Here’s your guide to our annual pre-holiday NYC shopping trip!
This year the trip is on November 22nd, 2015. Check out our “trips” page for all the info.
The Cooking Cottage has been taking this trip for as long as I can remember (which means since I was a young child since this business was started by my mom and grandmother) and over the years we’ve found – and been tipped off to – some amazing foodie products at all of the stops on the trip. This is why we do this trip every six months and some folks come with us again and again and again – gotta restock! I thought I’d share some of my favorite items with you and please! If you are a Cooking Cottage shopper… share some of your favorite finds in the comments!
The Upper West Side: Fairway, Citarella & Zabar’s
FAIRWAY MARKET has locations throughout the city and it’s the New Yorker’s grocery store. You can get everything there, and usually an interesting variety of “everything.”
- The almond cookies: usually on the counter at the bakery. Packed with almond paste, coated with powdered sugar & almonds… these honeys are dense and one goes a long way. They are amazing. Susan & Leigh tipped me off to these.
- Another great tip from a shopping tour regular was the flagels. This is a flat bagel, hence the name… it’s a chewy, flat bagel you don’t need to toast or even add cream cheese to. Genius.
- Meyer’s Clean Day products…. I know, you weren’t expecting this. But they have a whole wall of these products in every application and in scents I’ve never seen anywhere else. Last year there were a bunch of holiday ones that I picked up for gifts.
CITARELLA MARKET is a fancy little prepared foods and grocery store… I don’t have any specific recommendations here, though I do always love to walk through and look at everything because it’s so lovely. But I don’t usually buy much… Usually I am in a hurry to get to….
ZABAR’S is one of my favorite places on earth. No exaggeration. How do they do it? I don’t know… but this store is perfect in my eyes. As a kid I used to dream of living on the Upper West Side so I could do my shopping here (hey I was a kid who liked smoked fish)..
- The chocolate babka!! This classic Russian loaf cake is dense, yet pulls apart, swirled with chocolate, cinnamon and other delicious flavors. My mom always bought one of these on this trip the Sunday before Thanksgiving and stuck it in the freezer so we could have it on Christmas morning with coffee while opening gifts. This is the secret reason I took over the Cooking Cottage… Somebody’s gotta get the babka!!
- Zabar’s ships out a jaw-dropping tonnage of coffee every week. Their house roasted coffee is as good as it gets. After every trip I fill my freezer with it. I am also very partial to their loose teas that you can find by the coffee. Russian Caravan, Lapsang Souchang & Lavendar Lace are some of my favorites but I’ve enjoyed every one I’ve tried and the price is right. For fancy gifting, they stock a great selection of Kusmi Teas – imported from Paris and packed in the most lovely little tins, these teas are very special.
- Smoked mussels & pickled beet horseradish… they were giving out samples of this delectable combination a couple years ago and now I am hooked.
- The upstairs kitchenware shop: last year I got a Kuhn Wusthof chef’s knife on sale for $50! And they have everything else you always wanted for your kitchen at shockingly good prices.
- Can’t forget the jams and chocolates! These are two of my favorite gift items to stock up on… in the back corner there is a wall of jams, each more delectable than the next. And up front, all kinds of gourmet chocolate bars (from potato chip chili to imported Italian truffle) are there to suit every stocking on your list.
The West Village: Bleecker Street
We love to stop for lunch on Bleecker Street. The two blocks between 6th Ave & 7th Ave are pure goodness. Some highlights:
AMY’S BREAD: Really good bread. ‘Nuff said.
MURRAY’S CHEESE: Arguably the best cheese shop in the city. They are super nice and will help you make great selections for your holiday cheese plates (If you didn’t already stock up on cheese at Zabar’s, for which I would not blame you.. but hey, the more cheese the better). Murray’s has all kinds of condiments, crackers, craft beers, prepared foods, snacky treats and other things that you never knew you needed to have + they make excellent tasty gifts for your near & dear.
ROCCO’S PASTICCERIA: This is a favorite Italian pastry shop of many of our frequent shoppers. With its old-school cafe seating it makes a great place for a post-lunch coffee and dessert.
ROYCE’S CHOCOLATE: So I haven’t been to this place yet but can’t wait to pop in on this trip. One of our ladies stocked up on chocolate there when we stopped by Bleecker on our Nosh last month and she let me have a taste… It is truly outstanding! And it’s Japanese! So the packaging is really cool. A+ gift idea.
BISOUS CIAO MACARONS: Very lovely, very tasty classic French macarons. They package them very prettily.
—- But we stopped here for lunch right?? —-
These are some of our favorite West Village lunching spots. If you’re coming along on the trip you might want use the links or phone numbers provided to make a reservation… 12:30 is a good time!
PO: 31 Cornelia St. / (212) 645-2189 ~ Opened by Mario Batali, this is a great little Italian restaurant.
FISH: 280 Bleecker St. / (212) 727-2879 ~ Seafood restaurant & raw bar with fish-shack vibes.
RAMEN THUKPA: 70 7th Ave. /~ Slurpy Japanese noodle soup + dumplings. Perfect if the day is chilly.
RISOTTERIA: 270 Bleecker St. / (212) 924-6664 ~ Never been, but I’ve read about it and it’s an Italian restaurant where everything is gluten free… so if you’re gluten free, here’s your spot.
POTJANEE: 48 Carmine St. /
BAR PITTI: 268 6th Ave. / (212) 982-3300 ~ Another great little Italian spot.
JOE’S PIZZA: 7 Carmine St. ~ Busy shopping? Grab a slice here.. it’s everything NY Pizza is supposed to be.
TERTULIA: 359 6th Ave. / (646) 559-9909 ~ Popular and chic serving Spanish tapas, paella, wine + brunch.
MURRAY’S CHEESE BAR: 264 Bleecker St. / (646) 476-8882 ~ It’s Murray’s Cheese Shop’s cheese-themed restaurant…
CORNELIA STREET CAFE: 29 Greenwich Village standby with American-French cuisine and Sunday brunch.
It’s an old Nabisco factory that was repurposed to house an abundance of little shops fit for food lovers of all stripes as well as the Food Network kitchens upstairs. And if it’s a lovely day, THE HIGH LINE runs just about Chelsea Market – this elevated walking path on the old railway line that once serviced this former factory district has been relandscaped with all indigenous species and outfitted with lots of places to relax and take in the Hudson River & NYC skyline. It’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike and well worth a little stroll.
POSMAN BOOKS: I can spend an hour in this bookstore just thumbing through the beautifully displayed and diverse selection of cookbooks
BOWERY KITCHEN SUPPLY: Fantastic kitchen supply shop
CHELSEA THAI WHOLESALE: This is a special place if you like to cook Asian food at home, stock up on all sorts of things for your Thai pantry!
CHELSEA WINE VAULT: It’s a beautiful thing to visit a wine store run by somebody who actually cares about wine! The selection here is excellent and they often have tastings, too.
FAT WITCH: This bakery is famous for its brownies & blondies.
NINTH STREET ESPRESSO: I always grab an afternoon espresso from this European style coffee counter.
PEOPLE’S POPS: We love People’s Pops! All natural and seasonal flavors that’ll have you rethinking the potential of popsicles.
SPICES AND TEASE: The barrels of brightly colored, aromatic spices will make you feel like you’re on another continent. The helpful staff makes it all accessible.
THE FILLING STATION: Great place for gourmet oils and vinegars.
ARTISTS AND FLEAS: Another wonderful location for checking folks off your holiday shopping list! Carefully selected NYC artists and vintage vendors sell their creative and funky wares here.
Now I really can’t wait for November 22nd! Hope to see you there!