It's so very rare that The Chef and I have some time off on the same day so when we do, we like to spend time doing something we both enjoy. Oftentimes, it's cooking. Sometimes it's a movie. Once in a while we explore a foodie destination, and this time, it's one we kept saying we were going to visit, but just never got around to it. Today, we finally did!
Somethings never change, and sometimes that is a GOOD thing. It sure is in the case of B and B Market in Des Moines. They have been serving customers for over 90 years. It is no big giant supermarket. There is no produce section to speak of. The few shelves stock some basics but they are not overflowing. It's not the groceries on the shelf that have made this family business so popular- it's the meat counter.
Really, B&B is more of a butcher shop than anything. They are famous for their meat. The craft of butchery has been handed down through several generations of Brooks family members and continues today. Meat is cut right there in the shop. Like your steak a particular thickness? They will do it. Want to just pop in and pick up a "meat package" for your freezer- a pre-packaged selection of beef, chicken, and pork- you can do that too! They have many different combinations to choose from.
They have a nice selection of sausages and lunch meats and cheeses, ready to slice-to-order. The Chef was a little put off by the head cheese, but that brought back a lot of memories of my German mother loving that stuff. All the Italian standards were present, salami, capicola, provolone- you name it. Nothing was sliced and placed in piles like you see at the big stores. You order it, they slice it. Fresh. Period.
They aren't just famous for the meat. Killer sandwiches. If that doesn't tell you what's up, I don't know what would. The store has a deli counter that serves up freshly made sandwiches and sides. These sandwiches..... how about a burger called The Quadzilla? Four 1/3 pound patties with cheese and toppings. Deli sandwiches with stacks of freshly sliced deli meats and fresh toppings, on Italian bread. "Dad's Killer" is the big daddy of sandwiches. Forget Subway! This is the real deal!
Tenderloins that are hand-battered, yes, you read that right, battered. Something I have never had before, in The Land Of Tenderloins. It was unlike any tenderloin I have ever had. The batter was so much more crispy and flavorful I didn't leave a crumb behind. I got the small and it was BIG!! We didn't even bother with sides. The Chef had his Quadzilla put away in under five minutes.
We even got ice cold Coke in the old fashioned glass bottles. I haven't had one like that in more than thirty years (yes.... I am old....)
B&B is such a fun, nostalgic place. There is a seating area if you'd like to eat-in, basically a great big winding lunch counter with stools, decorated with framed vintage newspapers of big news events, sketches of the "old neighborhood" and other memorabilia. It reminds me of growing up. We lived right next door to another old neighborhood grocery store. Yes, I think in a case like this, change would be a BAD thing.