Falafel on the shelves

Chico’s ABC Market adds Mediterranean groceries; Paradise businesses reopen; gluten-free bakery in town

A few weeks ago, I got a hankering for a soda while watching TV and loaded my Boston terrier sidekick, Oliver, into the car and shot over to the ABC Market on West Ninth Street. I was not at all prepared for what I’d find inside.

The single island of shelves in the middle of the store had been replaced by two sets of shelves, with an aisle between them. And instead of being stocked with only generic convenience-store fare like Pringles and Progresso, there was a full-fledged Mediterranean market. I think my jaw literally dropped. My soda craving was forgotten; it was shopping time.

As I ogled the items, from couscous and falafel mix to exotic teas and spices I’d need to Google to figure out what to do with, I told the clerk how excited I was at the change. He said the owners had grown tired of making trips to Sacramento to buy ingredients, so they decided to bring the ingredients to them. Awesome! I walked out with just a jar of tahini and a bottle of rose water—even though it was cool outside, with Oliver in the car, I couldn’t stay long. Next time I’ll bring recipes!

Reopened on the Ridge Last Friday (May 24), the Paradise Medical Group Clinic reopened on the Ridge (at 6460 Pentz Road) after having been damaged in the Camp Fire. In addition to replacing its former facility, the medical group, which also now has a Chico presence, unveiled a new tech platform dubbed PMG Connect. The platform, a collaboration with Blue Shield of California—which donated $2 million toward the Camp Fire rebuild effort—will allow patients to visit with PMG doctors via cellphone, tablet or computer. That seems especially needed considering so many people have been displaced since November.

Finding a way While perusing Facebook last week, I stumbled upon a post for a bakery I hadn’t heard of before called Loophole Food. It’s run by Chico mom Jessica Jackson, who was “tired of telling my sweet kiddos ‘no’ every time they saw something in the store they couldn’t have ….” Her family eats gluten-free, so baked goods were particularly difficult to find.

The photos on Jackson’s site are impressive, the doughnuts and cookies, etc., candy for the eyes. And with flavors like blackberry amethyst and blueberry lemonade, I’m intrigued even if I have no gluten allergy. It’s all free of GMOs and artificial coloring and flavoring, too. Go to myloopholefoods.com for more.

Sidewalk sale While out for a coffee break last week, a couple of co-workers and I walked past Woodstock’s Pizza and chatted briefly with the employees manning the table out front. The restaurant closed after the storms a few months ago, which caused its ceiling to cave in. Apparently, the damage was so extensive it might be a few months before it reopens. In the meantime, they’re selling slices and preordered full pies out front.