Because the plethora of specialty markets around Toledo is pretty insanely awesome, we’ve decided to make Top Underrated Quarantine Snacks into a series featuring markets around the city. This week’s edition spotlights a few of the prime social-distancing munchies to be found at Middle East Market (4623 W Bancroft), the well-stocked market that appends notable Lebanese grill Sidon. (In addition to the snacks, note that this Middle East Market is one of the few markets in town that still stocks fresh chicken.)
Now, onward to the snacks:
Pureed Garlic Sauce
Perhaps the best overlooked news in all of this madness is the fact that Middle East Market sells cartons of its pureed garlic sauce, which is life changing. It’s a creamy blend of spreadable garlic that boosts pretty much any savory food item you try it on. In fact, I challenge you to find a food item that it doesn’t immediately elevate to the flavoral stratosphere. You’re welcome in advance.
Sparkling Vimto Fruit Flavor Drink
It’s a British Faygo Red Pop, except it’s a little more brown-red, the color of a fruitier Dr Pepper. Goes great with a woodsy bourbon over rocks.
Roasted, heavily salted and crunchy, the dried pumpkin seeds found in the bulk foods section of Middle East Market are ideal snack companions for the hours of D-list sports programming networks like ESPN have substituted in lieu of the basketball tournaments everyone who cares about sports is disappointed got cancelled. The dried pumpkin seeds pair exceptionally well with the canine long-jump event at the Great Outdoor Games though.
Surprisingly grainy and funkier in flavor than their fresh counterparts, dried kiwis are a snack that, once you get munching, can either prove difficult quit or encourage moderation and impose self-restraint. It’s all about whether you’re OK with the texture, which seems to dissolves into a mineral finish after a few bites.
Shatta Red Hot Pepper Sauce
Shatta Red Hot Pepper Sauce leans on the saltier side with a whisper of smoke. Sure, the kick is present, but think of the sauce as more of a flavor enhancer for usually bland, starchy side dishes like rice or potatoes. And if you live with someone who cooks chicken in boring ways (i.e. the oven or, heaven forbid, boiling), this salty chili sauce may well save your life.