If there's one thing I love about New York, it's the food stores. While in Cleveland, speciality food shops are like these little jewels to be treasured. With so few of them, a trip to one was a special treat. Not so in New York. One needs only to look to find just about any ingredient imaginable.
For starters, there's the Green Market, a regional farmers' market (no middlemen allowed). Though the prices often make me wistful for the days of the West Side Market, the quality is very high. Plus, you have the satisfaction of buying from local growers and supporting small farms. Since vendors can only sell what they produce, it also spurs a reliance on seasonal products (which results in a better dish anyways, since you're mainly using ingredients at their prime, taste-wise).
Then, there's all the little shops out there. Unfortunately, not many are walking distance. Biking is a easy ride to most though.
My personal favorite is the White Eagle Provisions, a medium-sized grocery with a heavy eastern European tint. In addition to lots of fresh made baked goods, they also have a *huge* selection of beers, including some obscure brands from Poland and Lithuania (which I want to try, just for novelty value). Their prices, though not dirt cheap, are well priced, especially when compared to other grocers around.
If I'm looking for cheap, right across the street from White Eagle is Lopez Bakery, a small bakery who sell homemade bread for prices better than any I've found in town (I managed to walk out of there with a loaf of sourdough and some treats for about three bucks). Though the bread was not the best I've had, it had a certain lingering taste which made the loaf disappear fast.
Then, today, I found Sahadi, a grocery located in the predominantly middle eastern area (if one were the judge by the deluge of such stores) of Brooklyn. It's kind of a hike, even on my bike, but it was worth it. Their selection of olives, dried fruit (including dates...mmmm), and nuts is the best I've found and even manages to beat the West Side Market, price wise (kind of a feat around here). Plus, their pitas are extremely cheap. I managed to pick up a bag of small pitas for $0.60. They also sell a ton of speciality middle eastern items, including a very large selection of cheeses and yogurts. The only thing that keeps them from beating out White Eagle is that, at that White Eagle, I can get more standard food items as well....and they sells lots of beer. That's always a big plus ;)
I could go into others, like PS Spice (very cheap quality spices, teas and coffee), but I'll let it go for now. I'm sure I've bored everyone enough already.
Sunday is my first day of work in about a month. Who, me, nervous?