Culture

A Gourmet Food Store Worthy of Harry Potter

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Is this store real life?

Sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking—which is why most people decide to eat out.  However, for that population who wants it all “eating food they didn’t cook, at home,” here is the place for you.

Balducci’s tagline “Food Lover’s Market” really hits the nail on the head. Balducci’s is a grocery store, but with gourmet, ready-made dishes that would even impress your Italian grandmother.

I was introduced to the magic of Balducci’s by a friend. I had heard of this mythical place, but I had never experienced one until recently.  I was on my way back from a car show (go figure) and we decided to stop in for lunch. Little did I know this would be the beginning of a fruitful friendship.

As soon as I walked in, I felt like I was in a store out of Harry Potter — the place looked like it was magical. All of the specialty foods were beautifully wrapped in foils and decorative papers and there was an aisle just for chocolate.  Chocolate. (I was sold.)  They carried some specialty brands from Sweden, which made me very happy, and they had walls of  soups, salads, and desserts to take home. Jackpot. There was a chef serving up “to go” boxes of salmon piccata, three-cheese tortellini covered in pesto, roasted artichokes. Yea, we weren’t in D.C. anymore.

But, I digress. Like I stated before, we stopped in for lunch — which meant I was lead over to the “deli”…

Balduccis

This is what sandwich heaven looks like.

You can ask my friend, I stood in front of the sandwich counter with my mouth wide open.  Their “ready made” sandwiches looked like the cover art for Bon Appetit. Needless to say, the long list of meats, breads, and homemade sauces brought out my indecisive streak: I couldn’t decide on a sandwich.

“Come on,” he urged, “it’s just a sandwich.”

“No. It’s not,” I thought to myself.  It was edible art.

I decided on a caprese sandwich: thick mozzarella, juicy tomato, and the perfect amount of dressing. I devoured my sandwich upon my return home and feelt like a queen.

Although I had finished my sandwich, my time with Balducci’s was not over. Just like my double-heist of H&Pizza a few weekends ago, I decided it was time to sample Balducci’s dinner selections. Essentially, I knew I couldn’t eat anything else after watching that chef delicately serve roasted veggies and crab to other customers… I needed to try it.

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I drove myself back to Balducci’s and ordered two “gourmet to go” dinners. I’m sure the people minding the security cameras were thinking, “who’s this girl back again so soon?” I didn’t care.

My order: salmon piccata, steak, roasted vegetables, assorted pasta salad… eggplant parmesan… I ordered more, but in my food-ordering delirium, I honestly cannot remember what else I got. All I know is that it was delicious.

Again, I returned home and sampled my prizes. Admittedly, “sampled” is not the right word — I ate these delicious dishes with gusto. Although one dinner set me back around $16 it was worth it.  I had gourmet food in my home and my shopping experience to procure it was fun. (And, in case you’re worried about my health and calorie intake, don’t–I shared the other dinner with a friend.) I suggest you do the same!

Where is it?

There are several locations.  I went to the store in McLean, Virginia.

6655 Old Dominion Dr
McLean, VA

Who Should go?

Those who love to eat food, shop for food, or wish they were wizards.  Really, everyone should go.

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McLean, VA location.