all photos by Emily Cohen unless otherwise noted
Chocolate Temptation: Can you resist?
484 Broom Street, btwn W. Broadway and Wooster
A trendy museum boutique to the eyes, an explosion of exquisitely crafted cocoa to the tongue: Soho’s MariBelle fine treats and Chocolates offers rich aromas and highly concentrated flavors. The signature line of chocolates come in beautiful Italian boxes, each made from a mixture of premium chocolate in twenty exotic flavors including saffron, earl’s grey tea, lavender, pineapple, and cardamom. A single square of chocolate boasts a colorful decorative, silk-screened top, with intricate images and designs all made from cocoa butter. Aside from these popular fashionable chocolates, MarieBelle sells Aztec hot chocolate mixes made exclusively from Belgian cocoa, as well as a variety of teas and coffees. Walk past the glass cabinets and antique furniture and discover the Cacao Bar which features the shop’s best drinks, including spicy hot chocolate with cinnamon, nutmeg, and chipotle; served with biscotti and other scrumptious treats. Dining at Mariebelle would truly be a joy and is sure to bring back remembrances of sweets past.
links: MarieBelle | map it
9th and 10th Avenue, btwn 15th and 16th streets
In an age where most of our food is made behind the scenes, hidden from the consumer’s sight, it is refreshing to find a place where you can witness bread being kneaded, beef being aged, and pastries being frosted. Chelsea Market has nothing to hide.
Foodies from all over the city flock to Chelsea Market, the birthplace of the first Oreo™ cookie and the site of Emeril Live. This pleasure land of food also houses Amy’s Bread where you are bound to be seduced by the semolina-fennel-raisin loaf—dense, rustic bread studded with golden raisins and encased in a golden crust.
At the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, you’ll be blown away by the dazzling array of fresh and reasonably priced produce, from plump Portobello mushrooms to juicy ripe mangoes, as well as cheese products and nuts. For a quick sugar fix, grab a sinfully sweet brownie at Fat Witch Bakery where each bite will leave your mouth bursting with fudgy, gooey chocolate.
Step into a global market of exotic seafoods at the Lobster Place. Here you will find fresh glistening lobsters, oysters, and shrimp of all sizes piled high on beds of ice in addition to enticing sushi platters, and flavorful chowders.
Splurge on gourmet Italian goods at Buon Italia, where you will have to resist the urge to buy the monstrous 3-kilo jar of Nutella for $36.95.
Complete your gourmet experience with a wine from the Chelsea Wine Vault or take advantage of their free wine tasting (see their website for dates). With free wine as an extra incentive, Chelsea Market’s fresh food and show-it-all boldness are definitely worth a visit.
Natural Foods for the Whole Person
Integral Yoga Natural Foods
229 West 13th St., btwn 7th Ave and Greenwich Ave
Surpassing most wholesome/organic type food stores, Intergal Yoga Natural foods offers an unbelievable selection of organic and specialized foods. This is an ideal market place for vegans, people with food allergies, and others interested in healthy dining. Grab a plastic bag, head for the huge clear containers, and select fresh herbs, pastas, organic coffees, and assorted flours. Stock up on a variety of beans and peas. Try mung beans in soups, porridge, or as accompaniment to rice. French whole-wheat couscous and multigrain pancake mixes are also available. A delicious treat is the making of your own organic peanut and almond butter. All one has to do is place your choice of nut into this amazing machine and with a flick of the wrist you have created your own delectable butter. Alongside the over-flowing edible bounty are “environmentally friendly” body cleansing and beauty products. Shopping at Intergal Yoga Natural Foods is truly a joy and pleasure as you not only nourish the body but also cleanse the soul.
links: Integral Yoga Institute | map it
Soho’s Microcosm of Japanese Cuisine
494 Broome St. btwn W. Broadway and Wooster St.
Japanese grocery store Sunrise mart is a wonderland packed with a diverse selection of prepared, fresh, and imported Japanese foods, household goods, and exquisite table ware. Explore shelves of curries, dried fish, seaweed, dried noodles, green tea and soy sauce. Munch on fun snacks, a favorite is Pocky, scrumptious, thin, chocolate-dipped wheat sticks. Grab a quick meal of sushi, onigiri (rice balls) and donburi (rice topped with vegetables or meat.) An appetizing list of frozen delights including gyoza (Japanese dumplings), fish cakes, and mochi ice cream (glutinous rice-wrapped ice cream balls) entices you to taste them. Lovers of fermented vegetables, soy products, chicken sashimi and other meats can have their fill in the refrigerated section. Food aside, a variety of appliances, bathroom toiletries, and videos are also available.
links: map it
The Yoghurt Place II
71 Sullivan St., btwn Spring St. and Broome St.
The Yogurt Place II makes authentic Greek-style yogurt. In this Soho shop Greek Owner Vea sells seven kinds of thick and creamy yogurt that would satisfy, and please the most discriminating palate. Mouth-watering toppings like fresh fruit compotes, honey, crushed walnuts, and apricot preserves accompany each divine spoonful. The staff is knowledgeable about yogurt, and can answer any questions you may have. Due to its popularity the whole milk yogurt is often sold-out very quickly, however the low-fat version is satisfying. Please your taste buds with decadent baklava (walnut pastry), honey pistachio, and chocolate too. Be self-indulgent and savor the spinach and chicken phyllo (tissue-thin layers of pastry). Scrumptious!
links: map it | menupages | New York Metro | New York Press
The Sullivan Street Bakery
73 Sullivan St., btwn Spring St. and Broome St.
Small in size, huge on taste, Sullivan bakery in Soho delights your palate with many simple-yet-profound creations. The signature Pane Pugliese (traditional Roman large loaf) has a dark, crusty exterior and soft-moist interior. The ciabatta, shaped like a slipper has a hard-crust and feather light texture; its a perfect choice for sandwiches. Several of NYC finest restaurants favor their breads. You are in pizza heaven as you savor the seven-or-more varieties of delectable thin-square pizzas. Pizza Bianca (extra-virgin olive oil, rosemary and salt). Pizza Funghi (Cremini mushrooms and thyme) Feast on Schiacciata d’uva (Champagne grapes and anise), alas! This treat is made seasonally. Enjoy baked treasures Dolci (sweets) Crostata di Ricotta (Italian shortbread with Ricotta cheese and candied orange peel). Delicate, however, filling Tortino di Cioccolato (Italian brownie) will have your taste buds in a tailspin. Cheers! Sullivan Bakery has gone 100% organic. All products are also available at their second store in Hell’s kitchen.
photo by Bryan McKee, from Washington Square News
East Village Cheese
40 Third Avenue, btwn 9th St and 10th St
This humble yet quintessential cheese specialty store boasts a selection of mouth-watering cheeses from around the world. Savor Italian Fontina, Swedish Vodka Cheddar, Holland Gouda, and Camopello- an excellent aged goat cheese from Spain. These are only but a few of the cheeses which comprise the diverse and exceptional variety. The entire staff is knowledgeable about cheeses, and takes pleasure in this fact. As an accompaniment to its delicious cheeses the store sells an assortment of specialty foods, such as H&H bagels, salmon, cream cheese, cold cuts, tea, and coffee. Once inside you will be pleasantly surprised as you will find that the prices are reasonable.
links: map it | Citysearch | New York Daily News
Serious Cookware for the Serious Chef
477 Broome Street
Broadway Panhandler is a cook’s paradise that offers Cookware, cutlery, ovenware, kitchen tools, and even gadgets. This one-stop shopping emporium has most certainly earned its reputation by featuring high quality dependable products including Le Creuset, Kitchen Aid, and All-Clad. This extensive selection is sure to satisfy anyone that is passionate about cooking. All the supplies are efficiently organized according to their function, and you will always catch a kitchen demo when shopping. The store prides itself in its excellent merchandise, attentive service, and competitive prices.
links: Broadway Panhandler | map it | New York Metro
photo from Bridge and Tunnel Club
Grand Central Market
42nd Street and Park Avenue
Grand Central Market, located on the Lower Level Concourse of Grand Central Station is a chic alignment of gourmet shops offering a wide variety of foods. Assortments of chocolates, fresh fruits, imported cheeses, seafood, fine cuts of meats, wines , fresh flowers, and the most extensive spice racks (from candied whole nutmeg to candied ginger), beckons you to purchase them all. This upscale food market is a one of a kind in the area and strategically located in the heart of one of the busiest train stations in New York.
links: Grand Central Market | New York Metro
A Trip to Thailand
Bangkok Center Grocery
104 Mosco Street
The Bangkok Center Grocery in the heart of Chinatown carries hundreds of Thai exotic ingredients including kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal. They also specialize in imported Asian cookware such as sticky rice steamers and kanom krok pans. In addition, they import a plethora of Thai magazines, herbs, candies, frozen specialties and cosmetics. The smell, taste, and ambience of this grocery store is an inexpensive passport to Thailand.
links: Thai Grocery | Temple of Thai | map it
photo from Bell Bates
Bell Bates Natural Food Market
97 Reade Street
This place specializes in organic produce and packaged foods. Their healthy snack bar for freshly-prepared vegetarian meals and organic juice drinks is also worth a visit. Complement your meal with a stop at the salad bar featuring organic produce and delicious dressings such as the unusual sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Grab a cup of freshly brewed organic coffee; they have over 40 coffee beans and flavors to choose from. In addition they carry a wide array of vitamins, herbs and spices to complete your holistic experience.
links: Bell Bates Natural Foods | map it | citysearch
Wares and Fares at La Cocina
218 Eighth Ave
This small Mexican and Asian influenced take-out and market in Chelsea offers everything from black beans to ginger. Indulge in a variety of rare groceries such as Mexican squash blossoms, piloncilla (unrefined, cone-shaped sugar), Chinese cassia (cinnamon), dried epazote, or Kaffir lime leaves. Kitchen also offers prepared foods such as overstuffed burritos, tortillas, salsa, and chile. Unusual salsas include a “Coyote Cocina” (pineapple and chipotle), and “Tibetan fire sauce”. Their chiles range from the smoked Hungarian cherry, to Spanish guindilla, and New Mexico (hot or mild).