Monday, May 16, 2011

Foodie Trip to New York

For my mom's Mother's Day present this year, I decided to do something a little different.  Yes, my brother and I made dinner, which was great.  But the big surprise came a week later with a trip to New York to experience some culinary treasures along with the West Hartford Adult Education Life/Learn program.

Our tour began on the Upper West Side with a visit to Zabar's, the well-known gourmet market famous for its fresh-baked Jewish rye bread.  Upstairs I submerged myself in the gadget aisles.  Downstairs, I made some discoveries.

vegan find!  Tofu Spinach Spread

another vegan find!

score #3!

On the opposite corner from Zabar's is H&H Bagels where we stopped for some sesame and cinnamon raisin.  No, of course they're not gluten-free, but how could I resist the experience?

"Like no other bagel in the world."

got my bag of warm goodies

We had time to stop for lunch and fortunately for me there were two vegan options just a few blocks away:  Cafe Blossom and Peacefood.  We checked out the menus and made a plan to sit down for a couple appetizers at Blossom, then dessert-to-go from Peacefoods to savor later in the afternoon.

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with 
Smoked Paprika Creme and Sriracha Sauce

Farinata Puttanesca - chick pea crepe with 
sauteed mushrooms and onions and roasted tomatoes

The vegan-filled display case at Peacefood

Sinfully Delicious Gluten-free 
Chocolate Cookie Sandwich with Mint Creme

After our vegan excursion, our next stop brought us to Kalustyan's, located in Curry Hill, the #1 spice shop in New York City. Kalustyan's is full of not only exotic and aromatic spices, but also about 40 varieties of rice, nuts grains, condiments, and salt.  Yes, an entire display shelf filled with salt from all over the world.  I could've explored this shop for hours and spent hundreds of dollars, but we only had 20 minutes, and I'm no millionaire.

So we regretfully moved on to our final stop, Little Italy, where we sampled foods from DiPalo Fine Foods.  I packed up a plate of prosciutto, cheeses, and breads for my dad, but I couldn't resist the sampling of artisan olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

My favorite was the small batch of balsamic aged in oak barrels for 8 years.  It was so rich and syrupy it almost had a chocolate quality to it.  I bet it would be heavenly drizzled on a salad of strawberries and baby spinach.

So concluded our tour.  Farewell, New York and fellow foodies.  I shall return.


Anonymous said...

What an interesting trip! I wonder if there are any like that in Connecticut.

Mary Lawrence said...

Yes, indeed! There are some surprisingly great finds in CT if you know where to look. My favorite place for Indian spices is Cosmos International on Farmington Ave. in West Hartford, and D&D Market is a fabulous Italian specialty shop in Hartford that personally I think is even better than DiPaolo's! And we're spoiled with Whole Foods where you can get just about any gourmet condiment imaginable. It was still a fun trip, nonetheless.