Specialty Food Markets
The ides of October brings forth a beautiful sunny day and the Socrates Sculpture Park Greenmarket. I was happy to see that the market is still going strong every Saturday through November 19th with all of your favorite Autumn necessities. Grab a gallon of apple cider, some pumpkins for carving (or experimenting in the kitchen) and potatoes to make that seasonal stew. The best part about doing your food shopping there is that you get to enjoy the cool sculptures and great city views.
In this ordinary borough there are extraordinary things. Here are some interesting edibles found in Queens.
Found: DeDe Basil Seed Drink with Honey
Location: Freedom Deli & Supermarket international grocery & halal meat- 32-09 36th Ave Astoria/LIC 718-726-6323
A product of Thailand, this unique basil seed drink has the essence of honey and a texture like no other. The soft gelatinous bubbles of basil seeds create an unusual texture, comparable to bubble tea.
Location: Candy Store USA 3803 Main Street Flushing, Queens (718) 886-8866
This candy store is one of my favorites in the borough. It is rich with dried snacks like salty cuttlefish and sweet elder flower.
Location: Patel Brothers 37-27 74th St. 718-898-3445 Jackson Heights, Queens
This gigantic Indian supermarket has almost anything you’ll need to prepare a homemade dish of eastern cuisine. After dinner you can freshen your breath from a handful of fennel seeds covered in a colorful candy coating.
Found: Dehydrated Fungus
Location: Hong Kong Supermarket 3711 Main Street, Flushing – (718) 539-6868
Some markets sell mushrooms. Hong Kong Supermarket sells dehydrated fungus, almost every kind imaginable. You can spend hours browsing the isles of this market in search of various unusual foods, spices, teas, live seafood and just about everything else you can and cannot think of.
El Jarochito (30-11 29th St Astoria) is possibly the closest you can get to Mexico in Astoria, in terms of food products. Canned or dried hominy kernels stock the shelves just waiting for you to throw in some chicken and cook up a nice hot bowl of pozole. The Tostadas Buena Vista taste just like the tostadas made in Xochimilco, crispy and light. They carry a number of dried herbs, jamaica (hibiscus) flowers, peppers, spices and corn husks for making tamales. If you try the Dulce Vero Elotes (candy corn-on-the-cob) you will find that this small lollipop resembles spicy cornmeal on a stick. The Tamarindo juice mix comes in three deliciously sweet flavors: hibiscus, horchata (cinnamon rice milk), and tamarind. Just add cold water. This place also has a small grill where they make tacos, tostadas and many other small plates to go or sit at the side window-stand when weather permits. There are a few Mexican pastries here, but those are not recommended as you can find them at a higher quality somewhere else.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Despana Foods (86-17 Northern Blvd Jackson Heights 718-779-7438 & 408 Broome St NY 10013) This tiny store in Jackson Heights is much smaller than its sister store in soho. It manages to pack all that Spanish goodness into a space so small- there isn’t even room for a window. The service is friendly, but it helps to speak Spanish. The foods offered come mostly in jars and are generally used as a cooking aid rather than a ready-to-eat product, like mousse de esparragos (asparagus mousse for white fish or salads), legumbres y verduras con bonito del norte (beans, vegetables and fish in sauce to mix with rice), and peras del bierzo (sweet pears in juice). They have fruit preserves of all kinds, gourmet crackers and olive oil soaked pita. There is paella seasoning or mix– for first timers who may need assistance preparing the delicious seafood dish. Espana has a large selection of fresh regional cheeses, to name only a few- aragones- from cow milk, murcia el vino- goat milk and gariezo- sheep milk. They carry Spanish sausages to accompany your paella. This tiny store is a real treat for those willing to make the trip, but you’d better start your weekend shopping early. They are open until 4pm on Saturday and closed Sunday. Be sure to stop by the Broome St location for freshly made sandwiches & hot soups.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Lupita (29-15 21st Ave 718-726-6194 free delivery) es una tienda (bodega) pequena con productos Mexicanos y Centroamericanos…y Norteamericanos. Tienen tacos, tortas y si vienes antes 10am en la fin de semana- compras tamales- dulce o picante- estan muy ricos. Lupita tiene tambien- jarittos soda, dulce de mexico, espices, tostadas marca Los Pericos (me gustas mucho con queso, pollo y tomates), platanos, tomates verdes y mas. Si no tienes hambre, Maria puede ayudarte con su espanol…
Lupita is a small jem of a bodega that has a deceptively large selection. Lupita carries products of Mexico, Central & North America like candy, sodas-jarittos, tosatadas Los Perdicos, spices and general groceries. Lupita also has a small selection of unique produce containing green tomatoes and plantains. Be sure to try the tacos and tortas- sweet or spicy tamales are served on the weekend- but you must get there early. Service is always friendly and may even include a Spanish lesson.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
There are a handful of organic markets in the LIC and Astoria area, but this one is a true gem. I stumbled upon this market via a bike trip through the neighborhood and have then since returned. Natural Market’s (46-03 Broadway 718-274-1591) inventory includes great finds that would otherwise require a trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joes. There is a large selection of gluten-free products such as cake, pancake, and cookie mixes and breads. There is also a variety of dried quinoa, cous cous, polenta and rice- great for vegetarians. For those who enjoy coffee but can’t stomach the acidity or caffeine- they have Cafix- an instant coffee substitute made with chicory root, beet, and barley- a popular drink in N’Orleans country. There is also an array of teas from Yogi to Celestial Seasonings and other brands. This place stands out from the rest for its large selection of groceries, fresh vegetables and fruits, home made deli sandwiches, salad bar, frozen goods (ie burger alt., meals, gelato, soy ice-creams), and organic juice bar. There are peanut-butter alternatives, like almond butter and an entire aisle dedicated to organic cereal. You can enjoy a seat and eat a hearty sandwich inside the store at one of the three tables. Prices range from cheap- $2.75 for a sandwich to more expensive $10 organic bottled juices, depending on the item. They also carry a plethora of Seventh Generation home/cleaning products, JASON beauty items, herbs and natural health supplements. This is a great addition to the neighborhood if you’re looking for variety and an alternative to other area grocers.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
The Food Cellar (47 Rd btwn 5th Street and Center Blvd) is a subsidiary of the Amish Market-which is similar to Whole Foods. This semi-upscale food seller is a much demanded product of LIC’s luxury condo dwellers who are too unaware or too unadventurous to travel to the nearby C-Town. Well, can you blame them? Food Cellar offers gourmet coffees, fresh produce, meats, specialty groceries and baked goods. The products are mostly organic from their juices to their cereals. Unfortunately convenience from this local market comes at a high price, but it will be a nice addition to the Queens community and an alternative to traveling into the city for more obscure and/or fresh food items.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
El Shater Corp- Middle Eastern Gourmet Food (43-02 43rd Ave 11104) With all the ethnicity of Queens, it’s no surprise that this little gem is in the heart of Sunnyside. This tiny Lebanese food market packs an astonishing selection of teas, rice, home made sweets, freshly packaged spices and every kind of olive imaginable. It’s a great place to get food to-go or fresh spices like cardamom, cloves and fresh curry. El Shater has a deli counter serving Mediterranean meatballs, falafel, spinach pie and other pastries stuffed with savory fillings. And for dessert, try the kataifeh- honey shredded wheat or if you’re adventurous- the Madluet Ashtah- cream filled rosewater and pistachio delight.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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