My preferred way of shopping is a strategic combination of Trader Joe's, Greenmarkets, and Specialty Shops.
Pros: Great prices, huge selection of chocolate covered things, creative and yummy freezer food, cheap, good, organic produce
Cons: The mobscene, no deli/ butcher/ fish counters, taking the bus home.
Pros: It is exciting filling a canvas bag with colorful leafy things, great seasonal veggies and home made jams, there is a fun sense of community that is not present at grocery stores
Cons: They're not there all the time, so they require planning, ppl often run out (I'm talkin to you delicious lamb sausage people at Union Square!)
I also live for the little specialty shops. They are part of what make NYC a wonderful place to live. I take advantage of some way more than others. Little Italy has totally transformed my relationship to Italian food. I didn't get why people thought it was so good prior to experiencing real gnocci and super stuffed ravioli. I also tasted aged provolone cheese that is more like a delicious, sparlkly, aged gouda than bland sammich cheese. My favorite two are Piemonte Ravioli and Alleva Dairy.
I was first introduced to them when Zach and I did a walking tour/pizza making class with Mark Bello, of Pizza a Casa Pizza School (do it, it rules). I <3 Piemonte because it makes me look good. I assemble the best lasagna ever because I'm working with fresh made lasagna noodles and exciting marinara (didn't know that existed, did you?). I also always keep a 50 ct. box of home made, overstuffed ravioli* in the freezer. Usually blue cheese, except right now it is pumpkin (mmm... with sage and brown butter... )
*N.B.: A box of 50 at Piemonte is the same price as a box of 10 at Whole Foods. And they taste way better. Booyakasha.
Alleva is the cheese spot. This is the provolone place. They also have awesome salted mozzarella. They are generous with the samples and have a friendly, helpful vibe.
|Note the impressive crest behind the counter.|
Pros: super easy, pretty reliable user reviews of weekly produce
Cons: excessive packaging, I get the creeps if I think about why my peaches aren't bruised after traveling so much
Note: Whole Foods has not been included on this list of options. We have ended our abusive relationship and no longer see each other. I don't really want to talk about it because I do miss many things about it. I do not miss getting punched in the wallet time and time again.