By Caroline Benveniste
The Village, like the rest of the City, has seen a spate of food store closings (also reported in the New York Times article “Where Did My Supermarket Go?” on November 4, 2016). This month, we report on the closing of Mrs. Green’s. However, the Village is still a wonderful place to shop for food, particularly if you are willing to travel to different venues for different ingredients.
Here is my shopping game plan:
Pantry Items: For the basics (butter, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cooking oils such as grape seed, coconut, sesame, and olive, rice of all sorts, frozen edamame, goat cheese, nuts, dried fruit) and some specialty items (prepared chestnuts, turkey bone broth, cooked lentils, tahini, frozen leeks, green tea mochi, chocolate-covered peppermint Joe-Joe’s), I stock up at Trader Joe’s. For exquisitely flavored olive oils, balsamic vinegar, and salt, I head to The Filling Station at Chelsea Market. Brooklyn Fare has good prices and a fine selection of vinegar, yogurt, organic milk, canned tomatoes, dried pasta, jams, jarred tuna, hot sauces, and ice cream.
Deli Items: Agata & Valentina has the juiciest roast turkey, the best mozzarella, hand-sliced smoked salmon, fresh cream cheese, ricotta, and salumi, including an exclusive line of dry-cured salamis from Emilia-Romagna that were only recently approved for import. Brooklyn Fare seems to have weekly sales on prosciutto. For a basic ham, I like the Leoncini Parmacotto with herbs at the Garden of Eden. The West Side Market has the rarest and freshest hot roast beef. I only buy soppressata at Faicco’s. Citarella has good packaged smoked trout.
Meat: Ottomanelli & Sons is best for steaks and ground beef, but Agata & Valentina sometimes has great sales.
Poultry: Agata & Valentina seems to be one of the few places where you can still get non-packaged chicken. Trader Joe’s is a good source for Empire Kosher poultry. I always order my Thanksgiving turkey at Quattro’s at the Union Square Greenmarket.
Sausages: Surprisingly, Trader Joe’s has the best bratwurst and Chicken Andouille. Citarella is a good source for Aidells sausages, Brooklyn Fare carries D’Artagnan products, and Agata & Valentina makes delicious homemade chicken and feta sausage. For something quite unusual, try the Thai lemongrass sausage at Hudson and Charles.
Bulk Items: In this category, Integral Yoga wins hands down. It has the best prices and selection of organic bulk grains, beans, and anything else you can buy in bulk, including laundry detergent. While I don’t usually buy dried fruit here, I am addicted to its dried chili lime mango.
Spices: Integral Yoga is again your best bet because it sells spices in bulk. You can buy any quantity, however small, which is great since fresh spices are key. For more exotic options, I go to Spices and Tease in Chelsea Market.
Asian Ingredients: Dainobu has everything you’ll need. I frequently buy the packaged Asian mushrooms, shiso leaves, miso, yuzu, and flying fish roe.
Prepared Foods: I don’t buy prepared foods that often, but some great options
are the spinach pies at Citarella and Garden of Eden (get the labne from the salad bar as an accompaniment) and the spinach or cheese gozleme (a Turkish stuffed flatbread) at West Side Market (where it is called Mediterranean Panini) and Garden of Eden. I also recommend the spicy Japanese shrimp salad at Agata & Valentina, and the roast chicken at Citarella. I also like the frozen tamales at Trader Joe’s.
Olives: West Side Market has the tastiest Kalamata olives (Greek Super Colossal), but for pitted oil-cured olives, I go to Garden of Eden.
Bread: Maison Kayser, particularly the baguette.
Fish: Citarella and occasionally The Lobster Place at Chelsea Market.
Fruits and Vegetables: For items like bagged citrus, bagged greens, onions, carrots, avocado, and celery, I find Trader Joe’s to be a good value. Otherwise, I buy seasonally at the Union Square Greenmarket and fill in the holes at Westside Market and now Brooklyn Fare.
Fresh Pasta: Raffetto’s is the best, but Citarella and Brooklyn Fare also carry worthwhile pasta products.
Cheese: I don’t have one go-to place. I buy some items at Fairway, and, if I’m looking for something special, I’ll visit Murray’s Cheese. Brooklyn Fare shows some promise here as well.
Coffee: McNulty’s, of course!
Chocolate: Some of the chocolates, particularly the seasonal ones at Trader Joe’s are nice. However, the best chocolates are the Leonidas Pralines at Chelsea Market Baskets. Brooklyn Fare often has great sales on a large selection of high quality chocolate bars.
Here is a list of the shopping venues mentioned in this article:
Agata & Valentina: 64 University Place (between 10th and 11th Streets)
Brooklyn Fare: 666 Greenwich Street (near Barrow Street)
Chelsea Market (e.g., Spices and Tease, Chelsea Market Baskets, The Filling Station, The Lobster Place): 75 9th Avenue (between 15th and 16th Streets)
Citarella: 424 6th Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets)
Dainobu: 498 6th Avenue (near 13th Street)
Faicco’s: 260 Bleecker Street (between Leroy and Morton Streets)
Fairway: 766 6th Avenue (near 26th Street)
Garden of Eden: 7 East 14th Street (between Union Square West and 5th Avenue)
Hudson and Charles: 524 Hudson Street (near West 10th Street)
Integral Yoga: 227 West 13th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
Maison Kayser: 326 Bleecker Street (near Christopher Street)
McNulty’s: 109 Christopher Street (between Hudson and Bleecker Streets)
Murray’s Cheese: 254 Bleecker Street (between Leroy and Morton Streets)
Ottomanelli & Sons: 285 Bleecker Street (between Jones and Barrow Streets)
Raffetto’s: 144 West Houston Street (near Macdougal Street)
Trader Joe’s: 675 6th Avenue (near 21st Street)
Union Square Greenmarket (e.g., Quattro’s): Union Square West (between 15th and 17th Streets)
West Side Market: 77 7th Avenue (between 14th and 15th Streets)
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