Jungle Boogie

Have you ever heard of Jungle Jim’s?  No?  Well…it’s a grocery store.  But not just any grocery store.  A HUGE, find anything you are looking for grocery store.  It’s located in Cincinnati just off 275 and it’s fabulous.

Carolyn and I have gone once a few years ago, but I wasn’t feeling well, so we were only able to browse a little of the store.  Last weekend, she was up for a visit and to see Barenaked Ladies.  Since the show was on Sunday, she stayed over until Monday.  When I asked her what she wanted to do, she didn’t know so I suggested visiting Jungle Jim’s again.  Maybe this time we could get through the whole thing.

First stop was at a restaurant I had been wanting to try for a while.  Pappadeaux is a Cajun seafood restaurant with obvious French influences.  They have a wide variety of options from which to choose, but possibly the thing they are most known for is their fried alligator appetizer.  C and I didn’t order it, even though the flamboyant waiter tried to get us to.

We started with their fresh baked bread and butter.  If you know anything of the French, you know they have possibly the best bread on the planet.  This bread was no exception.  It was crusty on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside.  We couldn’t get enough!  Good thing our “diet” started the next day…

On to salads.  We opted to split the Greek salad and it was so yummy!  It was made table side and the only complaint I have was that the waiter put a little too much dressing on it.  Other than that, I loved it!

For our main dishes, Carolyn got the Blackened Costa Rican Mahi and I got the Pasta Mardi Gras.  Both were delicious, but I think Carolyn chose better.  The fish was seasoned and cooked perfectly and those grits!  They came with cheesy grits which we both agreed tasted more like polenta.

After our huge meal, we were both stuffed.  We loaded ourselves back in the car and went to Jungle Jim’s.  After stopping at Starbucks (located within the store itself), we proceeded to shop.  We had both decided to only buy things we couldn’t get elsewhere, though I fudged a little.

I must have gotten too caught up in shopping because I really don’t have many pictures!  When you first walk in, you see the “American Groceries” section.  Here you will find items you can get in a typical grocery store.  I ended up picking up several things from this section, believe it or not.

One of my favorite lunch sides is the Mott’s Healthy Harvest applesauces.  They had a blueberry variety I had never had before, so I put that in my cart.  I tried it last night with dinner and it’s pretty tasty!  Carolyn said it was her favorite but she couldn’t find it anymore.

I’m a huge coffee drinker.  I drink at least 2 cups every day.  My favorite coffee is Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla (of which I just bought a case on Saturday from work since it was on sale).  When Jeff and I went to the Taste of Cincinnati a few years ago, they were introducing the Dunkin Donuts Turbo roast.  I have it at my Kroger, but I never seem to catch it on sale.  Since Dunkin Donuts was on sale in the jungle, I picked some up.

Speaking of coffee, apparently there is a coffee shop in West Chester called La Crema Coffee Company.  I like supporting local companies so we looked at their coffee.  We ended up each getting a bag and splitting them.  I purchased Creme Brulee and C got Highlander Grog.  The creme brulee is pretty good, but I haven’t tried the grog yet.

Making our way through the American section, we came upon the nut butters.  Now, anyone who works with me will tell you I eat oatmeal with nut butter probably 3-4 times a week.  I love getting flavored nut butters to add to my oats.  My favorite brand is Peanut Butter and Co.  They have 10 different flavors of peanut butter and I have tried almost all of them!

My Kroger carries a lot of the flavors, but I had never seen the Mighty Maple version before.  I had to have it!  I’m kind of sad I didn’t buy a couple!  It is SOO good.  I actually ODed on peanut butter this weekend.  I had a bit more than I should have in my oatmeal and felt gross for a couple hours after.  😛

Making our way to the next section, we passed the biggest sushi display I’ve ever seen!  Too bad we were full…sushi would have been yummy!  They also have a deli, a cheese shop, a bakery, and a coffee bar where you can get food or drink and enjoy them in the store.  We obviously didn’t do that.

Next we made our way past the candy and the registers (see map for explanation) and found ourselves in the natural section. The red line is the route we traveled.

I picked up some white chia seeds to add to my oatmeal.  Never tried chia seeds?  They are a nutritional dense super food!  Here’s what Dr. Weil from http://www.drweil.com has to say about them:

Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

I first learned about them from Kath.  Speaking of Kath, I was just on her blog and realized she has about a million “recipes” for oatmeal!  If you’re getting bored with yours, like I am, maybe you should try a new “recipe”!

While in the natural section, I saw a huge display of honey!  I’m not a big honey person, but if you are, you’d love it.  They had all different varieties and tons of local products.  I love how many local items we saw at Jungle Jim’s!  Supporting local farmers and retailers is very important to me.

If you notice on the map, we were only about halfway through, but had been there at least an hour at this point.  We didn’t want to miss anything!  I found out later, we missed a pretty decent portion.  Whoops!

We kept walking through some of the different countries.  Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, and France (among others) all had little cubbies in the “Eurpoean Village” section. We did manage to find a little treat we couldn’t resist buying…

It was like 75% off!  I realized later the reason for this was because it was set to expire within 30 days.  Oh well.

We walked along the back wall into England where I found a big display of Harney and Sons tea.  I had had these teas a few years ago when Starbucks carried them.  I couldn’t remember if my favorite tea had been the Pomegranate Oolong I spied, but I thought it was so I nabbed one.  Turns out, it IS the right tea!  My favorite thing to do with these leaves was to make sun tea.  (Showing my southern roots again, eh?)

To make sun tea, I fill up a big glass pitcher with water and put two regular Lipton tea bags and one flavored tea bag in the pitcher.  Then I cover the whole thing with plastic wrap.  This keeps little buggies out of my beverage.  I then sit it outside for a few hours or until the tea is the color I like it.  You can actually even make sun tea in the winter as the pitcher and plastic wrap create a greenhouse like effect.  The pitcher really needs to be clear though for the process to work.

After Robin Hood said hi to us, we kept walking until we got to the cookware section.  Carolyn and I love cookware even though we each have way too much and don’t really need anything else!

I ended up buying a pepper grinder because mine was broken and I could never find one I liked.  This OXO one works great!

We were getting tired at this point (it had been at least 2 hours), so we found ourselves skipping through a lot.  We did manage to find Russia (Carolyn had been there last year) and Hawaii (does this really need an explanation, people??).  If you notice, we skipped quite a bit!  Although, to be fair, this was a week ago, so I could be remembering wrong.

Finally, it was time to head home.  We checked out, split up our coffee, and went on our way.  The next day when Carolyn and I texted each other, we both realized we had done the same exact thing:  gone home and made beignets.  And they were delicious…

If you’re ever in the Cincinnati area and you’re even remotely a foodie, you should visit the Jungle!  It’s really a great place to kill a few hours.  You can find it at 5440 Dixie Highway Fairfield, Ohio 45014.



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