The Lower East Side’s Newest Food Critics – AndrewAndrew

Our friends (and new neighbors) AndrewAndrew recently discovered the sandwiches at Sunny and Annie’s deli (94 Ave. B at E. 6th St.). Everyone (including AndrewAndrew) agrees, the deli’s “Pho Real” sandwhich is particularly delicious.  Check out their “Insta-Review” above.

Essex Street Market Going Greek

Rona Economou

Rona Economou knew she didn’t want to be a lawyer all her life. So when she was laid off from her job as a litigator in December, it didn’t take her too long to figure out that what she really wanted to do was run a restaurant.

“Spinach pie, cheese pie, baklava,” the 32-year-old entrepreneur said Wednesday morning, ticking off the offerings at her new take-out venture, Boubouki, which is nearing its opening day. “I love cooking for people, seeing the look on their faces.”

Desserts NYC Offers Sweet Treats on East Broadway

Desserts NYC opened May 20 at 155 E. Broadway.

For the last five years, Mary Fitzgerald has baked custom-order sweets for weddings, birthdays and other occasions in a rented commercial kitchen in Long Island City, schlepping her ingredients and finished products hither and thither and relying on word-of-mouth advertising.

Baking evolved from a hobby into a new occupation while Fitzgerald spent two decades working in the fresh flowers industry. Her jobs included a stint at a flower shop on Grand Street, where she was a co-worker with Bill Frazer, who now operates Essex Flowers (which just relocated to Grand Street) and Flowers Café, a small restaurant also on Grand.

Essex Street Market Report

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The Essex Market is a little quiet this week because Ron and Ira at Tra La La Juice Bar and Bakery are "closed for vacation". They promise to return and re-open on Sept. 22nd. 

Our favorite cheese mongers at Saxelby Cheese are apparently away in Italy, tasting cheese at a big cheese festival but not to worry, they are still open. Amy and Nicole, (the nice ladies filling in behind the counter) gave me a taste of the Krugerrand Farm's aged raw goat's milk cheese, from Richfield Springs, NY, ($28.99/lb.) which was featured at the Amsterdam Market this past weekend. The cheese was light and crisp, and almost tasted smoky. I also tried a Summer Snow sheep's milk cheese from Woodcock Farm in Weston, VT ($27.99/lb.). Very sweet and creamy.

I stopped by Roni Sue's Chocolates and she mentioned she will be featured in a Wine and Dessert Tasting hosted by Swirl Events next Wednesday, Sept. 23rd from 7-9pm. Chocolate covered bacon – tbd.

Batista Grocery seems to have the lowest prices for produce and Mexican specialty items (any kind of dried bean you can imagine) at the moment.  They are also expanding their large spice collection.  They offer all kinds of spices in big 14oz plastic jugs, from garlic powder to rosemary to dried mint leaves and even chamomile – all for $2.99 – $3.99…seems like a steal of a price for spices.

The Cuchifritos Gallery was closed for what I am assuming to be preparation for their upcoming opening of FEED, an "itinerant, interactive experiment in and about public markets" in collaboration with the Fragmental Museum.

Essex Street Market Report

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This week I found the new tile floor is almost complete at the Essex Street Market, and they are preparing to re-open the seating area at the North end. 

Speaking of the North end of the market, I noticed the Tra La La Juice Bar is now making cupcakes, along with their famous muffins.  I had a blackberry (in season!) cupcake for a mere $1.25, and noted that Ron (co-owner of Tra La La and Rainbo's Fish) has also included some "animal free" cupcakes. This week, he is offering animal free apple orange cupcakes and animal free mocha cupcakes for $1.50 each.  Ron did a lot of experimenting until he got them to taste right.  He uses a combination of olive oil and vinegar instead of butter, milk, or eggs.  He was also offering a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting for $1.25 that looked delicious.

I noticed that it does pay to compare prices at the fruit and vegetable (grocery) stands because they do vary. Today mangos were selling for $1 each at Viva Fruits & Vegetables and $1.79 each at Essex Farm Groceries.  But Viva was selling Rice Dream (in their new organic section) for $4.19 while Essex Farm sells it for $3.99.

Ronnie Sue of Ronnie Sue's Chocolates is now making cookies.  I tried a chocolate chocolate chip cookie that was moist and delicious. They come in a $2.00 bag with six cookies.  Another great deal.

After the cookies, I ventured over to Formaggio Essex, a specialty store that has been based in Cambridge, Mass for over 30 years (they've been at the Essex Market for about three years). They specialize in exclusive imports, from artisan cheese to olive oil to jelly. You can always find a unique import to sample. Ayse (the Cambridge store owners' daughter) offered me some palacio chorizo from Spain ($6.95 whole or $3.50 for a half) and some Basil Olive Oil from Chile ($11.95 per bottle).  I also noticed some lovely preserves, "Configures de Raphael" from Brittany, France.  The organic fruit Raphael uses is from his farm in Brittany and is boiled in a copper cauldron over an open fire.

For more cheese I visited Ann Saxelby at Saxelby Cheesemongers. She had me try a delicious Brebis Blanche, a fresh, cultured sheep's milk cheese, made by 3-Corner Field Farm in Shushan, New York. ($8.50 for 4oz or $4.25 for a half round).  It was light with a citrus flavor, and seemed perfect for a salad or with a little honey, as a snack.

Also, in case you are wondering, you can get a $10 haircut from Aminova (men only!) at Aminova's Barber Shop while you are doing your shopping.