“Who’s sourcing the mozzarella?”
I once walked into a neighborhood happy hour and heard a father (10 years my younger) say, “Who’s sourcing the neon bracelets?” This was an excellent question given we were losing light and a handle on the 40 plus children running aimlessly between multiple backyards. Counting circles of neon in the dark might help us keep a tab on a few here and there. However, what struck me most, was that I would have never used the phrase, “Who’s sourcing” as he did so eloquently in that moment. I probably would have said something old fashioned like, “where can I get one of those for my kid?” Indeed technology and the vernacular I grew up with was moving fast.
So, it got me thinking of sharing a little secret. here do certain things come from? Of course, you may think I’m begging the larger question here, of our own human existence. Alluding to that awkward moment at an extra long red light with the inquisitive 8 year old who relentlessly digs deeper. Nah, not that question… Wrong question entirely.
Something more attainable, more tangible, like, where does Scittino’s Italian Market get their inventory? Ever wonder who is “sourcing” the mozzarella? Or, who’s sourcing, Sal? Well, I’ll tell you.
Now remember not all city driving experiences are the same. This drive, albeit quick, is always a bit of an adventure. When I drive down Paca Street (at almost any time of day), and roll slowly by Lexington Market, I always feel a bit like I’ve been dumped in the middle of a movie set. The particular era for the movie and title seem to elude me. Perhaps it feels more like I’m watching a movie in super slow-mo as I pass by the faces and activity on the street than reality. Also, I can’t seem to reconcile that blocks away from the set sit the best hospitals and universities in our country. Whichever it is… it is a far cry from the days my Grandparents jumped off the streetcar wearing their Sunday coats and hats to buy bread and milk for their families.
Trinacria is located a few blocks north of Lexington on the left. This place is three generations old and still delivering quality products at unbeatable prices. What may or may not give you a sense of security are the iron bars covering her 1908 façade. I think it is safe to say those were added later. Bring a few quarters and park in front of the shop. Take a number when you walk in the door on your left. Mike, the shop manager will greet you with a smile and greet most of his aging regulars in Italian. I go when they open, get what I need and get out before the crowd.
Strategy: Politely nudge your way to the back of the shop first. Stock up on homemade lasagnas, meatballs, shredded mozz and gnocchi in the frozen section. NOTE: The large lasagna makes a great dinner to bring a family or friend in need. Make your way to the long wall of roaring reds and crisp whites, always priced fair. Slow down to carry as much fresh focaccia, baguettes and rolls as you can balance (baked on premise. If you don’t see the bread out yet, ask!). Use the store’s front counter to start making your pile for checkout. When you hear your number, try to show some personal restraint as you order your pounds of salty meats & cheeses (packed in paper like the old country), olive oil, fresh mozzarella, olives (rosemary & garlic are my favorite), parmesan and Italian cookies (guess who’s “sourcing” Vaccaros?!). Don’t leave without a few jars of their homemade spaghetti sauce, pasta, canned tomatoes and a signature sandwich from their deli. Trust me on the sandwich.
Once you have experienced Trinacria and the friendly folks who run it with pride, you may want to add this destination to your shopping routine. Well worth getting up early and the ten-minute drive due East from Catonsville.
Closed Sundays and Mondays. Major credit, checks and American dollars accepted.
Now, who’s “sourcing” those olives? I’m already on it!