Monday, August 6, 2007

Kvetching about Markets

Most foodies talk about restaurants and cafes; most NY food guides focus on eateries, not markets. But Noshnews and Noshwalks - and my book, Nosh New York, puts emphasis on both. If anything, I prefer the markets because I get a close up look at many more ingredients than I can taste in one place... (and I can't tell you how much odd stuff clogs my shelves at home). The pictures shows Ariana Afghan market on Main Street in Flushing. Those dour merchants don't own it anymore, but I think they're photogenic in a kind of ironic way and I love this picture!

Anyway, just a few thoughts : Truly the best food markets are in the boroughs or far from central Manhattan. Yes, of course, Zabar's and Fairway and Whole Foods are great, and, yes, I go to all of them. But when I REALLY want interesting food, I'd rather go to Sunnyside or Elmhurst or Astoria or Flushing or Richmond Hill or Brighton Beach... and Belmont for great bread, cheese and pasta. I even like to go to El Pais on St. Nicholas and 184th Street for certain things, but it's a MESS inside.

Harlem has NO good markets. (Young Spring on West 125th Street just east of Malcolm X Boulevard is OK, and the Sea & Sea My favorite African market closed a few years ago (the best are in the Bronx), although you can find ingredients for African cuisine in the neighborhood. (But I noticed huge jars of Skippy peanut butter in one place, presumably used for the mafe - peanut butter stew).

Forgive me - a few exceptions: International Market on 9th Ave, & 40th St.; Pars Persian market on West 30th just east of 7th Avenue (north side of the street), Kalustyan on Lex between 29th and 30th... and I'm a big fan of West Side Supermarket, but especially enjoy its lower-cost Bronx counterpart known as Garden Gourmet, on Broadway and 234th Street.

Do I sound like I'm kvetching? Maybe it's just that in its vast and rapid gentrification, Harlem is welcoming too many generic places, and I far this will happen in other neighborhoods.


1 comment:

Donelle said...

Keep up the good work.