Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Where to Buy Cured Meat, Cheeses, Coffee, Fish, etc.

Like I mentioned before, Rob and I hosted our first Thanksgiving this year. We were determined to make it the best tasting Thanksgiving ever, so when shopping for the big event we had to rely on a few old favorites while seeking out a few new places, too.

I know Murray's is pretty much the standard as far as NYC cheese shops go, but Rob and I usually prefer the East Village Cheese Shop instead. Even though its cash only and they don't give out tastes, its easier to get to and (usually) less crowded than Murray's. They have a great selection, great prices, and the smaller space bumps up the funk factor. For Thanksgiving appetizers we bought some bleu cheese, a hunk of brie, walnut-studded gouda and my current cheese favorite, manchego. I gave the brie and gouda a little pre-Thanksgiving test with crackers the night before. All four kinds were wonderful, and just like I suspected, the walnuts worked great in the smoked gouda.

East Village Cheese Shop
40 Third Ave (Betw. 9th and 10th)

Greg was in charge of the pork this year, and hit Emily's Pork Store for pre-meal soppressata and pancetta to spruce up the brussel sprouts. I haven't actually been in here before, but both meats were fantastic. I HAVE, however, been to the nearby Model T. Meats and cannot recommend their huge $5 skirt steak enough. They also sell excellent whole chickens (great for roasting), huge and juicy pork loins, and standard stuff like eggs, butter and frozen octopus.

Emily's Pork Store
426 Graham Ave (between Frost St & Withers St)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Model T Meats Corp
404 Graham Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

And while we're on the topic of meats, I have to spotlight the Nassau Meat Market for its insane collection of kielbasa. I wish they spoke better English there, but it's part of the charm to be the only non-Polish grandmother in their huge Saturday morning lines. We've tried to ask a few questions about what they have, but so far all we know to ask for is "double-smoked." Can anyone come with us and translate sometime?

Well, in case you're wondering, the double-smoked works great in mac 'n' cheeses, red sauces, potatoes, scrambled eggs and pretty much anything else that could use some cured, salty meatiness.

Nassau Meat Market
915 Manhattan Avenue (between Greenpoint Ave & Kent St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Two days before Thanksgiving and we set out to buy our Tom Turkey in Red Hook, at Fairway Market. Rob had been before so I knew that I should brace myself for grocery store madness, but I was not expecting a full-on food funhouse. This place had everything and anything. Like bizarre looking tomatoes.

And jars of pink Himalayan rock salt (remember when I had some in my gelato at Grom?).

They had a huge cheese selection. They had a crazy olive bar. They had cuts of beef so big I'm fairly sure they were whole quarters of cows. They had oysters. They had lemon salt. They had all kinds of truffles. They had our organic, never-frozen turkey too, of course ("Murray") and a crazy selection of house-roasted coffees for post-dinner sipping.

Fairway Market
480 Van Brunt St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Thanksgiving came and went in a blur, and Friday morning we woke up hungry and exhausted. Since it is very rare that we have Fridays off, we made our first trip to Acme fish market for smoked fish to go on our bagels. We've had Acme fish at Roebling Tea Room and probably at a lot of other places, but they only open their wholesale warehouse to the public on Fridays. They have a few samples out and I tried a bit of smoked tuna. We stuck with the salmon.

Acme Smoked Fish Corp
30 Gem St.
Brooklyn, NY 11222


Rutila said...

Thank you for calling it Nassau Meat Market! Everyone calls it "kiszka," which just means "sausage."

Ask for the krajana (cry-ah-na).

Lauren said...

Thanks, Rutila! I can honestly say that I've never called it "Kiszka." Can't wait to try the krajana!