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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trinacria

Trinacria Foods
406 Paca St Baltimore, MD 21201-1880
(410) 685-7285

Saturday was Groupon Day for Dave and I. We each had one for this Italian Deli/Grocery, Trinacria, as well as one for a used bookstore in Columbia so we decided on lunch first, then books.

Josh the Groupawn mentioned he'd tried this place when he was in town last weekend and said that the food was amazing. We had to GPS the location as it was in a part of town we weren't familiar with and upon our arrival, we realized why.

This little Italian Gem is located in a rather unpolished neighborhood, which judging by the buildings most likely was a rich and elegant part of the city at one time. Now many of the storefronts are boarded up or of the Value variety. Dave double-checked to make sure we still wanted to try it, and I said "Of course!" so we went in.

Walking in to this shop is like walking into a whole other world. To your left is the cash register, bulk items, deli counter/sandwich making area, and to your right is shelf after shelf of Italian pastas, sauces, ingredients, wines, etc. We wandered around taking it all in for a few moments before checking out the menu.

Dave decided on what he was having pretty quickly, and it took me a few minutes before I settled on the Prosciutto Panini which came with sliced prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and roasted red pepper on grilled bread. Our Groupons we worth $10 so we each grabbed a can of soda, I ordered a Black Bottom Cupcake for dessert and in addition to his Tuna Sandwich Dave got a Caesar salad.

The one drawback to this place is that it is small. Their customer flow is too heavy for such a small shop, so you're constantly shuffling by people, squeezing between shelves and other customers and trying to make yourself as small as possible. However, the staff is phenomenal, incredibly friendly, patient, helpful and knowledgeable.

Dave and I rang up separately since we each had our own Groupon and his total came to just over $4 with the $10 discount, mine ended up coming up short so I had to tack on one of their 99 cent homemade brownies to bump me over the $10 mark. It was worth it.

We took our loot to the car and decided we couldn't wait to get home or get to a place where we could eat properly, so we unwrapped everything there in the front seat. The first bite of my sandwich was heaven. I'll admit I've never really tasted prosciutto before but it's like if bacon and ham got together and had a gorgeous bastard child like Brad and Angelina did, that child would be named Prosciutto. The cheese was soft and warm, the peppers sweet and flavorful and the mound of prosciutto offered the perfect meaty saltiness to tie it all together so nicely.
Dave's sandwich was pretty good as well, I thought. It was a little strange eating Italian tuna, but I thought it worked quite well. We're both certain the tuna was flavored with basil as well as some other Italian spices, and the bread was so good. It was buttery, soft and just so good I could have just eaten that.

There's not much to say about the salad. It was a typical Caesar salad, crisp romaine, homemade croutons (fabulous), Parmesan cheese (fresh!), and a little packet of Caesar dressing. It was good though, really fresh, nothing was limp or rotting (always a good sign) and the croutons were amazing. On second thought, there's a lot you could say about this salad. The fact the the Parmesan and the croutons were both fresh speaks volumes to this place.

For the desserts, the Black Bottom cupcake was a wonderful little concoction that tasted more like a cream cheese topped brownie than cake, which is how I like my cake. It was moist, chocolatey and delicious. The brownie was a little dry, but you could definitely tell it was homemade so it earned some bonus points there.

My only regret is not buying some of their house pasta sauce, which we will be doing very soon as well as some of their pasta and fresh mozz and parm. I feel an Italian night coming on. Just don't tell Isabella's that we cheated on them.

4 out of 5 noms!

CHARM CITY NOMS WARNING:

STORE LOCATION IS CLOSE TO SKETCHY AREAS, VISIT AT OWN RISK.

Dave's 2cents:
So, the only thing this place going against them is the location. Its about 2-3 blocks north of the Lexington market. To locals, I should be hearing a, "ewwww" from you, for visitors, I will explain.

I'm 6 Foot, 280lbs and built like a wall. There are certain places I feel comfortable out of my car in Baltimore, this place is not one of them. I circled the block to survey the area, and to make Jenn comfortable. We parked a block south of the location, it seemed parking close to this store is impossible, there was even a lot of double parking.

As you can see by the 1st picture of this post, this place looks like a hole. It TRULY is a gem in the rough though. Once walking through the door, I had what I can only describe as a Narnia / Wardrobe experience.

Inside was this cute, GREAT SMELLING, deli/bakery/grocery store! Fresh store made jars of sauce lined the walls, along with bags of fresh pasta, oils, etc. They have an Olive bar with i believe 8-14 different types of olives. The back area have bakers racks full of baguettes, Italian loafs and other breads I didn't recognize.

This place belongs in Little Italy, seriously.

My food was great, the staff was super helpful and kind.
And another tip, when you walk in, TAKE A NUMBER! It is not well labeled and we pissed people off by skipping them. OOPS! (numbers located immediately to the left of the door)

Trinacria on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

Lindsay said...

I love Trinacria's!! We go there several times a month for lunch. There sandwich platters are a great deal. Italian Wedding Soup is awesome. The meatball sub is like three meals in one, that sandwich is huge and delicious. Their pasta sauce is great too. They have frozen ready made meals in the back freezer which are so convenient. You missed the best part of the store, the WINE!! They have $3.99 wine and if you buy a case you get a 10% discount.

Don't let the location scare you, you have to try this place, you'll be hooked!

Dave R. said...

Legally as Foodies w/ a blog we are required to warm people if we know a store is located in a bad neighborhood. We could be held liable if something were to happen to a customer that went into an unsafe area because of us.

Unless your under a rock, you'll know that stabbings and muggings go on daily within blocks of the Lexington market. Especially during summer months.

It would be reckless of us NOT to warn people about the possible dangers of this area.

However I have taken both of your points and I have re-worded my warning. Rather than saying its located IN a bad area, its close to one. Thats the best I can do for you guys. Sorry.

periwinkle604 said...

Yes, we learned that too. From the outside, it almost looks as if it's shut down but once inside you're in this amazing little shop. No worries on the location scaring us anymore, now that we know what's in there. This is one place we are very happy we reviewed, and we're hoping this blog will encourage more people to give it a try as well.

Anonymous said...

Trinacria is located in an area called the Downtown Market Center. It is actually a neighborhood that is in the revitalization process.

For the past 10 years, I have been in and out of many stores in the Market Center area on a daily and weekly basis, and never have I had a crime committed against me, nor have I seen a crime committed.

I would encourage you and your readers to visit the website for the area, as there are quite a few "gems" to be found...

www.MarketCenterBaltimore.org

Tony said...

Although this block looks pretty "shut down" right now, I agree with the previous review. I have never experienced crime when going to Trinacria. I see lot's of college students and office workers there for lunch, sitting right on the curb. I have never been there at night but I don't think they are open anyway. Otherwise, it looks sketchy but only took one trip to realize i would be fine.

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