Health comes first at downtown shop | WALLY’S WORLD

Well friends, I’m not much into “health food” and I’m not overly concerned with the fare I consume, though there’s all kinds of scientific evidence to indicate I should be. I’m sure we’re eating a lot of garbage that, if it doesn’t permanently and irreversibly damage our bodies, isn’t doing us any good. I mean, that chicken we ingest on a regular basis has spent its entire life in a foot-square box and is pumped full of more drugs then Dow Chemical can readily name or comprehend and there isn’t a scientist anywhere in the country who has a clear idea what all that junk might do to us in the long run.

Therefore, making a half-hearted effort to avoid preservatives like Calcium Propionate and everyone’s favorite cold cereal additive BHT (whatever that is), it gives me a great delight to pick up a jar of Adam’s peanut-butter and discover that the only ingredient in the mix is peanuts. However, those peanuts may not have been grown on “organic” farms, so the product might be drowned in dimethylamine and ethyulhexyl – I defy anyone to pronounce either one – or other pesticides. (If it isn’t one damn thing it’s another.)

So, it’s nice to know the food-stuff in Kelly’s Mercantile is free of all such foreign chemicals; i.e., free of pesticides, fertilizers, preservatives and artificial colors and taste enhancers. Yet, I wouldn’t call the place a grocery store because the inventory is very limited.

One day last week, I sat down with the owner, Kelly Bauer. She’s an attractive, effervescent, very healthy young lady who said she discontinued most of the grocery products because QFC carries a lot of the same natural and organic stuff and, of course, she can’t compete with a corporate giant like that. Kelly said the Mercantile is a restaurant and coffee shop in which all the salads, sandwiches and soups are made from scratch using natural, organic ingredients; that is, ingredients from organic farms and orchards. The meat comes from cattle raised on chemical-free, natural, open ranges, not feedlots.   Judging from the many signs and labels, nearly everything in the place is “gluten free.” Even the beer. (I’m rather ashamed to admit I don’t even know what “gluten” is.)

Her chefs, Ky Loop and Mike Harding, used to cook at Café Panini. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer an all-day brunch on Sundays. It’s an unusual menu with many items I’ve never seen before, but I’m anxious to try. There are 21 varieties of wine.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, the place has live music featuring large jazz bands (14 pieces), small jazz combos, blues musicians and single performers of one type or another. Yet the atmosphere is nothing like a bar. It’s strictly a family-friendly kind of place.

Drop by some day, say hello and get an espresso. Or, if you need to kick-start a synapse or two, get a cup of their black, drip coffee. I’m quite certain that stuff will leave you sufficiently wired for and entire afternoon.