Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pain D'Avignon at the Essex Street Market

The design factor has just gone up several notches at the Essex Street Market with the opening of Pain D'Avignon's classy first retail space . When I first moved to the Lower East Side I had pretty much written off this market and didn't even bother to go in for the first year I lived here. Then a friend of mine told me about this fabulous local cheese shop that was, much to my surprise, in the Essex Street market, that cheese shop is the much mentioned here Saxelby Cheese. It was at my first visit to buy cheese that I realized what a great place this was. Lots of Latin grocery stores selling of particular interest to me a vast selection of Mexican ingredients, everything from dried peppers to fresh cactus paddles. I realized that Essex Farm Fruits and Vegetables sold a small selection of organic products and that Jeffrey's Meat was renowned for the quality and diversity of his meat and poultry selection. He also sources a lot of local produce including Bo Bo Chickens and Hudson Valley Duck.

Formaggio Essex is a gem of a store with kick ass olives, an exhaustive international cheese selection and sherry vinegar and olive oil available in bulk with refillable green glass bottles.

First stop on any tour of the market should be the tiny out post of Porto Rico Importing Co where they offer regular or organic brew and beans at very reasonable prices.

If you don't live in the city I'd really suggest this as a great jumping off point for your foodies tour of the lower east side when next you visit. If you do live here and haven't been in a while check it out again, its becoming a smaller, funkier, more diverse version of the Chelsea market.

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