To market, to market …
Where the concept of business goes hand in hand with food, it’s undeniable that the American culture truly has poured much effort into the influx of people’s needs to have the food they’ve enjoyed for ages.
Is a supermarket really a “super” affair anymore? With every trip to CostCo, Sam’s Club, or even Super Target (yep, Target x 10. Felt like I needed a Segway just to get a dvd) I find it to be almost an adventure of seeing how people’s logic comes into play. Sure, everything you need is in one spot, but frankly? I’ve never been that person who’s been attracted to buying the food there. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s the massive-warehouse-esque set-up, however I think it goes together similarly with my ultimate dislike of truck stop convenience stores (the smell alone makes me nauseous). Which really in the end, is that I have absolutely no idea how long that food has been sitting there, and thus kind of not wanting to know what lurks inside when I open the package. I’m finicky, what can I say. Definitely not quite as inviting.
However, there are some MASSIVE markets that somehow seem to always get my engine revved. I have yet to discover more of course, but if you also ever get to check out the great markets in and around Doylestown, PA, I say go for it because the food and ambience alone will have you coming back! (thanks to my friends, Jen and Jon!)
Some great places I love to shop for num-nums, despite bein’ large n’ in charge:
– HMart (aka Han Ah Reum): Yes, of course you’d say I’d be biased for loving a Korean market, however it’s not just the Koreans that flock to their local HMart to re-stock! Over the summer, I overheard my chiropractor telling the rest of the people in the room how he shops at the HMart near his home in New Jersey for the reasons alone of: the freshness, the food, the atmosphere, but more importantly, the deals! As a father of 3 daughters, he said he found himself constantly back there bc he felt they had more to offer than his local supermarket. On weekends, the place will be PACKED with people who feel the same way! From cuts of quality meat (that’s what we always go back for), to the deals on fresh produce, plenty of flavors and tea the bottle … but most of all they will be cooking on-site and constantly offering the most delicious samples throughout the entire store.
– Eataly: I will later on be devoting an entire entry to this place, but for now, here’s a little taste. If you haven’t checked out Eataly in the Flatiron District of NYC (and expanding its business beyond), I say it should be a must if not just to see what it’s all about. Put together by a powerhouse team of Mario Batali, my favorite, Lidia Bastianich, her son Joe, and Oscar Farinetti, this place is truly a savory playground for the senses and I felt like my durned feet had wings on them. This is definitely ANOTHER place that if you don’t plan ahead, you’ll get swept away in the massive crowds that will clamor around for straight-up quality Italian love for food. The intention, they said, was to make it a one-stop massive market to educate folks on the celebration of real Italian food. It truly is an inspiring place (although a little pricey $). Wall-to-wall with local meat & fish vendors, gelato and wine stations, the best pasta, cheese, and olive oil Turin would have to offer, and in my personal opinion, the best prosciutto and preserves LIFE would have to offer. There is a restaurant on site I have yet to try .. but once you get a taste, you might find yourself wandering back over many times more 😉
– Farmers’ Market: Cannot emphasize this one enough. Anywhere you are in the world, if you’ve got a farmers’ market somewhere nearby? GO. The importance of local eating is definitely worth your while for if not for your health and tastebuds alone. This stuff offered up out in the open is usually picked the day off, and brought to you from not too far beyond your reach. But of course, all is not limited to just food at the Farmers’ Market. Following the seasonal patterns, get your fresh-cut flowers, your Christmas trees, a genuine wool sweater, and my personal favorite, the Textile and Fabrics Recycling booth.
– Mitsuwa Marketplace: The beating center of the Japanese shopping center in Edgewater, NJ … this is the perfect place for one to get their fix in Japanese products, toys, cookers, snacks, and of course, food. From groceries to side vendors (and the occasional Blue Fish cutting extravaganza!) Though a little on the pricey side, I find myself here every month to stock up on bottles of Oi Ocha Green Tea, and, shamelessly, a green tea ice cream from one of the small vendors inside as well. It’s clean, efficient service and never a rat race (though beware, parking there can be!) But by all means, you’re not limited to the marketplace itself. Across the way from the marketplace is a tea & ceramics store (VERY much a gem to find gifts!), Japanese toys n’ novelties worth checking out, and for the ladies, a Shiseido facial & makeup products store.
– Chelsea Market: And then of course, the heart of Food Network and beyond – Chelsea Market. A fantastic food concourse located smack dab in the Chelsea/Meatpacking District of NYC.
I’ll admit, the first time I ever went here? I felt like I was on Cloud Nine, mostly due to the fact that you can make so much of this alone: go to the market, search around and literally eat bit by bit from all that is available to you in there: Buon Italia market, Eleni’s, Ronnybrook Dairy Farm, The Fat Witch Bakery, Ruthy’s, Bar Suzette creperie… the list goes on and on. I actually loved also checking out the wine vault in here – wonderful people and a fabulous selection of Malbec!
ps, for all the fancy-pants folk, Morimoto’s restaurant is also on site here. 😉 So go take a walk on the Highline, make your way over to the market, and venture off on the cobblestone streets to see what other great things Chelsea has in store for ya.
By all means, this is just me talking, and there’s still so much more to discover in favorite places to find the good stuff …
Share the wealth! If you’ve got a favorite market to find great things, hand over the address and I’ll be there!