Salty Oat Cookie

My friend Sepi took me to Teaism a few years ago and I became smitten with their Salty Oat Cookie.  I only allow myself one, 'cause if I bought a whole package, I would eat them all!  Luckily I am able to visit Washington, DC often enough to indulge in their deliciosity.

Teaism @ Dupont Circle: 2009 R Street NW, two other locations at Lafayette and Penn Quarter, I haven't been to them.

Grad School Hiatus

Beautifully-arranged Caesar salad at Le Pain Quotidien • Bakery.  Delicious, but took re-organization to actually eat.

Man, have I been MIA lately, and that's not going to change for a while.  I'm okay with it, really.  So, I am changing my format/plan to posting images of food, b/c food is so beautiful (or can be, as long as it's not hanging out in the gutter).

Two of my classy co-workers are fans of this place.  The bread is terrific, the coffee a little meh.  The communal table was very cool with clean, natural wood furniture and the products for sale near the counter were lovely.  I have to admit I was a bit tempted to buy the sea salt, but instead I tried the lemon tart.

Check it: Le Pain Quotidien (I went to the location on 7th Ave. in Chelsea, in NYC, in the US.  They are a mighty-big multi-national franchise!)


Scream For This

Who wants ice cream?  I do for sure.  In fact, it is my weakness.  The best ice cream in the USA is made in Cincinnati: Graeter's Ice Cream; even Oprah endorses it.  Recently bestgroceries' significant other brought 12 pints of Graeter's to the freezer of our NYC apartment.  This is really dangerous, since I have to practice great restraint not to eat it all in a week.  So far, so good, I have not even had a taste (but notice how it is still on my mind....)!

So, yes, I am an ice cream expert.  I have tasted it everywhere I go, gelato included.  Recently I discovered a really cool gourmet ice cream truck in SoHo: Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream.  After a visit to the SoHo Apple store, I crossed the street and there was their lovely creamy-yellow-painted ice cream truck.  Not surprisingly, I could not resist - I had to try their wares.

I chose strawberry and it was fresh, creamy, and delicious - just as they say it is.  But something else was different.  Their disposable spoons, bowls, and napkins were intriguing in texture and weight.  When studying their website I learned they are made from renewable resources (sugar cane and corn husks).  The Van Leeuwen enviro-friendliness doesn't stop there, after all, this is intellectual ice cream.  All of the ice cream is made of all natural products, the milk comes from cows who graze on the pastures of the Adirondack Mountains.  Distribution is only through the vintage ice cream trucks that dock in three locations in the city (see below).  The goods are available in pints and/or half gallon sizes, I believe.  Visit the website to learn more.

To find a Van Leeuwen truck, go to SoHo @ Greene & Prince daily between 1 - 8 PM, to University between 11th and 12th daily between 8 - 11 PM, or to the Upper West Side parking spot on Broadway between 74th and 76th daily between 1:30 - 11 PM.


Lula Café is Delicious!

As a continuation of my slacker-hood of grocery shopping, I have been busy traveling and eating in restaurants.  This past weekend I was in Chicago, attending a wedding, riding bicycles along Lake Michigan, meeting up with friends, and eating lots of delicious foods.  It was even more fun than I anticipated!

In Logan Square (a little north and pretty west of downtown, on the blue line) there is supposed to be a giant Farmer's Market on Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm.  Although I was busy wandering Wrigleyville and bicycling during those hours, my posse and I made it to the scene around 8 pm and we were able to partake of the wares of the market at an amazing café in the square: Lula.

The flavor combinations were truly amazing, and I ate way more than I should (3 courses!), but it was worth it and I would do it again.

Here's what I ordered:

lula house salad (v fresh, great dressing, homemade bread slices and herbed butter)
pasta yiayia
vanilla gelato

Check out their menu and check out the Logan Square Farmer's Market site.  I will be back for a market visit.


I'm Nuts for LÄRABAR

It's true. I have been so crazy-busy so far this summer that I have not achieved my goal of visiting all of the green markets here in NYC by any stretch. My new plan is to visit them as soon as I can get to them and then report.

In the meantime, I suggest that any of you who partake of Luna bars or Kind bars or the like, or even if you don't, take a bite (if you haven't already) of the LÄRABAR. That's right.  go to your local Whole Foods or GNC (these are the places I know have them) and get one. There are many flavors to try. That's right - pick up one or twelve.  Keep them in your purse or satchel for when you are so hungry, you're getting grumpy. Just do this.

Here's the deal: these bars are all fruit and nuts, no crazy chemicals or sugar or HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).  Fruit and nuts.  That's all.  And they are good.  Get one.  Check out their website (click on the title of this entry and it will take you there.)  There are new flavors this summer: Coconut Cream Pie and Peanut Butter Cookie.  Plus their logo/label is super-duper-ific, very classic.  Nice, simple website, too.


CENYC Greenmarket 2008

(The Green Market at Union Square - painting  by Hedy Pagremanski)

Someone shared this listing (assembled by the Council on the Environment of NYC - CENYC) of greenmarkets in NYC with me.  From now through the summer months I plan to visit as many of these markets as I can and see how green and good they are.

The information looks amazing - promoting buying local products, listing the chefs who buy from the markets, the farmers who sell, they have gear (t-shirts, etc.), and many markets accept credit cards and food stamps via a swipe for tokens.  Very cool.

The CENYC has all kinds of information about recycling programs: recycle textiles at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, chef tours and tastings, environmental education projects, and film presentations to inspire us to recycle, care for ourselves and the earth.

I know, I know, this sounds so good and green.  So, I'm going to put this market list to the test!

I should mention that my expectations have changed since a group of 10 people (including me) decided that we should submit ourselves to a diet challenge where we earn points for positive behaviors (exercise and fruit & vegetable consumption, drinking water) and lose points for negative behaviors (eating junk food, sweets, & chocolate, drinking soda & alcohol - excluding wine); so far it is going well.  Now I crave more unusual products with natural and organic ingredients and a greater variety of produce, so I think I must check out these markets soon!


Checkout This

For Star Wars fans who love organic foods, this video is for you.



Frenchy Cookbook Writer's Blog

Clotilde Dusoulier has a pleasant and well-mannered site and blog about her eating adventures. More recipe than grocery blog, but I'm sure the connection is recognizable.  

I particularly enjoy her post from April 28 about hotel breakfasts.  It is true, breakfast can be a barefoot and sleepy-headed experience at home.  I have to admit, perhaps shamefully, that I partake in a caffeinated beverage with a bagel, scone, or the like nearly every morning on the way to work, so I don't get the same feeling as Clotilde.  Breakfast, for me is more of a warm up on the go for the day.

However...I have recently been a regular at a hotel in the Princeton, NJ area and the breakfasts are quite questionable: funny looking scrambled eggs, canned fruit, high fructose corn syrup enriched syrup (not maple) for their waffles.  On mornings where they have "omelets" rather than scrambled eggs, I make a decent egg-and-cheese-on a croissant sandwich.

Anyhow - check out the Chocolate and Zucchini website - I want to look into Clotilde's book and even try some of her recipes.


What in the Fishmonger?

Just in case you were wondering...click on the title.

Declining Markets

This article appeared in today's NYTimes.  Scary how the corner grocery is disappearing, even in Queens.  I better go home soon to make sure the markets in my 'hood are still there!

Supermarkets for Design-Minded Folks

This is an article from Dwell - very intriguing design.  I really want to visit MPreis and would love to hear from anyone who has been.  Click on the title of this post to view full article.


Open for Business

Welcome to the new bestgroceries blog.

I have wanted to create this blog for a long time as I have a personal love of gazing at market displays, examining aisle layouts, searching corner specialty shops, and studying product lines in the food-selling venues everywhere I have lived and traveled. Many of my friends have shared some of my sentiments on the subject of market layouts and products and several have listened to my commentary for too many months. It is time to start a blog!

This blog is a place where I plan to post tidbits about my favorite markets, groceries, fishmongers, produce vendors, vintners, cheese shops, etc. It is my intention to discuss the details of food display, packaging, store layout, and anything that ties into the subject (really, anything I want - this is my blog!) Plus, I look forward to reading comments from other travelers, grocery critics, and hungry people. Tell me about what you have seen and tasted!

So...to start, I have to reveal my favorites.


You just can't beat the Greenpoint Farm market in Sunnyside, Queens (on Greenpoint Ave. near intersection with 42nd St.) I really believe that they have every kind of produce you could imagine, and it's very well priced.  Many neighborhoods have this kind of market, but I am glad it is so close to home!  (Sorry, the only pic I have so far is at night!)

Fairway. Amazing coffee, great cheese selection, lots of locally-produced products, great specialty foods and gluten-free selection. The prices are great. (I don't usually go for the produce, mostly b/c of Greenpoint Farm.)  Four locations, but my fav is in Red Hook - it is right on the water, has a great view during sunset.

I am really lucky to live where I do, 'cause there is also a great fishmonger - The Fish House, on 42nd, between Greenpoint and 48th Aves. in Sunnyside, Queens. Really fresh seafood and they will de-vein shrimp while you wait.