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.
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
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).
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
A typical low-key sunny day for us involves a trip to Rosemary’s Playground and a food stop somewhere nearby. Aneta Deli, situated a block from the playground on Woodward and Palmetto, stands out among Ridgewood’s Polish steam-table joints for a few reasons.
The first thing you’ll notice as you approach the deli is the amazing window art, like the singing, dancing lipstick- and heels-wearing trio of ham, turkey, and cheese — it’s part of a zone we’ve dubbed “Whimsical Window Row” (see below for more photos of WWR). Inside, Aneta is a standard Polish deli, selling staples like jars of pickled beets and celery root, berry syrups, interesting pretzels and cookies and puffs, and frozen pierogies. Near the back of the long deli counter you’ll see the steam table where they keep the hot food. Go here. Continue reading
We recently stopped by Morscher’s Pork Store on Catalpa to procure some ground pork for Vietnamese BBQ pork meatballs (details in a future post entitled “Turning Vietnamese: How We Suddenly Started Eating Vietnamese Food Pretty Much All the Time”). Feeling especially piggy, we also picked up two different types of prosciutto, both of which were excellent. Prosciutto is sort of an entry-level charcuterie in that you might find it on a panini in your local coffeeshop, but it gets way better than that*. Enter Morscher’s prosciutto. Continue reading
Every year on March 9, Romanian and Moldovan Christians celebrate the Forty Martyrs of Sevastia, a traditional holiday that includes a feast. Figure-8–shaped dough representing the human figure (i.e. the martyrs) is either baked and smeared with honey and walnuts or made as a sort of cinnamon-topped “snickerdoodle soup” called mucenici muntenesti (recipe below). Today you can pick up the latter type of mucenici dough at our beloved Parrot Coffee. The nice woman behind the counter explained the recipe: boil, add honey, nuts, cinnamon if you like. “What kind of nuts? Pistachio?” I guessed. She motioned toward an unmarked bag of nuts. “These. Wol-nut.” Continue reading
UPDATE 2/20/13: Jose from Sea Town read our post and said he’ll be ordering some of the products we suggested! He’ll let us know when the new store is open so we can check out the Asian goods.
UPDATE 2/28/14: We give up! Sea Town still has not added any kind of significant Asian section to their store. If you continue down Myrtle, further into Bushwick, you’ll find another new Asian market (not sure of the name but we’ll find out). It’s one block from Sea Town, right next to Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union. We’ve found assorted Asian noodles, kimchi, potsticker wrappers, and frozen mock-meats there.
Two blocks over the Ridgewood-Bushwick border and steps from Myrtle Avenue, Sea Town Fish & Meat Market was deemed a founding part of a “tiny Bushwick ‘Chinatown'” when it opened in 2010. And though the store boasts an impressive variety of fresh (including live) seafood, the general grocery area lacks a significant Asian presence — even staples like tofu, seaweed, and rice vinegar are nowhere to be found (tofu didn’t sell, said the store’s manager, Jose).
But that could change: Across the street, construction is underway on a triangle-shaped annex, which Jose told Ridgefood will be like a “regular grocery store” with more vegetables and an expanded ethnic section. They plan to stock more Asian goods, and Jose welcomed Ridgefood to compile a list of products that would appeal to local shoppers.
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.
601 Seneca Avenue [map]
Eagle Pickle Works
5730 59th Street [map]
Ari writes about her food finds in Ridgewood. She tweets @arispool.