A food lover's guide to 14th street
Baked goods at Max Brenner. Credit: Ryan Thatcher
By Linda Perney
Special to amNewYork
It's cold outside. Too cold to go roaming from store to store, looking for the perfect anything. And, there's no need to anyway.
Over the past few years, supermarkets have gone really super, offering organic produce, high-end prepared meals, exotic cheeses and produce and fine baked goods. 14th Street offers a conglomeration of these markets, so if you really do insist on shopping around, you can just nip next door and sample the treats there. And if the supermarkets don't do it for you, the Greenmarket surely will.BALDUCCIS
81 Eighth Ave.,
Open 7 a.m.-9 p.m., everyday
Once, there actually was a Balducci, and he ran a vegetable stand in the Village; eventually, the stand became a family-owned market that grew and grew, finally occupying the corner of Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue.
Now, the market is located at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue, in what was once a bank. Instead of trading in cold, hard cash, the store trades in excellent prepared foods some 50 or so dishes every day, ranging from down-home fried chicken to pistachio-crusted salmon to stuffed lobster tails.
In addition, there are selections of cheeses, meats, seafood as well as a deli counter, produce section and baked goods.
7 East 14th St.,
Open Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 7 a.m.- 9:30 p.m.
This large full-service market has plenty to put together a party with: Prepared foods range from latkes and pigs in blankets to scallops in white wine to chicken salads. There are also hams carved from the bone, brisket, plus, in the deli area, pates, terrines, foie gras prosciutto and smoked salmon.
Other treats include well-priced chocolates, a fresh seafood bar that carries shrimp of all sizes, meat and produce departments, and, in the bakery section superb key lime pies that taste like summer in the middle of winter.
4 Union Square South,
Open 8 a.m.-11 p.m, everyday
In the space that once housed the discount store Mays, Whole Foods now deals in healthy (if high-end) foods.
There's no point trying to describe what they carry trust us, they sell just about everything. Prepared foods run the gamut from fried chicken to salt-and-pepper shrimp to duck with black cherry glaze.
Indian food is available at the hot bar, and the cheese department is as varied as it gets. If you're looking for local-local, what about pickles from Rick's Picks (from Prospect Heights) or Gorilla Coffee (also from Brooklyn) or Tate's Cookies (from Long Island)?
Open Mon Thurs 9 a.m. midnight; Fri.- Sat. 9 a.m. 2 a.m.; Sun 9 a.m. 11 p.m.
Okay, so it's not right on 14th Street; it's a block south. Still, if you're looking to take a quick break and maybe pick up a few chocolates, well, here's the place. What about a warming chocolate fondue ($20.25-$24.95 for two)? Or, say, a little chocolate soup ($10.25)?
UNION SQUARE GREENMARKET
One of the glories of shopping 14th Street is the Union Square Market; in fact just about every chef worth his or her salt shows up at some point to sift through the stalls.
Summer is, of course, its main season, when the market is awash in fresh tomatoes, berries, peaches and other produce. Winter, you go for things like cheeses, meats, seafood, baked goods, plus artisanal honey, organic cider and more. The market is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. (Northern side of Union Square.)