And now we bring you our new feature: Shopping in New York (pending a better name):
Whole Foods Upper West Side: 97th St and Columbus Avenue
Choosing Whole Foods as our first major shopping destination may seem like a far too safe choice given all of the options available at our fingertips, but there is something to be said about finding comfort in the (somewhat) familiar. In all fairness, it’s been years that we’ve made a visit to one together, as they are still none close to New Haven. It was also only twenty blocks away, had a wine shop adjacent to it, and was featuring Jersey tomatoes at $1.49 a pound—it was practically begging for a visit from us.
The store is, unsurprisingly, gorgeous: you walk in to see many of the prepared foods, the coffee section the charcuterie the bakery, and the cheese sections, while the real shopping is done on the second level (complete with the always-nifty shopping cart escalator to bring your cart safely down there). Our focus was stocking up on produce and fresh meats—as well as getting our mitts on some of those tomatoes—and while maneuvering around the displays was a bit frenetic, we found everything we needed in short order. Moving next to the fish counter (which was mercifully quieter), we scanned to find sale prices on any fish we liked, but none appealed to either of us—swordfish was on sale, but I loathe fish that have that heavy, steak-like texture. I did see the whole fish section; specifically, I found fresh, whole sardines—something I’ve been dying to try for ages. The fishmonger, happily, knew his stuff and suggested a simple marinade of lemon juice, parsley and garlic, and grilling the suckers for a few minutes a side; as he talked, I literally saw Michael’s eyes grow wide in excitement, and we ended up getting five of them gutted for us, with the heads and tails still on.
The whole fish selection was the true highlight of the visit. While we scored some bulk-packaged chicken thighs as well as a whole one for less than $4 each, and the mushrooms we picked up for our pizza were certainly delicious, nothing seemed as important or as exciting as getting those fish on the grill that weekend. Of course, as we walked home up Amsterdam with our bags, checking out our new neighborhood and feeling pretty good about our purchases, we see it: a fish market not ten blocks from our apartment.
To quote Bart Simpson: the ironing was delicious. But no matter–it’s now on the list of places to check out this coming weekend. Stay tuned…