140 WEST CALIFORNIA STREET
Sunday afternoon. Everything is ready for the party except…
Oh no! The Cherries Jubilee! Two pounds of cherries need to be pitted. You reach for a knife, then remember how badly that went last time. Those poor cherries looked as though they’d been trampled by a wild animal. How are you going to get rid of all those stones without damaging the appearance of the fruit?
The Pot Rack to the rescue. Steve Abandonato and wife Joann Freeland have everything you could possibly need for cooking and entertaining, including those useful (and inexpensive) cherry pitters. Looking for cooking gifts? You’ll find something in every price range, from a few dollars for a simple Zak silicone garlic peeler/crusher (saves time and prevents stinky fingers), to a few hundred for the latest Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware.
The couple has been in the kitchenware business for twenty-five years, thirteen of them in their present location at 140 West California Street. Steve notes that when customers come in to request a item, there’s an eighty percent chance he’ll be able to hand it to them immediately. Or, if he doesn’t have it, he can get it within a week. Someone may come in off the street with a need, but no specific item in mind, and Steve likely will be able to help. Windows or mirrors fogged up? Try a MysticMaid microfiber cleaning cloth. Having trouble getting into that impermeable plastic packaging on a newly acquired item? Keep a tiny iSlice ceramic-bladed cutter in a kitchen drawer; it’ll cut the plastic—but not your fingers.
The store’s well-stocked “gadget wall” makes guys as interested as their wives in shopping at The Pot Rack. You’ll also find a table of pizza stones and barbecue tools, just right for a Super Bowl party.
On another wall, Joann, who does the displays, has demonstrated her feminine touch. Ceramic tea pots and a large selection of offerings from The Republic of Tea. Nearby, the eye is drawn to a display of colorful salad bowls and matching tongs, all in beautifully patterned melamine that goes perfectly with the French table linens.
Wonder how to create that Cherries Jubilee in the first place? You’ll find over fifty cookbooks scattered throughout the store.
Joann knows as much as Steve about what people like. When she brought in a selection of silicone grill pullers that keep your fingers safe when you check the food in the oven, he noted the silly faces molded into the hook end of the utensil. “We won’t sell a single one,” he predicted.
Today he’s eating his words. “They move so fast we can’t keep them in stock,” he says with a sheepish grin.