nyculinaryfinds

Food treasures in New York City

Taking the Subway to the Middle East

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Take the train to Borough Hall in Brooklyn and head towards Atlantic Avenue.Without ever needing your passport, you will be transported to the Middle East. Within a two block span you will find stores selling spices, sweets, dried goods, and breads with an authentic Mideast flavor. There were three that stood out.

db anniv sign

Damascus Bread & Pastry Shop, also known as Damascus Bakery, has been around since 1930. While they sell dried goods, like many varieties of beans and dried chickpeas, they are known for their breads and pastries. They offer 9 different kinds of pitas as well as lavash wraps, panini, and filled breads.  One unusual find were chocolate fudge rugelach made with “gream” cheese.

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Next store to Damascus Bakery is Sahadis. a market that has been around since 1948. More like a grocery store, at Sahadis you can find  canned goods, fresh produce, and packaged breads and pastries. I really liked the large jars of dried goods and condiments.

Dried beans and grains at Sahadis

Dried beans and grains at Sahadis

My last stop was at Oriental Pastry & Grocery. Though indoors, this store reminded me of walking through the Arab shuk in the Old City in Jerusalem.  Like Sahadis, Oriental Pastry sells all kinds of Middle Eastern grocery items. But it’s a much smaller store and all the goods are on top of each other. It’s more challenging to find what you want but the staff is very helpful and the smells really transport you to another place.

Inside Oriental Pastry and Grocery

Inside Oriental Pastry and Grocery

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April 24, 2013 Posted by | Food, international, spices, stores, sweets | , | 2 Comments

All Things Greek

Athens Square Park in Astoria

Athens Square Park in Astoria

Ethnic diversity is one of the interesting characteristics of Astoria, Queens, but many associate this neighborhood with a strong Greek population. And though there are Greek communities all over Queens, one does still feel a strong presence in Astoria. This is evident in the numerous Greek bakeries and restaurants; schools and churches; and even the parks.

Titan Foods

Titan Foods

The place to go for authentic Greek foods and ingredients is Titan Foods on 31st Street. You can find everything from worry beads and Greek flags to canned pickled octopus and bunches of dried oregano. If you are a cheese lover, there’s one whole deli case devoted to a variety of feta and other Greek cheeses. There’s also a bakery that sells both sweets like baklava and savory filled dough like spanakopita.

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April 17, 2013 Posted by | Food, international, stores, sweets | , | 4 Comments

Pasta For Any Preference

Eataly on 23rd near Fifth Avenue

Eataly on 23rd near Fifth Avenue

The nearly three-year old Eataly is food destination, mega store, that is nearly as popular for tourists as Disney World.  There are four restaurants (that don’t take reservations), a charcuterie,  bakery, cheese shop, and all things Italian.  Both the crowds and array of items can be overwhelming. But it’s worth a visit for the pasta selection alone.

Making fresh pasta at Eataly

Making fresh pasta at Eataly

Eataly sells both fresh pasta, which is made on site, as well as an incredible range of dry pastas– from egg pasta and semolina to gluten-free and whole wheat. There are short and long pastas ; spaghetti and linguini; rigatoni, penne, and calamari pastas. More than 15 producers from all over Italy are represented.

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You can also find a variety of rices at Eataly — from short to long grains; and white, black and brown rices.

Black and white rices

Black and white rices

April 10, 2013 Posted by | Food, stores | , , | 2 Comments

Doughnuts Not Donuts

There are 50 Dunkin Donuts stores within a 10 mile radius of my home. For a simple, dependable chocolate frosted donut, you can’t go wrong with one of theirs. But, if you’re looking for something a bit more unusual then you need to try the doughnuts at one of the two  Doughnut Planet stores located in Manhattan.

Doughnut Planet on Grand Street

Doughnut Planet on Grand Street

Mark Isreal started Doughnut Plant in 1994, with his grandfather’s original doughnut recipe, in the basement of a Lower East Side tenement building that was converted into a bakery. In 2000, he moved to a street level location on Grand Street.  Mr. Isreal developed his own techniques of doughnut making as well as the original idea of using fresh seasonal fruit and fresh roasted nuts in glazes. Other innovations he brings to doughnut making include:  a jelly-filled square doughnut; “cake” doughnuts, which are made without yeast; and mini doughnuts with unusual fillings and glazes like Gianduja, a doughnut with a chocolate glaze and chocolate hazelnut filling.

The mouth-watering display case

The mouth-watering display case

On a recent visit, I had a hard time choosing which doughnuts to buy. I picked a combination of cake and yeast doughnuts, and selected one I had before — chocolate blackout cake — as well as two I had never tried — peanut butter and jelly, and Valrhona chooclate. They were all delicious!

My doughnut selection

My doughnut selection

April 3, 2013 Posted by | Food, stores, sweets | , | 4 Comments