Karen starts her tour of the new Kroger Marketplace off right, with a mimosa.

Summerwood’s new Kroger Marketplace store has it all. I was lucky enough to be invited to the grand opening of the 12th and newest Kroger Marketplace in greater Houston last week. I arrived as suggested, five minutes prior to the grand opening. The line to get in wrapped around the front of the building and everyone was in line in an orderly fashion as area Kroger executives gave them shopping carts and directed individuals and families to get in line. When the clock struck 8a.m., the doors opened to 30 or more store employees and executives applauding the customers. It was like a Hollywood red carpet walk. The customers were cheered then handed coupons, samples and handshakes as they came through the doors. I am so glad I was there to witness this event. I was then given a private VIP tour of the 60 shopping aisles, starting with the in-store Cork &Tap (Beer and Wine Bar). Here they offer beer and wine by the glass including 12 local craft beers on tap. I was given a frothy, fruity mimosa to start my tour and it just kept getting better. You can enjoy these drinks by the glass or purchase a bottle of wine off the shelf and a server will pour it for you and a wonderful bonus is the fact that a wine consultant is on site. How cool is that? From clothing, shoes, home goods and countertop appliances to a Starbucks Premium coffee shop, this store has it all. And I hadn’t even gotten to the food aisles yet! The store has a year-round commitment to supporting Texas farmers, ranchers, food producers, wineries and breweries, and Kroger is continuously looking for opportunities to purchase regionally. Nolan Ryan exclusive meats are included at the meat and seafood shop. There is also a Chef Shop with ready-made, on-site, salads entrees vegetables and sushi that will have me coming here often for dinner.  For those of you who don’t enjoy shopping (I can’t even imagine that), there is ClickList, an online ordering service exclusive to Kroger. Shop online and pick up curbside. Now that’s the type of shopping my husband likes. He would never have to step into the store.

My favorite was the cheese and deli department. I crave sheep and goat cheese, but more often than not I have a hard time finding a good variety. Well, not any more. I saw an entire counter full of these cheeses including a hard-to-find Roquefort goat cheese. I am still searching for a Swiss goat or sheep to satisfy my cravings. In the interim, “Please Join My Table” as I share with you two great easy cheese appetizers. 

 

Roquefort Goat Cheese Crumble

8 ounces Roquefort goat cheese

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup red onion

1/2  cup parsley

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Endive leaves

DIRECTIONS: Crumble cheese; drizzle with EVOO and garlic. Mix with Roquefort mixture, chill till ready to complete (30 minutes minimum). Combine the remaining ingredients except the endive leaves, add to the Roquefort mixture. Serve in endive leaves with crackers.

 

Easy Cheese Stuffed Piquant Peppers

2 dozen sweet *piquant peppers, pickled, drained and wiped dry

1 8-ounce log of soft herb spices goat cheese

DIRECTIONS: Cut goat cheese into 24 pieces and roll into balls. Push one cheese ball into each pepper top. Place on a serving tray and you are done! 

*Sweet piquant peppers also called sweet red cherry peppers or peppadew. They are actually cherry-tomato-shaped peppers sold in jars, pickled or at olive bars.