I love a good surprise. That's not a shocking statement, but I particularly love boxes that arrive on my doorstep promising food-related goodies selected just for little ol' me.
This was my first month participating in the Foodie Penpals program put together by the lovely Lindsay over at her blog The Lean Green Bean. The concept is that someone spends $15.00 to put together a box of goodies and mails it to you, and you put together your own box and mail it to a different person. On the last day of the month, the penpals post what they have received. What's amazing is that 1,300 people in the US/Canada participate each month!
I was the lucky recipient of a box from Ashley P. of Virginia Beach--Ashley doesn't have a blog, or I would plug it here, but she apparently has a sixth sense of WAW--What Alaskans Want.
WAW is a little skewed--our local daily paper, which is about the thickness of your average leaflet left on your door trying to convince you to buy lawn services or order Chinese food--periodically does a survey asking Alaskans what stores/restaurants they think should come to town.
Target was on the list for a long time, and now they're in the Alaska market like gangbusters. Too bad that they are nowhere near my house.
The Olive Garden was the number one for years and years. I was recently informed that Anchorage is now the proud owner of a newish Olive Garden, in which I have not set foot and plan never to do so unless a client drags me there.
The number one now? It has to be Trader Joe's. I am not exaggerating when I say that people literally take an extra bag on vacation when they are venturing to a place that has a Trader Joe's, and fill it up with food. The dried fruit is particularly popular, since it makes for great hiking/skiing/camping snacks and is wicked expensive at grocery stores here.
So imagine my delight when I opened my box and found tons of Trader Joe's goodies, including dried bananas and green mango. David opened the latter immediately and started popping pieces in his mouth. Ashley also sent brown rice-marshmallow treats (think a healthier version of a Rice Krispy bar), shelf-stable gnocchi (delicious with a brown butter-Swiss chard sauce a week ago), wasabi peas (spicy and delicious), a tin of green tea-flavored mints and a packet of her very own, delicious granola.
To check out the penpal program, which is open to both bloggers and readers, go here. Thanks to Ashley for the wonderful treats!
My box went to Sarah--you can check out her blog Sparkly Lil' Life here.
Have a great holiday weekend!