Announcing the Ridgefood Grocery Shopping Tour! 8/31/2013

Ridgefood Grocery Shopping Tour

Hello, loyal reader! We here at Ridgefood have been digitally leading you around Queens’s most accessible polslavomexidoreanese neighborhood for a while, but now it’s time for us to give you the opportunity to follow us around in person!

That’s right: We’re giving a tour.

And not just any tour, but a RIDGEFOOD GROCERY SHOPPING TOUR. Have you always wanted to go into that Arab bodega and buy the groceries in the back, but you’re not sure how to use them? Do you need a step-by-step introduction to the glorious wonder that is Parrot Coffee? Do you know which fruit stand sells pristine Halal meat in the back? Are you confused about which Polish drink syrup to buy? Do you want to walk around the ‘hood, talk history and recipes, and eat sausage sticks from Morscher’s with the ladies of your neighborhood food blog on a sunny summer day?

THEN THIS TOUR IS FOR YOU. Continue reading

The Mitt Rumney: A Winning Beverage Named for a Loser

The Mitt Rumney

“We christened the drink the Mitt Rumney, in honor of the most bitter person we could think of.”

While recently in Zürich, Switzerland, my boyfriend and I spent a lot of time in our hotel room watching Al Jazeera. We have neither cable nor even a proper television connection at home, so when we holiday we tend to enjoy the slovenliness of eating in bed while watching the telly. (Don’t even ask about how this looks when we are in places with lots of deep-fried availability.) We enjoyed Al Jazeera’s alternate take on America’s election circus. They always find the craziest rednecks to interview, and the extremity of their views makes Romney appear to be the snake he actually is. We even got to watch the third-party candidate debate, in which the third-party candidates spent a lot of time talking about legalizing weed, even when the questions were about the deficit.  Continue reading

Eddie’s Pickles for the Old Salties

Eddie's Pickles

This pickle jar is half empty, not half full, because the fewer pickles you have the worse your outlook.

Ridgewood, in many ways, retains that old-timey New York City feel that slips through your fingers in other parts of the boroughs. Lots of neighborhood people speak with a classic New York accent. Sometimes, you meet a white-hair with old-country inflection who tells you that Section 8 ruined the idyllic flavor of Ridgewood, and you’ll slowly back away. But most of the time, people seem content with the relative lack of change here. It’s slow.

The classic tests of “New Yorkness” in the culinary sense: Pizza, Bagel, Pickle. So when I found Eddie’s Pickles for sale in a plain glass quart jar at Seneca Garden, I breathed a sigh of nostalgic familiarity. The tiny kirbies are packaged in Maspeth, by a company that misspelled their own name on the label. They are left whole and come in kosher dill, half sour, or new. They have an expiration date about three months after when they are made, which is important! Pickles that don’t expire have been boiled for pasteurization, and since these are just lacto-fermented (i.e. brined) they won’t last forever. Eddie’s Pickles have four ingredients (plus water): cucumbers, salt, garlic, and spices. They cost $3.49 per jar.

The new pickles, which were the only type in stock on my most recent venture, taste crisply of cucumber-ness. The brine flavors the seedless cukes without softening them. The garlic, if you choose to bite into it, is still sharp and spicy, and it floats surrounded by round coriander seeds and juniper berries. The brine tastes salty but fresh; it’s completely and dangerously drinkable, and would be perfect for picklebacks, if you are into that sort of thing. I have pickled cucumbers and string beans in this brine after eating all of the original pickles. They are never as good as the originals, but still: no salt water is wasted in this home. My grandfather, originally from St. Albans, another old neighborhood of Queens, would be proud of my thriftiness.

Seneca Garden

601 Seneca Avenue [map]
(718) 418-5880

Eagle Pickle Works

5730 59th Street [map]
(718) 894-1483

Ari writes about her food finds in Ridgewood. She tweets @arispool.