scaia Ross ($12.99), 2008 John B. savingnon blanc ($10.99), and 2007 Bovin Vranec ($15.99). The staff is very knowledgeable about the wines in the shop, so be sure to inquire about them and ask for a tasting.

Verdict: A small but interesting neighborhood gourmet shop. Drop in for a few treats.

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