A few months ago, Hubbell & Hudson Market was hopping with shoppers. The entrance was filled with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, displays of gorgeous bouquets and shelves of holiday-themed treats. As you walked through the store, you were greeted with samples of artisanal cheeses and meats, fresh-squeezed juices, slices of fluffy bread and everything else in between.
Now, the only way I know how to describe Hubbell & Hudson Market is by saying it is a sad scene. The employees are distraught, unmotivated and have no pep in their step as they once did; the once-overflowing produce section is diminished to practically nothing, and the display counters for cheese and deli meats are almost empty.
"What day are y'all closing?" I asked my cashier. "March 12 is our last day," she responded without even glancing up at me.
It's sad to see Hubbell & Hudson Market close. It's sad to see a once happy-go-lucky specialty grocery store so dim and lifeless.
But, as Hubbell's Market enters its final month of operation, it's time to stock up on the best items you normally cannot find at other stores. Here are my ten picks for the foods and products you should buy before Hubbell & Hudson Market says good-bye forever.
Hubbell & Hudson is known for its dry-aged beef. You won't find anything like it at standard grocery stores, such as Kroger or Randalls. Purchase a few steaks for that evening (or save for Valentine's Day) and grab a couple more to freeze. The extra flavor and tenderness from the dry-aging process makes Hubbell's beef outstanding.
Jeni's Ice Cream
This Ohio-based ice cream is a special treat found at Hubbell & Hudson. As of Sunday, February 9, the market had only a few half pints left, so act fast if you want smooth, sweet and extra-creamy ice cream in fruity and exotic flavors, such as wildberry lavender and chamomile.
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Whether you want coffee from Central America or Africa, or some of Hubbell & Hudson's specialty blends, you can find it in the coffee bean section of the store. Have the roaster on-hand grind the beans for you, or take the whole beans home for yourself. I recommend the Seven Cities Roast, Mexican Rainforest or Papua New Guinea.
On the other side of the coffee section, you will find a variety of intriguing chocolates and candies. Fill up a bag with chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, chocolate toffee pistachios, malt balls or the giant "boulders" of chocolate. Keep it for yourself, or save it for Valentine's Day or Easter -- they just might be able to keep fresh that long.
The Hubbell & Hudson Bistro uses Cyprus Black Lava Salt in the olive oil dip for bread, but you can also buy it inside the market, along with a variety of other specialty salts. Fill up a bag with Fleur De Sel, Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt. You can definitely keep these for a while in your pantry.
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There's not much left in the produce section, but there are a few items worth stocking up on, such as the mini Seckel Pears, a variety of spicy peppers, French green beans and Grapples. Hubbell always had a wide selection of intriguing fruits and vegetables, so head to the market now and pick out a few thing you've likely never seen in ordinary grocery stores.
Hubbell has a variety of staple breads, such as challah, brioche and French loaves. But, if you want something different, opt for the breads studded with chocolate and cranberries, olives, or garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. You might be able to sample some slices when you shop!
Pastries and Cakes
Grab a small Italian cream cake or a vanilla lemon cake, for a special occasion, or just for fun, from the pastry display case in the middle of the store. You can also purchase cakes, pies and tarts by the slice. Don't forget about the cannoli and strawberry eclairs.
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Unfortunately, macarons don't stay fresh very long, so you'll have to eat them soon after you purchase the delicacies, but the ones sold at Hubbell are quite tasty; they are also decorated with a pretty drizzle of filling on top. Pair a raspberry or Earl Grey macaron with a cup of coffee for a nice treat. Throw in the banana bread covered in chocolate for a twist on a cake ball.
Hubbell sells beautifully designed chocolates from Norman Love and Christopher Elbow. Each chocolate is glossy, shiny and gorgeous; they almost look like works of art. Fill a box with a variety of flavors, such as Lemon Bar with a white chocolate shell, tiramisu with a dark chocolate shell or Tahitian Caramel with hints of vanilla.