There is a great food imports store on the south end of Seattle that I love. It is called Big John’s PFI. It may be a bit hard to find amongst the other warehouses and in between the sports stadiums, but you must go if you are ever in the area. It is a no frills warehouse space that is filled with all different kinds of pastas, cheeses, olives, candies, teas, olive oils, vinegar, and spices galore.
There are a few stipulations about this wonder of joy. Because it is a bulk importer you sometimes need to buy the items in bulk. For example, a two pound bag of pasta is standard. The herbs and spices are in these large five gallon buckets that you need to measure out yourself. Oh and the cheese; you can only get in a half pound if it is over $20- for a pound, otherwise you have to purchase it by the pound. But do I mind? Absolutely not! It makes me love it even more.
This is one of the few places I have found outside of Northern New Jersey that has over a dozen Olive Oils, knows the difference between Ricotta Salata & Ricotta Romano, and carries more than one kind of Torrone. All things from my childhood I adore.
So how did I find this place? I mean it has the tiniest sign that you can drive by easily. I was visiting my uncles who live here four years ago and we were going downtown to tour. But my Uncle Sal said we had to make a stop so that he could buy his olives. He said he bulks up on them whenever he is in the area. So off we went on foot under the Viaduct (which has been partially torn down in the last two weeks), around one of the stadiums, and down into the parking lot to see a sign in the colors of the Italian flag that read PFI. I was in awe at what I saw, and you would not believe what my uncle bought. Not one, not two, but three pounds of olives. And he carried them in his back all the way back through downtown. It was an experience – as anything with my Uncle Sal is.
I do not go on crazy excursions to PFI now like I did that day with my uncle, although I do limit myself to a carrying basket as opposed to a push one. It is the one way I try to contain my purchases! But I did come home with some treasures. Two kinds of Olive Oil- one from Portugal and the other from Sicily, two different kinds of pasta, dried hibiscus flowers, a bag of faro, Sea Salt, Ricotta Salata, an aged Chevre, and oil cured olives. I think this will keep me content for a week…maybe two. When I make dinner with all of these goodies Brian will be in for a treat.