To-Go Food That’s To-Die for at Community Market Big Bear

Community Market Big BearRoasted triangle tip that’s downright addictive, seasoned just right. Homestyle meat loaf and enchiladas that taste like they came from the local cantina. All just a couple minutes of microwave time away!

Say hello to what Community Market owner Mark Doucette calls “cold fast food,” delicious fully-cooked entrees and side dishes that are the ultimate in convenience. Prepared in Community Market’s convection oven and commercial smoker and then vacuum-sealed air tight for freshness, the meals have become wildly popular and for good reason…just grab and zap for a real homestyle dinner, at very reasonable prices.

“We put out heartland comfort food that’s preservative-free and cooked the way you would do it at home,” Doucette said. “Most items are portioned for two people or servings. Everything we do is fresh, done right here and handmade.”

Like the enchiladas, rolled by hand in chicken, pork or cheese varieties. “Pork is always topped with green sauce, cheese is usually red, and the staff goes back and forth on which sauce chicken should get,” Doucette said. Either way just 90 seconds or so in the microwave delivers a delicious Mexican meal right at home.

Roasted triangle tip is another highlight. It’s perfectly seasoned and cooked before spending time in the store’s sous-vide oven that utilizes precise temperature control to deliver consistent, restaurant quality results. “It’s still pink edge to edge, medium rare tri-tip that’s perfect every time,” Doucette said. Roasted pepper pork loin is prepared the same way.

Kahlua pork comes from a recipe an employee raised in Hawaii provided whose uncle roasted pigs in the ground. Community Market simulates the process in its pressure cooker and duplicates it amazingly well. Especially with its homemade barbecue sauce, Doucette’s own recipe, that adds tangy sweet, tangy flavor.

Side dishes create full meals, like baked potato stuffed with cheese and all the fixings or potatoes O’Brien, vegetable medleys, savory mac and cheese and more. “There’s even smoked tofu for vegetarians that’s very popular,” Doucette said. All of the take-home items are dynamite, usually priced around five bucks or less, which is why Community Market added a second refrigerator case to meet demand.

Community Market has long been famous for hot foods like its chicken kabobs, which started from humble beginnings a quarter-century ago to being at least part of the reason the Kentucky chain left town. Each kabob boasts a whole coop’s worth of bird, with succulent pieces of skinless, boneless chicken first rolled in Community Market’s own barbecue sauce. Then it’s breaded in special seasonings and flour, cooked and assembled onto a skewer, five golf-ball sized pieces apiece.

Typically Community Market goes through 250 pounds of kabobs each week. Yet they’re only cooked in small batches, 12-15 kabobs at a time, so they’re always fresh and tender. Get `em early though for the last batch is usually around 4 p.m. Homemade burritos made with flour tortillas, tasty taquitos and guacamole sauce, poppers and rotisserie chicken are also in the deli.

Gotta mention the filet mignon, sold in packages of two expertly-trimmed half-pound cuts regularly priced at $10.89/lb., sometimes less during a sale. Even discriminating eaters find virtually no fat or grisle on the filets and that’s not by accident.

“Filet mignon comes with a strip of grisle in the middle that we take off every time,” Doucette said. “It takes five seconds to remove it, but most places don’t.”

Put them on the grill at home and it works out to filet mignon dinner for two for around ten bucks. Warning: eating filet mignon for five bucks a steak lowers tolerance for top sirloin and other cuts!

Community Market is at 100 E. Big Bear Blvd. in Big Bear City, four miles east of the supermarkets. Call (909) 585-2641.

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