Every summer we await the arrival of the plump, juicy, and intensely flavorful New Jersey farm peaches at Europa grocery on Forest Ave. They’re one of Ridgewood’s best-kept seasonal secrets (along with mucenici, which is arguably less enticing) that we touched on in our Ridgefood Grocery Shopping Guide, and we think these peaches deserve a closer look. Other groceries like Parrot Coffee and Max Euro also sell Jersey farm goods (peppers, tomatoes, and the like) in the same telltale yet nondescript cardboard boxes often simply labeled “FARM,” but you can only find these magical peaches at Europa.
Here at Ridgefood we’re big fans of foraging for edible plants and flowers in nearby Forest Park. Last week we filled a giant bag with wild garlic mustard—an invasive yet delicious species that permeates the park in April. So what to do with all these greens? We tried making garlic-mustard chips (like kale chips), but the delicate leaves don’t hold
up well to baking and sort of dissolve into your mouth immediately upon eating. Instead, we prefer to simply sauté the leaves in a bit of coconut oil and a dash of salt. They cook down very quickly, like spinach. The greens’ bitterness teams up well with a bowl of fried rice, and of course a runny egg on top to mellow out the garlic mustard and tie everything together. Continue reading
Have you been to the new dumpling place on Forest Ave? Probably not, because it’s hidden inside a typical cat-style bodega. This surprise culinary gem on the corner of Forest & Linden—just down the street from Platz Hardware—serves handmade Chinese pork, chicken, and vegetable dumplings for $4.50 per order of 8, and they’re delicious. Continue reading
We checked out Topos, the new (used) bookstore on Woodward & Putnam that just opened this week. Lovely little spot! The cafe will open in January, and they hope to serve locally made pastries along with coffee. Cosmo, a friendly co-owner with a dry sense of humor, told us they may add a kids’ nook in the future (in the space that’s currently their office/storage area). He also shared some of his favorite restaurants in the hood: Hetman, the Polish deli with a fresh and excellent prepared-foods bar, and all the Ecuadorian spots—like Super Pollo, just down the street (we love their green sauce!).
Last summer we hosted the legendary, once-in-a-lifetime Ridgefood Grocery Shopping Tour. Here, finally, is our long-awaited roundup of all the places we visited. The good news is: since we waited almost a year to write this post, it’s summer again, which means it’s the perfect time spend a leisurely, sunny Saturday afternoon checking out all these amazing places!
(See below for the Ridgefood Grocery Shopping Tour Map)
1. Ridgewood Youthmarket
What it is: Farmer’s market
Location: Ridgewood Remembrance Triangle (Myrtle & Cypress)
The tour group—including me (Mollie), occasional Ridgefood contributor Ari, guest Instagrammer Alaina, and special guests Anne and Stephen—met at the Ridgewood Youthmarket, a seasonal farmer’s market that sets up shop in the Ridgewood Veterans Triangle every Saturday. Last year at the market, we scored kohlrabi, orange & yellow carrots, and kale. The market is open from 9am–3pm, now through November 22nd.
2. Mt. Everest Grocery & Deli
What it is: Indian & Nepalese market
Location: 5609 Myrtle Avenue (between Cornelia & Cypress)
Next, we headed to Mt. Everest—a quintessential Ridgewood establishment in that it looks pretty mediocre/shady from the outside, but then once you get inside you’re pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer. Ignore the cat-pee smell and explore the aisles; the Indian food is in the back. And be sure to check out the freezer, where you’ll find homemade momos, paneer, and other Indian & Nepali delights.
Stuff we bought: frozen roti (Stephen), cilantro chutney (Ari)
3. Fancy Fruit
What it is: Fruit & vegetable market featuring Italian and other European products
Location: 56-11 Catalpa Avenue (near Myrtle)
The group quickly cruised through Fancy Fruit, an indispensable and uber-cheap greengrocer just off Myrtle Ave. I stock up on produce here once or twice a week and rarely spend more than $15. Also, check out their impressive dried pasta selection (and their simple and excellent Mamma Lombardi’s tomato sauce is a staple in our house).
Ever since we went on a foraging tour with “Wildman” Steve Brill in Forest Park back in April, we’ve wondered what other kinds of edibles our park had to offer. Sure, Japanese knotweed and burdock root is cool, but what’s even better? WILD BERRIES! (And mushrooms, but that’s another post.*) Continue reading
Has everyone been to Ltauha yet? Good. We got busy and unfortunately Ridgefood Ltauha Week™ was cut short, though we did pop in for a quick lunch the other day. SKATE SANDWICH: Discuss.
I’ve seen skate on menus a lot at various restaurants over the years, but I’ve never actually eaten it. What is skate, anyway? It’s similar to stingray: flat and thin and mild-tasting, with a dense, meaty, crab-like texture. At Ltauha, the skate wings are fried in a light beer-batter-esque coating, topped with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce, and snuggled between a lovely brioche bun. I’m more of a flaky-fish type of person (think fish and chips or catfish), so I’m not sure that the skate sandwich will be part of my regular Ltauha repertoire, but it’s an elegant and attractive sandwich for sure.
What’s your favorite dish at Ltauha so far? Let us know in the comments!
I love all the humble, lesser-known (to some) food spots in Ridgewood that are this blog’s primary focus—places like Cracovia Deli, Parrot Coffee, all the pork stores and food carts, Fancy Fruit, Stanley’s Pierogi. I could go on, and of course there’s lots more favorites that we still need to write about. And yet, sometimes a new restaurant comes along and you just know that it’s destined to be a neighborhood institution—part of the food-fabric of our Ridgewood lives.
Ltauha is Ridgewood’s very first “New American” restaurant. It’s the kind of place we take for granted in other neighborhoods, where we can get modern comfort foods prepared with classic French techniques, quality ingredients, and thoughtful plating. Sometimes these places are fancy and expensive, but they don’t have to be. Continue reading
Hello friends! It’s been awhile! Last weekend we went on a foraging tour in Forest Park with “Wildman” Steve Brill, a notable and notorious naturalist who leads tours in parks all over the New York City metropolitan area. We highly recommend checking out one of the tours (especially in nearby Forest Park, which we love); “Wildman” is a super-nutty and extremely knowledgeable guide, and it’s a fun and thrifty activity for all ages. On this tour, we foraged such springtime delights as field garlic, common plantain, garlic mustard, burdock root, wild carrot, mugwort, violet, honewort, sweet cicely root, black birch, devil’s walking stick, chickweed, dandelion, wood sorrel, Japanese day lilies, and our very favorite, Japanese knotweed.
A member of the rhubarb family and visually reminiscent of asparagus, Japanese knotweed can be found in Forest Park in the spring. The firm spears are hollow, so slicing them crosswise yields “O” shapes. We’re having a late spring this year, “Wildman” said, and the ‘weed will be harvestable for another week or two (they’re best as short, young spears). We found our ‘weed at the bottom of a thorny hill, just over a wooden (I think) roadside barrier along Freedom Drive. I’m not sure of the exact coordinates but if you want to try foraging some Japanese knotweed this weekend, let me know and I’ll try to be a little more descriptive! Anyway, after an exciting day in Forest Park, we took our knotweed and other foraged goodies home and baked these delicious Japanese Knotweed, Carrot & Apple muffins (more photos & recipe below). Continue reading
A few months ago we got a sneak peek inside Cream, the ’90s-looking Latin sexyspot on Myrtle that never actually opened. Well, tonight at “Cream Restaurant,” the Myrtle Avenue BID will be co-hosting the second public workshop to review a preliminary design for the adjacent 71st Avenue Plaza, so we thought now would be a good time to show you what we saw behind those smooth, mysterious double doors. Continue reading