When I moved to Bozeman 3 years ago, I have to confess that I was a little worried. I grew up in suburbia (outside Orlando, FL) and had spent the last several years living in other largely populated suburban areas. Bozeman’s little population of less than 50,000 was definitely intimidating. And where was I going to shop? Many of my favorite stores weren’t even in the state of Montana, let alone down the street. I took great comfort in knowing that at least there was a Target!
Within a few months of getting settled, I was completely in love. The sense of community here is amazing. The fabulous, independently and locally-owned shops on Main Street and throughout town have more than met my shopping needs. And the quality and customer service far exceed anything I ever found in a big box chain store.
And the fact that I can drive past this scene on my 2-mile drive to the grocery store, rather than row after row of strip malls. . . well, let’s just say it’s heavenly!
So, this week’s installment of Friday Favorites is dedicated to all those that call the Bozone home, that love this community and make it one fantastic place to live. Here’s a little taste of some of my favorite local products:
1. Claudia’s Salsa–unique and delicious, a party in your mouth! I spotted this little tub of bright green goodness at Town & Country a few months ago and it’s now a regular staple in our fridge.
She makes several varieties, but my favorite is this cilantro-based salsa. It’s bright, fresh, flavorful, and well, it’s just a party in your mouth! We love it with corn chips (these blue ones really make snack time a colorful party!), but it’s also fabulous with chicken and fish. The mild and hot versions are both great, but be warned that the hot has a heat that really sneaks up on you after a few bites. I recommend having a good, cold beer alongside if you go for the “caliente” version!
You can find her salsa’s at several grocery stores around town–Town & Country, Rosauer’s, Joe’s Parkway, Heeb’s. And check out her website, too. She’s got some mouth-watering recipes posted that definitely look worthy of trying.
2. Wheat Montana. I’ve been buying their sandwich bread since we moved here, but was excited to walk down the baking aisle of the grocery store and see bags of flour, made from wheat that grows in enormous fields about a half an hour from Bozeman. A drive past their farm is an image of pure Montana (click the link to their website and you’ll see what I mean!).
They are selling 3 varieties of flour–whole wheat, white, and white whole wheat–at almost every grocery store in town (even the big chain ones). I’m loving the Prairie Gold variety, which is a beautiful golden color that has the texture of white flour but is actually 100% whole wheat. I love whole wheat products and my kids have never seen a slice of white bread in their lives, but home baking with traditional 100% whole wheat flour is challenging. This stuff, however, makes it easy, giving me the texture I want in cookies and sweet breads and pancakes but the goodness of whole wheat.
And the most exciting thing is that they have just started distributing it outside of Montana! So you don’t have to live in the last best place to get it. Check out this page on their website to see what stores in your state are carrying it (p.s. they actually just started distributing through Wal-Mart Super Centers across the country, so it should be pretty easy to find).
3. The Mexican Mocha at The Daily. Like most towns, especially college towns, there is no shortage of coffee shops in Bozeman. One of my favorites is The Daily Coffee Bar. My go-to drink? The Mexican Mocha. Coffee, chocolate, and cinnamon in a steaming cup of deliciousness. . . mmmm, mmmm, good! I’ll admit that I usually take my latte’s “skinny,” but with the Mexican Mocha you have to go whole hog–no skimping on calories here–regular milk and whipped cream.
My husband’s vote goes to their Maple Latte and my youngest son gives a thumbs up to pastry/treat case.
I love The Daily so much, I have to share in the goodness. . . a $10 gift card is up for grabs so you can take a friend and both enjoy a Mexican Mocha (or Maple Latte or whatever tasty goodness floats your boat). Just leave me a note in the comments telling me one of your favorite local Bozeman products/places/shops (click on the word “comment” right under the title of the post up top to leave a comment). I’ll let random number generator pick a winner on Monday morning (2/14 around 8:00 a.m.) — a sweet little Valentine treat!
—Contest is now CLOSED, but I’d still love to know your local Bozeman favorites so feel free to leave a comment!—