LaDonna’s Fancy Foods

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One of the few things I really miss about the time I spent living in Belleville, Ill., is a little shop on West Main Street called The Cheesekeeper. You could buy just about any kind of cheese known to man at The Cheesekeeper: mizithra, Irish cheddar, and a host of lovely things I can’t begin to pronounce or spell, including a slightly sweet, creamy French cheese with English walnuts embedded in it. (I believe the official name of this cheese was “that French stuff with the walnuts in it.”)

I dearly miss The Cheesekeeper, but about a year ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to the next best thing: LaDonna’s Fancy Foods, located across the street from the Full Moon, in Tulsa’s lively Cherry Street business district.

On my first visit, I picked up a four-pound ball of mizithra and a quarter-pound of good Irish cheddar — nothing too adventuresome, but I thought I’d start with two of my favorites and go from there.

Ron and I were there a couple of weeks ago, and after indulging in free samples of whatever looked interesting, we bought a half-pound of Irish porter laced with Guinness beer. I’d post a photo, except — in typical fashion — I ate it before I remembered to take its picture. Good food usually doesn’t survive long enough for a photo op around here. Which is a shame, because this cheese was particularly photogenic. It looked like a mosaic with rich brown grout. Gorgeous stuff, and the flavor was out of this world. (I suspect a pound of this porter, shredded and stirred into a cup or so of boiling Guinness Stout and served with cubes of Irish soda bread for dipping, would give you a great centerpiece for a St. Patrick’s Day fondue party.)

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In addition to cheese, LaDonna’s sells gourmet candy (including cute animal-shaped chocolates like the kitten pictured above), kitchen gadgets, infused oils and vinegars, smoked salt, herbs, and jars of jelly, honey, and other goodies suitable for spreading on crackers and serving at your next party.

The staff is friendly and helpful, and the products are out of this world. Cheese — especially good, imported cheese — can get expensive, and you don’t want to shuck out $20 a pound for something that looked good, only to discover that it’s seriously Not Your Bag, so LaDonna’s, like most upscale shops worth their salt, offers customers the option of tasting a little sliver of whatever looks promising before they commit to a half-pound of it.

My only complaint with LaDonna’s is that the winter hours are a bit inconvenient, and parking can be a bit of a hassle. If you work in midtown and have time to dash out to pick up a few things on your lunch hour, you can shop at LaDonna’s; otherwise, you’ll probably have to wait until Saturday, because she closes at 5 p.m. during the winter. Summer hours are a bit longer — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week and 9 to 5 on Saturday.

If your schedule simply won’t allow a trip to the store, you can shop online at ladonnasonline.com.

LaDonna’s is located at 1523 E. 15th St.

Grades:
Value: A (the prices aren’t cheap, but they’re appropriate)
Service: A
Product: A+
Convenience: B-
Overall: A-

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~ by redforkhippie on March 3, 2007.

2 Responses to “LaDonna’s Fancy Foods”

  1. The nicest lady and the most knowledgable about cheese, teas, chocolates, oils and a host of other things. I try to shop there at least twice a month.

  2. Please note she has moved furter East on 15th to the Zoller’s shopping strip where the oarking is terrific and the new shop is soooo Tuscan.

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