Food treasures in New York City

Sunnyside: A World’s Fair of Foods


Sunnyside, Queens is just 15 minutes from Manhattan but feels like you are in a quiet suburb. It has an eclectic community made up of Armenians, Romanians, Indians, Bangladeshis, Chinese, Koreans, Colombians, and Ecuadorans. Though it may not be known for its restaurants, there are two very special food stores that are worth visiting.

BB store

The first is Butcher Block located on 41st Street. At first glance, it appears to be just another supermarket. But if you look closely you’ll find an incredible array of Irish and English products.

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Though I’m not an Anglophile, I could appreciate being able to find a great selection of Irish butters, teas and jams.  But if British and Irish food are not your cup of tea, you might want to visit a store more focused on Eastern Europe.

Massis store

Massis International Foods, on 43rd Avenue, is known for serving the Romanian community but inside you will find products from Croatia, Poland, and Bulgaria, as well as middle eastern products from Morocco, Greece and Turkey.

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If you’re a beer lover, then on your way back to the number 7 train, stop at Superior Market on Queen’s Boulevard. A strangely dark store, it is packed with beer options from all over the world.

Beers at Superior Market

Beers at Superior Market

August 27, 2013 Posted by | Food, international, stores | | Leave a comment

Honey For The Jewish New Year


Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Wednesday evening September 4th. It’s customary to serve honey to ensure a sweet new year.  So what kind of honey to choose ?

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According to the National Honey Board, there are more than 300 unique kinds of honey in the United States, from diverse floral sources as Clover, Eucalyptus and Orange Blossoms.  In general, lighter colored honeys are mild in flavor, while darker honeys are usually more robust in flavor. The color and flavor of honey differ depending on the bees’ nectar source (the blossoms).  Honey comes in 5 different forms: liquid; comb (honey in it’s original form); cut comb (liquid honey with chunks of comb inside); naturally crystallized; and whipped or cremed ( crystallized so that it’s in a solid state and can be spread like butter).

Honey choices at the UES Fairway

Honey choices at the UES Fairway

All supermarkets and specialty stores carry at least a few varieties of honey. Many farmer’s markets also have stands with locally produced honeys. For convenience and variety, I found that Fairway was a  good place to shop for both the most common and the most exotic honeys; honeys from the US and around the world. Some examples:

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Langnese Country Honey is from Germany. It’s a creamy natural honey “made from the honeycomb after the bees have sealed it tightly with wax. This means that the honey is mature – it has a full taste and all the nutrients are intact,” according to the company. A different German honey is made by Bihophar and it’s an acacia flower blossom honey with comb. Attiki honey is from Greece. It’s derived from a select variety of Greek thyme, wild flowers and herbs. Aleluya is pure honey from Argentina and is mild and creamy.

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Dutch Gold Honey is a Lancaster PA company that has been making honey since 1946, Fairway sells a variety of different blossoms of their liquid honey including buckwheat, clove, and orange blossom. Tupelo honey comes from the blossoms of the tupelo gum tree and is mostly produced commercially in areas along the Choctawhatchee, Apalachicola, and Ochlockonee rivers. Honey produced from only the white tupelo is the only honey that will not granulate, according to the Tupelo Beekeepers Association.

Fairway also offers its own brand of reasonably priced honey made from wildflower blossoms.

August 20, 2013 Posted by | Food, holidays, sweets | , , | 2 Comments

Krispy Treats

treat houseDo you remember Rice Krispies Treats? Basically, they are squares of Rice Krispies held together with marshmallows and butter. Well, earlier this month a new store opened up on the Upper West Side, whose products are inspired by these very treats. Treat House on Amsterdam between 81st-82nd, sells more than a dozen different flavors of crispy rice treats. And, according to their website, “all Treats are certified Kosher Dairy; and unless specified otherwise, are  gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free.” Their flavors include, cappuccino, chocolate mint, peanut butter, and blueberry pie

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Treat House also sells home made marshmallows made from raw cane sugar, breakfast bars, pops and ice cream bars. Treat House is committed to giving back to the community so the’ve partnered with The Food Bank for New York City. For every Treat they sell, they donate 10 cents to the Food Bank and for each t-shirt sold, they donate a dollar.

As expected, the Treats are rather sweet but if you’re looking for a unique way to satisfy your sweet tooth, then visit the “House.”

August 13, 2013 Posted by | Food, stores, sweets | | 2 Comments

Unexpected UES Source For Israeli Products

store front

Last time I wrote about an Israeli style “Makolet” in the East Village, however there are other places you can find everyday Israeli products. You would expect to see them in supermarkets with large Kosher sections, like Fairway. And especially in Kosher specialty stores like The Kosher Marketplace, Park East Butchers or Seasons Kosher Supermarket.  It’s unlikely that you would expect to find a large selection of Israeli foods in a mini-market on Second Avenue and 76th Street. But the International Fine Foods store located there will surprise you.

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The inside of International Foods looks like any other small market that dots the corners of the Upper East and West sides. But as you look at the shelves, you’ll find a wide range of specialty products from Asian sauces to English crackers. What is surprising is the number of products from Israel. Not just the usual cookies and candies, but products that are not particularly Israeli but are manufactured there like flour, juices, and pita bread. The store also carries a variety of Kosher products that aren’t necessarily from Israel, like Kosher cheeses.

August 6, 2013 Posted by | Food, international, stores | , | Leave a comment