Lara also is founder and editor of Grits in the City
One of the things I loved most about New York when I moved here was all of the specialty shops. Cooking something requiring the most authentic of Greek ingredients? It might take a bit longer to get there, but there are plenty of specialized Greek grocery stores ready to stock up your shelves. Decide you want to have a very specific diet? Vegan? Gluten-free? Organic only? Even on my block, there are stores such as Health Nuts which are more than capable of meeting those needs (they even have my favorite – Almond Breeze’s unsweetened chocolate almond milk – oh yes).
More often than not, I fall prey to the easy option. Click, click, click on the keyboard as I scroll through FreshDirect.com. Today though as I left the theater after seeing Eat, Pray, Love (really enjoyed it – oh how it makes me want to travel right now), I decided to stop by a small upscale market to fill in my FreshDirect “holes”. You have to buy herbs in insanely large quantities. Same with garlic. I might love my garlic, but I don’t quite need enough for an army.
Walking up to the store, I saw all of their fruits. I picked up a Granny Smith apple. That’ll be good with the maple spread I picked up from Maple Grove Farms in Vermont. I grabbed a lemon. Maybe some slices of that will finally get me drinking more water at work. I’ve heard it can help get you in the habit. I walked in and picked up my herbs to make my hummus (a small bunch of parsley as opposed to enough for six rounds of hummus). And then I saw it off in the distance.
Behold, glorious cheese… Almost instantly, I saw a wedge of tetilla, the likes of which I have been dreaming of since two visits to El Quinto Pino. I found another brie-like variety which I thought would pair nicely with either the blueberry preserves I bought at Brieremere Farms in Long Island or the raspberry honey from the Savannah Bee Company. (Note, after trying both, the honey pairing wins. The preserves though held their own when they flew solo … aka scooped up in all of their glory in nothing more than a spoon).
In one night, we covered Savannah, Vermont, and Long Island. No stamps in my passport stamps involved, but all-in-all, not half-bad. And I think I’ll be stopping in the local shops more often. My, how I’ve missed so much.