Monday, November 29, 2010

4 Hours in Jungle Jim’s

Christy and I have talked for a while about making a trip to Jungle Jim’s International Market for a while now. We’ve both heard incredible things about the amazing variety of cultural foods. Food brought in from all over the world and organized by country… a variety of international product… an amazing cheese selection… unreal wines…

For the most part, our socks were pretty much knocked off. We had some complaints we talked out in the car- nothing against the store itself, more about the shopping experience. Some compare Jungle Jim’s to Trader Joe’s. One major difference is that Trader Joe’s is a shopping experience. The employees love their jobs and their passion and happiness is infectious. People who shop at Trader Joe’s are passionate about the food and you can easily strike up a conversation at any section of the small store and learn about great experiences others have had with what you want to try. Jungle Jim’s… the employees often didn’t want to be bothered with our questions and the other shoppers certainly didn’t seem to enjoy our eagerness and passion for all the wonderful food. So we found things we were excited about but our spirits were dampened by the lack of enthusiasm.

4 hours in 1 store- yes, it is that big- and you know I took pictures!

Sit back and relax- this might take a while.

We spent at least an hour in the huge wine section. It’s divided into a fine wine section, a section by grape, and also sections by country and a section of local/Midwestern wineries. I didn’t take many pictures- until I came across the locked away private section of the wines. The area where you will spend a minimum of $100 on a bottle… and where bottles as high as $5000 were displayed in the window.


There is a butter bar. An entire section dedicated to butter. Roll butter, Irish butter, herb and garlic butter, black truffle butter and more.


These cheddar cheese were adorable. I had to get some for the kids. Zach has a monkey and Teagan a giraffe- the monkey is now headless and the giraffe no longer has legs.


This is Charlie Cheese. Comes in a big block and when cut off slices- it’s a smiley face!!


At the cheese section of the deli counter, the cheese guy was cutting an order of something like parmesan for a woman. Huge block of cheese, a wire, and a crank to work the wire through the cheese…


An entire section dedicated to bleu cheese… my own little bit of heaven.


Considered getting a fresh mozzarollup- the offerings sounded so tasty!


They offer a variety of gift baskets. You can make a basket with anything in it and they had some previously put together baskets. I thought this one was fun- a taste of Cincinnati.


Unique mushrooms that I don’t find at my neighborhood grocery.


I picked up a pummelo. I’ve never tried one but the sign says the pummelo is the ancestor of all grapefruit. And I love grapferuit so it’s worth a try. It’s a HUGE fruit so I will have to share it!


A shot of just one of the multitude of rows of “regular” produce.


And then I started into the international produce…


5 different kinds of coconut!!


Eggs. Not just chicken eggs… quail, duck, and something called balut eggs (I had to look it up- balut is a boiled, fertilized egg. Blech.)


The hot sauce section… was… eye opening. I was curious what could possibly be so adult about hot sauces that they had to go on the highest shelf and have a screen to cover them. Trust me- they were basically porno labeled hot sauces.


What shocked me though… was that after seeing the screen and looking behind it… the labels of the sauces on the regular shelves and at the level of my waist or my knees… (click to enlarge)


Very interesting beers, as well. I love when breweries have fun with the names of their brews!


My final stash- a good amount of alcohol, some cheese, some juice, ponzu sauce, greek seasoning, palmbutter, almond butter, artichoke and garlic salsa, a large jar of capers, and some dark chocolate spread.


Something caught my eye… as you can see in the above photo, there is something colorfully wrapped in the picture above, right at the conveyor belt where I usually see gum, candy, chapstick at my local grocer. Nope. Fruit flavored tobacco products. I was kinda appalled at that one- brightly colored and placed where there are usually treats and goodies.


Jungle Jim’s has a lot of unique and interesting decorations. I should have gotten more pics. As you exit the store, you pass through a concrete “zoo.” Inside the store, there are displays like Sherwood Forest for the British area and other themed displays. What I wish I’d investigated and photographed were the bathrooms. You can check them out here- fantastically creative!


It was a fun trip. And I think Christy and I might venture back again sometime if the circumstances line up right for us to do so. However, we generally found that the prices were pretty high on the things that didn’t need to be so high and the people weren’t very friendly, fun, passionate, or helpful. In the meantime, I’ll keep heading to Trader Joe’s for cheese, wine, snacks, and staples and be happy with my food and delighted with my experience and the price tags.


Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

I am SO jealous. We don't even have a Trader Joe's here. The closest thing we have is a Fresh Market, which is nice but very very small.
Thanks for giving us a little taste of it!

Liz Mays said...

That reminds me of a store here, but I've only been in once so I can't remember what it's called. I spent more time browsing there and not so much buying though. Mine is expensive!

Momza said...

Wow! What a trip!
At first I thought this was going to be about a kids' pizza play place we used to go to Jungle Gym's--and I thought, "oh my heck--four hours?? Thank goodness I don't have little ones anymore!"--and then I was relieved to see the real deal! Whew!