Monday, June 11, 2012

The Last Week Without Wegmans - Hold The Buns (And Ask For "Firecracker" Mix At Laurel Meat)

Firecracker burgers from Laurel Meat Market
Wegmans opens to the public on Sunday, June 17, and I had to suffer through one final weekend wondering what life would have been like if they'd opened in 2009.

My burgers last night were special -- the "firecracker" mix from Laurel Meat Market where they take two or three parts ground chuck and regrind it with one part spicy Italian sausage.  It's a subtle difference -- a moist burger with a little more flavor than just meat, but nothing spicy.  Definitely worth checking out.  Definitely the fun of having a real butcher.  (The other great option is asking them to regrind some ground chuck with bacon.)

The bummer was that my buns were just okay.  I grabbed them from a supermarket.  They were fine.  But I couldn't stop thinking about the chatter about something call Kimmelweck rolls on the I Want The Columbia Wegmans Facebook page.  I don't know if they're right for burgers, but they sound different -- and probably are displayed next to a few other rolls that my supermarket doesn't carry.

My hope for Wegmans is that it will bring new options to the local scene -- cheeses, olives, baked goods, meats, etc.  I want good crusty rolls, interesting smoked fish, more bulk grains, imported sauces and crackers.  Other Wegmans have left us really happy with the choice of vegetables.  Mrs. HowChow is looking forward the prepared and semi-prepared aisle where you grab a marinated fish or a meat wrapped around to bring home to your grill or broiler.

Long ago, just dirt
The official Wegmans opening will be at 7 am on June 17.  I'll post a call for observations on Saturday morning so the 12-20,000 people expected to attend can offer up their opinions.  (Thanks to Travis for YouTube video of the 6 am crowd at another opening day.)

Wegmans has posted a map of the Columbia store.  (Hat tip to Daniel.)  But they offered few opportunities to see inside.  The HowChow commandos remain hiding beneath the cheese section.  But it's doctors who will get the real first look.  Actually, all medical professionals were invited to an evening preview.

Halfway there
Doctors?  Not food bloggers.  Doctors?  We know that those MDs are known for luring wayward men to a life in Howard County.  But who would be better at spreading the word about what you can buy?  You don't want to just hear about the healthy stuff.

As far as I know, the county liquor board will talk more about Wegmans' liquor store on June 14.  The license dispute has inspired lots of comments about free enterprise, the rule of law, and who is guilty of using fake owners to create mini-chains.

I appreciate that everyone kept it civil in the comments.  But I have to admit that HowChow is the food part of my life, so I'd love to hear opinions that go beyond the law and into what kinds of offerings you think Wegmans or anyone else is using (or could use) to stand out to consumers.  What do you love about your favorite store?  What would you wish someone would offer?


Marcia said...

I have not been excited about Wegman's bakery. I think we're seeing better stuff at places like Atwater's and now The Breadery with their new oven. Otherwise, can't wait for our Wegman's!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for Wegmans!

I'm going to try and go super early one day and maybe beat the crowds. Or go at like 11PM some night. It's to bad they aren't 24hours like the one in my hometown.

Julie said...

Hmmm... never thought of using kimmelweck rolls for burgers - might be too salty. Kimmelweck is a roll with carraway seeds and coarse salt on top, used for beef on weck, which is a sandwich you MUST try if you've never had one before. ! (A Buffalo original.) Just take sliced roast beef from the deli, heat it up in some beef broth, put it on the kimmelweck roll and add horseradish (if you so desire).

Hoco Connect said...

For those of us unfamiliar with the rolls I found a link.

Trevor said...

Doctor's were invited? I wonder if dentists were invited too? I didn't receive an invite, although, I wouldn't mind getting one. I'm assuming doctors were invited to show off the pharmacy. If anyone from Wegman's is reading this, dentists write a ton of prescriptions too!!!!

Also Lots of Ocelots said...

I am so excited about Wegmans. It will be interesting to see what, if any, kind of "Grocery Store War" ensues. I have never been particularly impressed with the Safeways or Giants in Columbia.

Maybe we need to have a Buffalo/WNY meetup at Wegmans, where we can talk about Beef on Weck, The Bills, The Sabres, drink "Pop" or Aunt Rosies Loganberry and say "I says.." "Them are..." and "I got a coupon!" and other Buffaloese phrases. We can all explain some of the Buffalo food stuff (like sponge candy and orange chocolate and greek texas red hots) to Mr. and Mrs. HowChow! I am very curious to know how many displaced Buffalonians are in Columbia and HoCo.
If anyone is interested, let me know.

Steve Fine said...

I never thought that I would experience actual excitement over the impending arrival of a grocery store!!!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of grocery store wars, in the mail there were $10 off $40 purchase at Harris Teeter. I'll be using those coupons.

Julie said...

Also Lots of Ocelots (cool screen name BTW!) - I think a Buffalonian meet up would be fun!! I'm interested! I bet you could find some ex-Buffalonians on the "I want Wegmans" FB page.

I was wondering if Wegmans will have Aunt Rosie's Lingonberry! I've found the lingonberry that Ikea has in their self serve fountain is an ok subsitute.

Anonymous said...

they have the mobile road signs up
already on snowden river parkway so expect a big crowd.

Daniel said...

First, thanks for the tip of the hat.

My main point though is on the Weck roll. When BW3 was still a small but growing chain in the midwest, the 3 "W's" stood for "Wild" "Wings" and "Weck" and they served their burgers on Weck buns, and they were excellent, I'd get them all the time.

Unfortunately now that BW3 is a soul-less corporate conglomerate, they use normal buns and the quality of food has gone downhill, so I save my wing times for when I can get to Wing Stop - whose only Baltimore Location (where I live, I work in Howard County) is Reiserstown Road just south of the MVA near Northern Parkway.