outer borough cheese emergency!
So many of y'all were so helpful in the midst of my last baby shower food planning maelstrom (yes Minty, I swear pix are on the way!), that I again come to you for advice.
I've just been asked to provide cheese and balloons for 35 people for a shower on Saturday, but don't know if I'll have the time and/or wherewithal to schlep to Fairway or Murray's for provisions on Friday. Might anyone have suggestions about where I could tackle the bulk of my cheese needs somewhere in the vicinity of Park Slope? (and pleasepleaseplease could this not be the catalyst for another thread about how PS is a food wasteland, gaaargh, gaargh -- I'm just a girl who needs some cheese like, lickety split)
I had a life-changing mozzarella from A&S Pork Store last night, so there's really no question about where to get the Italianate cheeses, but I'm wondering about soft, buttery French options, some sharp, smokey Dutch, or maybe a sassy Manchego or grim, gritty Morbier. Anywhere I might find all these lovelies under one roof?
One other monkey wrench--there will be a couple of mothers-to-be in attendance who are trying their best to avoid raw milk cheese right now. That info will be readily available at the store or on packages, right? I'd certainly not want to be responsible for any cheese-related birth oddness.
Any info much appreciated, as would some about where I could lay my hands on several dozen helium filled Powerpuff and/or old school Pooh balloons on a Saturday morning in Brooklyn.
Many thanks to all of you who have posted suggestions. As it stands right now, Sahadi's and A&S seem to have done the trick. For those of you keeping score at home, the tally thus far is:
- A&S Mozzarella
- Minnesota Cheddar
- Vermont X-tra Sharp Cheddar
- Charlie Cheese (seemingly a Sahadi special, with white and yellow cheddars lovingly mixed so as to form a small, beatifically smiling head)
- A nondescript but serviceable chevre
- A vicious, unyielding, feisty Leicester Cheddar which may or may not actually make it out of my house and to the party
- Double Cream Champignon
- A Stilton so terrifying that I'm afraid it may stage a coup and take over the fridge. The father-to-be likes a stanky, marbled cheese.
- A pebbly Leyden Spiced
- Old Dutch Master Aged Gouda (a.k.a The Mona Lisa Gouda, a.k.a the Five Year Gouda, a.k.a. Oh Sweet Holy Heaven, That's Some Cheese)
Wondering now, did Steven Jenkins have anything to do with the curation of their cheese collection? I noticed that they've adopted (as have Balducci's and several others) his conceit of cheese liner notes, even with some of the same phrasings. First of all, where do I sign up to become a professional cheese liner note writer, and second, did Jenkins indeed start the trend?
By the way, I noted that the Atlantic Antic has been cancelled, but might anyone know if the Tunnel Tour is still a go for next weekend?
There is a new prepared food store on Court between Bergen and Wyckoff (east side of street) that was scheduled to open today. When I walked by at 8:30 this morning, I heard the owner tell someone he hoped to have a scale and cash register working by 10 AM. They seemed fully stocked, and one of their cases seemed to be devoted to cheeses. If that doesn't work, it's only 3 blocks from Sahadi.
Before the neighborhood gentrified much we patronized "La Charcuterie" (actually at St. Marks and Flatbush) extensively - it was the first non-supermarket, non-bodega type store to open in this area, and we liked the guys (its basically 2 guys, brothers, I think) and encouraged them as much as possible, when they went into the meat business we bought their steaks and veal at premium prices - until they sold me some highpriced and green-tinted veal cutlets - fresh cream, until we bought spoiled cream on a number of occasions etc. I used to point out past date dairy products, gently, because we thought they were being ripped off by suppliers. The last time I entered this store, they had just gone into the fruit business - so I bought several pounds of expensive grapes to support this effort, since we didnt have a quality fruit shop nearby. I also bought a big hunk or roquefort cheese -they were expanding their cheese selection and we had never bought his cheese before. At dinner, the cheese proved to be way over the hill, ammoniac, rotten. I waited a couple of hours so the store would be relatively empty and went with my child to take it back. When I told the main guy the cheese was over-the-hill, and perhaps he would be wise not to offer it anymore (I didnt even ask for my money back) and suggested that he taste the cheese, he blew his stack, told me I knew nothing about cheese, that experts loved his cheese, etc. etc. I havent been back in 15 years.
The same guy is still active in running the store. At least at that time, he clearly knew and cared nothing about cheese (or he would at least have tasted my cheese) Their record with perishable products is poor. I would recommend against shopping at this store for cheese or anything else that requires careful keeping or expect any product knowledge unless you are really careful.
Whew. I got that off my chest.
OK, you asked nicely, so I won't mention that there used to be an excellent cheese store at 9th St and 7th Avenue, SE corner, where there's a REAL ESTATE office now. Now, I'd say the best use of your time would be taking the "F" train to W. 4th St. and going to Murray's, except for the mozzarella at A&S, which you've already discovered. Try the Party City in Atlantic Center for the balloons. Have a great party.
Well....Sahadi sells a really good variety of cheeses, mostly in medium sized cuts, plastic wrapped (I have been known to dig through the display for the newer looking pieces), though they have whole wheels of brie, big pieces of good cheddar, etc. I have used their cheeses for cheese spreads before.
Eagle Provisions has a limited variety, which they cut to order, including roquefort and saga blue ...there is a cheese guy who comes into the farmers market on Saturdays...Costco even has some cheeses - manchego, saga, tillamook cheddar, etc. at not bad prices.
No, you will not find the perfect epoisses in Brooklyn, alas.
re: jen kalb
Sahadi's does have the biggest variety I've found in the general area. Staubitz, the butcher on Court, also has a good range as well. Marquet Patisserie, across the street from Staubitz, has a small selection of French cheeses as does Delicatessen, on Clinton and Verandah. Enjoy the shower.