Having successfully unpacked our entire mess of kitchen things, including a whole host of pantry items that made the journey alongside us, along with filling our fridge once with some staples, the real business of shopping in the city could finally begin. As accustomed as we were to the onslaught of people we encountered every weekend at our old Stop & Shop, I don’t think either of us were really prepared for what we were to encounter here: the weekend rush crammed into stores half the size (at best) of a suburban market. Our normal tactic of darting down empty aisles to avoid clumps of slow-moving or merely crowded spots is no longer as helpful as it once was, and now we have to not only look out for shoppers with carts and baskets, but for larger baskets equipped with wheels that some shoppers dragged around with them.
Clearly, I will have to be more cognizant of where I walk before I fall flat on my face.
I danced around some of these carts during our Sunday trip to Westside Market on 110th Street. Most of our shopping had been done the day before with a visit to Fairway on the Upper West Side, but how could I resist a ten-block walk to investigate a potential gem when Michael texted me this a week ago?
“Just went to Westside Market at 110th St. Am intrigued…”
Under the pretense of getting a few more ingredients for that night’s dinner, we headed down Broadway past Tom’s Restaurant to check things out for ourselves. I was immediately charmed: not only did the produce outside look appetizing, a sign upon entering the store encouraged us to “have fun while shopping.” Samples were strategically placed all over the fresh and prepared foods section, ranging from salads to spreads to cheeses, and it seemed like everywhere you turned you were facing a tempting display of takeaway meals, including a counter with some of the most appetizing prepared foods I’ve seen since we moved here. And then there was the matter of the cheese section.
The next time I’m there (which will probably be sooner rather than later), I’ll try to get a shot of this to give you an idea of the breadth of selection that is available, because it’s completely overwhelming. If we didn’t have a slab of pancetta in our bag that I wanted to get into the fridge, I could have lingered here for hours. The reasonable prices presented an even greater temptation—I picked up a small wedge of Spanish Iberico for less than $3, which was just enough to enjoy that night without having so much leftover to figure out what to do with later. The prices in general were all pretty reasonable: not the lowest we’ve encountered, but close.
It may not be as conveniently located to us as Romeo’s was in New Haven, but I have a feeling that Westside will be a store I frequent almost as regularly. With it being open 24 hours to boot, I think an off-time visit is required to really get to know this local treasure.