It hadn’t yet reached a crisis point, but I noticed this weekend that I was getting low on coffee. My morning cappuccino is an addiction that I picked up after having lived in Italy, so not just any cuppa joe will do to get me started on my day. I don’t even drink NYC Deli Coffee, except in a real caffeine emergency. And, the coffee machine in the office, please, I think I’d rather just drink a mug full of scalding hot water instead.
My brand of choice is Illy. It’s not very difficult to find in the city, but depending upon where one shops, the price for your average can of ground coffee beans can vary widely. Then, again, depending upon where one shops, it could be taking a gamble with the coffee’s freshness as well. I usually try to buy mine at Chelsea Market, but that is an excursion downtown and across town from where I live.
As I was volunteering today and had to head into Soho, I decided to take a detour and hit Buon Italia, the Italian store in Chelsea Market, where I’ve found the best price on Illy. I’ve also seen products there that I haven’t come across since I lived in Italy. This is one of many great finds in the building that once housed the Nabisco Biscuit Factory (and, if my memory of one of the displays is correct, is the place where the Oreo was invented). Now it is a collection of shops and office space, and a prime tourist destination for food lovers, as it is the home of The Food Network.
I realized that I haven’t really written much about food shopping in New York. True, there are grocery stores and bodegas scattered around every few blocks. The truth is that those are often not enough. There’s a grocery store in the basement of my building, but I rarely use it except for purchases like toilet paper, paper towels, or cleaning supplies. It’s expensive and the quality is just so-so. For real shopping, I hit the Greenmarket and specialty stores like Chelsea Market. This mix gives me, I feel, the best in taste and quality as well as the ability to take advantage of more competitive prices.
So, here’s a little photographic field trip to share with you some of the delights and treats of Chelsea Market. For more information on the market itself, its history, and the shops located there, click on the link in the second paragraph.