Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Bracke's freshens its fare


By Mary Sanker
Enquirer contributor

Paula at Bracke's is the old Bracke's grocery brought up to date.

Under new owner-operator Paula Kirk, the venerable Mount Lookout source for meats and staples has been transformed into a fine foods and butcher shop with quality meats, fish, cheeses, wines and produce, as well as some hard-to-find gourmet items. (Kirk also operates Paula's Gourmet Deli downtown.)

Shopping in the sleekly renovated space with slate flooring and stainless steel shelving can be adventurous for cooks but what about folks who just want a quick meal ready to take home?

There is a small but select prepared foods menu from which you can pull together a tasty dinner. Try whole roasted Amish chicken ($9.95), tender pork loin ($6.99/pound) or a nicely flavored meatloaf ($5.98/pound). There is a selection of deli salads and a few side dishes, such as steamed baby carrots ($9.99/pound) or haricot verts ($5.75/pound), depending on the cook's whims and what is fresh.

A big plus is that Bracke's carries Shadeau bakery breads, so with a crusty baguette and a slab of the luscious truffle mousse pate ($14.99/pound), you can make a light summertime meal with fruit, cheese and wine.

You can get a variety of foods to take home and heat - lasagna ($4.99/pound) to barbecued baby-back ribs (9.19/pound) to homey macaroni and cheese ($4.99/pound). In the freezer case are more entrees to bake or reheat at home - Bracke's own sausages ($2.99/pound), ground beef patties ($2.19/pound) or chicken tenders ($4.99/pound).

Or you can order a sandwich freshly made from Bracke's wide selection of sausages, cheeses and roasted meats. ($5.25-$5.75). Add a container of pasta salad ($4.99), some juicy ripe peaches and head to Riverbend or the ballpark.

For dessert, try Avi's frozen chocolate tart, lemon raspberry tart or key lime pie, available in individual-size containers ($3.79), or pick up some Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

If you're lucky, homemade blueberry pie ($9.99) will be there when you stop in.

Paula at Bracke's, 1010 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout Square, hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday. 871-1515

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