Or maybe two and half tanks?! Who remembers, we were having too much fun! Paula said yes to my invitation to head down to Cincinnati to have a quick visit with my brother’s family. And she was also fine with my weird hankering to go to this place called Jungle Jim’s! I saw it on PBS, you know that show the one guy does, he has The Hot Dog Show, and The French Fry Show, and this particular episode was called To Market To Market. He featured not only Cleveland’s West Side market but also Jungle Jim’s. I love food, I love markets, and I adore taste-testing foreign foods, and Jim’s is an international food market, so let’s go!
Before we made it to Jim’s, we dropped a book to a UC student, she’s a daughter of a friend so we took a quick trip through the Queen City along the Ohio River, and over the bridges to Covington. It was a bitter cold, but clear night, and the city glistened. We then hooked up with family up near Mason and had dinner at Two Cities Pizza Co. Loved it, what’s better than Chicago or New York-style pizza in one location? Paula and I embraced our new healthy lifestyles (lol, ,read what I just wrote) and even got in the fitness room for a late-night workout. Next day was a quick trip to the mall for a quick peek, lunch with my sister-in-law Jodi, then on to Jungle Jim’s.
What a hoot! This place is like a cross between the produce section of the West Side Market, with the size of a bigger Costco or Sam’s, and the ethnic focus of an older, more ethnic Eataly, it’s just crazy. Not to mention the barber shop, the toy store, the bar and huge liquor store, a cooking school, and the Rumpke port-o-lets inside the store for humor I’m guessing, but people were using them! (And to be fair, they also have standard restrooms available as well.)
You can’t miss the location in Fairfield (sort of near/around Cinci, Dayton and Columbus) once you get close, I mean my local grocer doesn’t have an elevated amusement park tram running around the place, and my grocer also doesn’t have a map of the store, and directional signs in the parking lot. Paula and I thought we’d look for a quick minute more than really shop, so we skipped grabbing a cart. We didn’t even get a basket until mid-way through our trek through the jungle and holding our loot was getting to be tricky!
I think Paula might have been converted to the ways of Jungle Jim as soon as we walked in and smack dab into the olive bar and her beloved picholine olives and all things marinated. Then it was cooler after cooler after cooler of cheeses. And more cheeses. I bought a couple of pieces from Galicia (!) and the Pyrenees region of France. Yum!
The aisles are winding and the place seems never-ending. The huge beer, wine, and liquor areas. I mean HUGE! And talk about variety! Then there is the pretty standard, but large bakery, candy section, and meat and fish. Oh yeah, the fish swim in tanks, then you pick and buy which ones you like. Talk about fresh! The produce area is a riot of color and variety, and not-so-bad prices.
Don’t stop walking because you have to get to the international foods area. You will not be disappointed! Bosnia, Thailand, Australia, Hungary, Brazil, and the UK are just a few of the many countries represented in this area. (I also love that the countries are organized by geographic region rather than by alphabet.) Everything from pop and cookies, to candy, noodles, cooking supplies, seasonings and other staples were represented. It was all fascinating and put a smile on our faces!
Oh! The hot sauces are alphabetized and run more than a standard-sized grocery store shelf.
Need a new soup pot, scrubbing brush, knife, or apron? Check the cooking school area for a feel of a mini-Sur La Table.
And if you get there soon, you too can celebrate all things Japan–food toys, candy, drinks. Every month it’s a different party for a different country!
Who knew this fun was hiding in Ohio! We need to get out more!