Groupon has become a sort of addiction for Gene (my beau) and I. To say that the money savings isn't a motivating factor would be a lie, but it also encourages us to try new places and trying new places is a bit of a hobby for me. After all, what would I write about otherwise.
This would be a great time to mention that one of the staff members is a guy with a heavy German/Austrian/Bavarian? accent whose wife worked their for years until she passed away. He just shows up on Saturdays to help out. Did we all get sucked into a vortex and end up in a fantasized Brighten Beach... where's Jonathan Silverman? The rest of the staff is made up of several hurried, cheerful men and women, girls, and a cute little college aged boy I swear I knew from somewhere. They scurry back and forth grabbing sausages (OK another moment), wrapping and ringing up orders, and ducking into the back where large sausage making mechanisms are visible. Busy Bee's every one of them.
The store itself is lined with cases of their famous sausage, lunch meats, raw cuts of various parts of animals, including liver. The tops of the cases are arranged with gift packs, a basket with what used to be Gus' pretzels, samples of their beef sticks, butcher paper, and scales. The shelves directly opposite house various German centric candies and pantry items. The customers are a mix of trendy women who desire to be in the know of the quaint little neighborhood places (hi mom), old German women shopping for "tin" liver (that's 'thin' for those who need translating), and hot sweaty people who came in for the free beer or the Groupon.
Gene and I both maxed out and surpassed the value of our Groupon loading up on specialty sausages and brats. I should say he loaded up on brats while I loaded up on specialty sausage: Chorizo, polish, hot links, Hungarian, andouille, salsiccia, and on and on. We exited with our crisp white butcher paper bundles and hurried to the nearest Walgreen's to buy ice. Remember the HOT day and the no air conditioning? We weren't taking any chances with our new prizes!
So, now you want to know how it tastes. Does it live up to the hype? Were they, indeed, worth the wait? While we haven't had an opportunity to try all of the variety we purchased we've cooked up a couple different types. The first we tried was the salsiccia. This is an Italian sausage that is typically a pork sausage and spiced according to the region of Italy they call home. This particular salsiccia was of the southern variety and spiced primarily with fennel. We used them to cook up some sausage and peppers on hoagie rolls. I abandoned my hoagie roll and peppers to fill my belly with the comforting, fennel-ly, juiciness of the salsiccia. I expected it to be spicier or sweeter but it had a real savory quality to it and it didn't loose any of its moisture in the cooking process. This might be a good place to mention that most of their meats are fully cooked before selling which take a bit of the paranoia out of the prep process for me. We also sampled the Hungarian brat in a red pepper penne dish. Their Hungarian brats are spiced with paprika and garlic. It was a satisfying, meaty, juicy treat.