Essex Street Market Report
Although the new tile floor that has been underway at the Essex Market for some weeks now is still a bumpy work-in-progress, I was able to find plenty of treats for our weekly Essex Street Market Report:
I started with a "Plumply Plum and Almond" muffin and a strong and spicy Masala Chai Latte from Tra La La Juice Bar. Ron the baker says he only make the plum muffins when plums are in season, which is right now! He was also boasting about the "Menage a Trois" muffin – Apricot (also in season right now), Roasted Walnut, and White Chocolate – which looked delicious. With names like "Igor's Poppy Almond", "Precious Spicy Nicey Banana Pecan", "Hunka Hunka Chocolate Chunk Walnut" and "Zorba's Baklava Honey Walnut", all at $2.50 a piece, you can't go wrong with any of Ron's muffins. I asked Ron when they were supposed to be finished with the floor and he said they told him not until September.
Ronnie-Sue at Ronni-Sue's Chocolates had me try the latest "Staff Special", made by her assistant pastry chef, Michelle Sarviole. She encourages all her assistant pastry chefs to come up with new items and once they thoroughly taste-test them, they add them to their assortment. This one was a sesame cardamon truffle with toasted sesame seeds rolled in powdered lemon grass. The essence of an Indian market in one little bite! I asked Ronni-Sue when they were supposed to be finished with the floor and she said they told her August 1st.
I noticed Viva Fruits & Vegetables is expanding in to another space in the market. They used to specialize in Mexican specialty foods but are now adding a wider variety of groceries and some organic items, as well.
I also noticed a great deal on Bacalao (two packages for $5), the traditional salt-cured cod sometimes found in Italian markets, at Batista Grocery. Along-side the Bacalao I found smoked herring, economically packaged, at $3.50/lb.
I went to visit Saxelby Cheesemongers and found I had just missed the last of a new batch of Mini Purrata, made by Di Bruno Bros. in Pennsylvania. They are little rounds of fresh mozzarella with cream on the inside and sound delicious. (I was promised a taste as soon as they get the next batch in!)
Still no word on when the Pain D'Avignon bread bakery will be opening at the market but a call to their office in Cape Cod confirmed it will be run by their sister company in Long Island City. The manager there told me the shop is still in it's "design phase", and they haven't set an opening date, yet.