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market watch: Jackson Heights

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So with the recent improvements at the Trade Fair on 37th, I now prefer it to Met Food (for most stuff) and usually go to the produce market across the street from Met but...I'd love to find out what markets/butchers/other food shops people prefer in the neighborhood. I'm especially interested in any recommendations of butchers -- sad but true, I haven't tried any of the local butchers out (and I've lived here for two years) so...your favorites?

Thanks a bunch.

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  1. I mainly go to Trade Fair too. I buy eggs and oatmeal and some bulk stuff at the newly expanded Health Food store on 37th Ave between 83rd and 84th. Have you been yet since it moved and renovated? I have heard the butcher on 37th between 85th and 86th (I think it's called Don Francisco) is suppoesd to be good but haven't tried it. For Asian, I really HATE the way Pacific Market smells, so I go to the Korean market that is around 72nd and Roosevelt (between Roosevelt and Broadway). Besides a good selection of produce, freezer items etc. they have some interesting deli items in the back which I haven't tried yet (like kimchee).

    3 Replies
    1. re: seneca

      --------
      I have heard the butcher on 37th between 85th and 86th (I think it's called Don Francisco) is suppoesd to be good but haven't tried it.
      --------

      good empanadas (argentinian style)

      1. re: Jim Leff

        We've had pretty good success there, but if your spanish isn't up to snuff, then there may be a bit of a language barrier (I've walked in trying to buy 1lb of steak and ended up leaving with 3lbs).

      2. re: seneca

        The Health Food store renovation is fantastic. I lived on the UES for 11 years and the place is littered with health food stores and, though some of the stuff they sell is, well, taste-free, there are loads of other products that I missed shopping for locally--and the renovated JH one has most of them.

      3. What about the halal butcher at Trade Fair? If you can get past the skinned lamb's heads , might be good stuff...
        I think El gauchito on corona ave is great for beef (tho a bit off the JH path); for chicken, I go with a bell and evans bird from met or trade fair. I think the health food store that seneca mentioned also has organic chicken. I miss the dines farm stand at the JH CSA, for tasty (albeit expensive) meats of all kinds. I would love to find somewhere that sold organic/or at least antibiotic free pork and lamb.

        1 Reply
        1. re: squinchy

          This week's Dines Farm menu for ordering (order before Wed. night and pick up in JH Saturday) is now posted on Jackson Heights Life http://www.jacksonheightslife.com/com...

          Get your lamb jam and ham straight from the farm.

          Rumor has it that Dines is thinking of opening a small store in JH, so if you would like to shop at a place like that, email them and tell them that. Just follow the link above and the Dines email is in there as well.

        2. I go to Pacific Market for filipino rolls but that's about it. Their fruit & veggies are in lousy condition but so are Trade Fair's. You can also find filipino rolls AND a variety of sausages at the filipino market on 69th/70th St. Woodside.

          I'm psyched about the organic shelf at Trade Fair. Not everything on the shelf is organic though.

          1. the new and improved trade fair is pretty great so far -- really good selection of frozen south asian items and fixins to make said dishes yourself, a better organic selection that days of yore AND 24 hour access.

            in terms of other stuff? i like Italian Farms (37th/80th) for deli meats and some prepared dishes (good meatballs, not so good on the eggplant/chicken front), gourmet fantasy food on 76th off 37th for eastern euro staples and the market attached to la boina roja for steaks....

            1. If it's not a big trek for you, definitely check out Ottomanelli & Son in Woodside. Frank Ottomanelli is there most weekends, and is very helpful. They have all kinds of exotic and game meat, and also organic stuff. They just started a freshly prepared Italian meals for 2 - haven't tried yet but they do look good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: welle

                Ottomanelli & Sons you can't go wrong. Plus all there meat is USDA prime . Artie is a great butcher and is always heplful too. Check out Ottomanelli's prepared food line also. Ottomanellis should be a stop for all outer boro's CH. The best in the boro.

              2. I don't know anything about this besides having received an email and looking at the website, but I think there is a co-op you can join in JH where you can pick up organic veggies, bread etc. once a week (or maybe it is twice a month). Here is the info http://www.farmspot.org/

                13 Replies
                1. re: seneca

                  Alas, the farm spot co-op is actually not a co-op but the CSA I wrote about and the season has ended...

                  1. re: squinchy

                    squinchy, I understand that farm spot is a CSA program, but why is it not considered a coop when members are asked to work a minimum of 6 hours during the season? I was checking out farmers market locations they just deliver to. Their applications do not mention anything about work requirements, whereby farm spot does. Just curious.

                    1. re: sandrina

                      Many CSAs ask their members to contribute some time. I co-founded one a few years ago, and all of the organizational work is done by volunteers. We ask each member to work once during the season at pick-up night - helping to set up, handle the sign-in desk, guide members through the variety of produce, pack up left overs for the charity and celan up. It's 3 hours once a season.

                      Without the members' contribution, it would fall to a few people to do this every week.

                  2. re: seneca

                    Holy cow...has anyone read through that site?

                    "Golden Earthworm Farm is teaming up with Briermere Farms...."

                    Briermere Farms is the awesome awesome pie place in Riverhead Long Island. Maybe we can get them to bring in some pies....

                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      Is it really possible to get good pies anywhere but out of your own home kitchen? I am an avid pie baker (I mean AVID) and I love to eat pie. Every time I fall for the Home made Pie sign (ho-made was my all time favorite), and I can tell you it is frequently, I am disappointed. Something along the lines of homemade icecream, I can't resist.
                      I think they can call it homemade as long as they opened the can and unfolded the pie crust in their kitchen.
                      I don't think I have been to Briermere farm (though I have been to some famous pie place out in LI maybe that was it, I can't remember) It was ok, not great/ I hate little pie company too. I have tried many of the places touted as "best pie in NY" and never been overwhelmed by deliciousness.there is no good pie out there. Is this the cold hard fact? I will hold out hope that this is not true, but I am not encouraged.

                      1. re: scarey

                        Party at your house!

                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          Did I come off sounding arrogant, that was not the intention. i just want to eat some delicious pie.
                          Maybe all the pie bakers in the area should bake a pie and we can have a party at my house, central Jackson Heights location.

                          1. re: scarey

                            Not arrogant at all!

                            1. re: scarey

                              I don't live in your area but would come to your party! i agree about homemade pie. Briarmere gets a lot of hype, but i also think the pie is just okay.

                              not sure pie is something that can or should be made in the kind of quantities that briarmere does. the crust always suffers.

                              however, now i'm getting off topic.

                              As a more on-topic note, i like the butcher in the trade fair. it's a great place to get boneless lamb shoulder for curries, something that is not always easy to find.

                              1. re: missmasala

                                In most things, anyway, great homemade is often better than great storebought.

                                IMO, Briermere Farms is great storebought. Though I haven't been in a while, and I've heard, thru grapevine, indications of downhillness.

                        2. re: Jim Leff

                          Vendors set up for Farm Spot at St.Mark's Church every Thursday from 4-8 from the end of April through November and it is open to the public. The vendors are
                          Dines Farms, Lynhaven Goat cheese, Ambrosia Bakery, and Philippe, who has tarts, breads, and some prepared foods. Even if you don't join Farm Spot, you can come buy things from the vendors. Last season was the first season and the pick-up days turned into a community gathering place with kids and parents hanging out and grilling, etc. The Farmspot season runs from the end of April through November. www.farmspot.org

                          1. re: jeangrand

                            Correction: This year's season runs from May 24th through November 21st.

                          2. re: Jim Leff

                            Any clued-in hounds who received the old ChowNews e-mail newsletters got the following heads-up on 5/5/06 (the newsletter is on hiatus, but I'm told it's supposed to return soon; in the meantime, ChowNews site summaries are available at http://www.chow.com/digest :

                            IN JACKSON HEIGHTS, NATURE'S BOUNTY FROM FARM TO KITCHEN

                            Farm Spot [Jackson Heights]
                            pickups at St. Mark's Episcopal Church
                            33-50 82nd St, at 34th Ave
                            Jackson Heights, Queens, NY 11372
                            718-512-5097, info@farmspot.org
                            http://www.farmspot.org
                            Locater: http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

                            Starting this month, Jackson Heights hounds can harvest weekly deliveries of fresh, locally farmed produce through the neighborhood's first community supported agriculture program, reports *eponymous*. For those new to CSAs, they work like this: Subscribers pay up front for a season's worth of produce, then pick up their bounty once a week (and put in a few hours of time over the year, co-op style, to help run the program).

                            Jackson Heights' new CSA - only the fifth in Queens - is called Farm Spot. Vegetables will come from Golden Earthworm farm on Long Island's North Fork, fruits from Briermere Farms in Riverhead, and meats and eggs from Dines Farms in the Catskills. Naturally, the produce follows the seasons. Typical spring vegetables include arugula, lettuce, beets, chard, and sugar snap peas. In summer, expect tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, zucchini, and more. By fall, you'll see potatoes, broccoli, kale, and the like. Fruit offerings are more limited: berries in spring, stone fruit in midseason, apples by fall.

                            Farm Spot deliveries start at the end of May and run through November. A 27-week vegetable plan costs $525 (a biweekly 13-week plan is $310). A 16-week fruit plan is $135. Members will pick up their produce on Thursday afternoons at St. Mark's Church on 82nd Street.

                            *Eric R.*, a CSA veteran who has sampled Golden Earthworm's wares, says it's dependably excellent stuff with occasional "near-religious experiences," including some unforgettable squashes and melons. "You sometimes have to make a concerted effort to consume all of the offerings in a timely way," he advises. "If you eat out a few times a week, you might face an overload."

                        3. There are, unfortunately, no good butchers, fish mongers or bakers in JH. I've lived here over five years, and haven't found one yet.

                          On the plus side, Dine's Farms, a small, family-owned farm from upstate NY, delivers pasture-raised meats to JH all year long. They sell at the farmers' market in JH (April[?] through November), at the Green Market in Union Square (I believe they're there on Mondays only), and via their Web site (www.dinesfarms.net). Their chicken is outstanding (Murray's wishes theirs was anywhere near this good), their pork is unbelievably moist, marbled, and delicious, their beef is like heaven, and their rabbit is the best tasting bunny I've ever had (i.e., not stringy and dry, but moist and tender). They make their own chicken sausages, too, and they are, for chicken sausages, excellent. Their prices are better than Whole Foods, too. You can get on their e-mailing list, place an order with them, and pick up your food on Saturday morning (34th Ave. and 76th St.). My wife and I haven't eaten any meat or poultry from another source since last June, when I found them.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: christocc

                            i disagree. don francisco is a great butcher for beef and pork products (no duck, lamb or goose). they are very helpful, friendly, have great meat and great prices. 37th between 85 and 86 streets.

                            1. re: joekarten

                              Agreed. Don Francisco is da bom.

                              1. re: Monkey Man Jake

                                Don Francisco sells crap.

                                Their meat is corn-fed, industrially raised and butchered beef and pork that has no marbling, no flavor, no character, and is loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones. Besides, if your butcher can't tell you where your meat came from (and I mean both from what geographical area, as well as which part of the animal), and Don F. can't, then s/he's got no business selling it, and you've go no business buying it.

                                1. re: christocc

                                  Once I ordered two different kinds of sausages from Don Francisco (one of each since they were large). I didn't like either one. Never went back. Although its not in JH's, I like Ottomonelli's in Woodside.

                                  1. re: Mike V

                                    The two sausages they sell are are chorizo and blood sausage. And I don't necessarily recommend either, unless you know how to cook 'em. They need a slow natural-wood charcoal fire. The chorizo is particularly yummy cooked in that way. DF is *not* an American butcher, but an Argentinian.

                                  2. re: christocc

                                    "Their meat is corn-fed, industrially raised and butchered beef and pork that has no marbling, no flavor, no character, and is loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones."

                                    I'm sorry, but this is just not true. It's not an American-style butcher, but an Argentinian butcher, and they sell cuts that are primarily Argentinian in nature. They sell grass-fed beef, ranched in Canada by Argentinians. Their asado is very nice, as is their bacio. They don't even really sell pork, unless you count their blood sausage and chorizo.

                                    If you want a fattier cut, you want what's called sobre asado.

                                    If you want American-style steaks, yeah, I guess you should go to Ottomanelli, which I also like. But what's with the attytood?

                            2. Sorry for the rant, it was fueled by indignation (and not entirely righteous, either). I had been having a similar discussion with a friend, who was raving about the steak she'd bought in a supermarket. I allowed it to spill over into this conversation, which I shouldn't have.

                              The two times I went to Don F, I wasn't impressed. I thought the meat wasn't great, but it's possible that either a) I wasn't given "the good stuff", or b) I didn't know what to get (and I think that's the likelier answer). I'll give him another try.

                              As for American-style steaks, I'll stick with Dines Farms, thanks. I find their steak is far and away better than Ottomanelli (who I like for other meats).

                              Thanks for keeping me honest.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: christocc

                                ALL of his steaks should charcoal grilled slowly. You gotta do it A-style. Dines farms is fine...! Stay widdem.

                              2. Not much to add as I'm new to the neighborhood and still finding my way around, but is there anywhere decent in JH or very nearby to buy fish? I haven't seen that yet!

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: The Turtle Bay Dove

                                  right in the 'hood, not so much. Pacific Market has its moments, though it is definitely hit n miss in terms of seafood. there's a place on roosevelt in woodside -- around 62nd, i would venture -- that's reliable but not stellar. they serve sushi, and can be counted on to offer fresh fish/seafood, but the variety leaves something to be desired. in any event, welcome to the neighborhood!

                                  1. re: The Turtle Bay Dove

                                    Marino (Brothers? and Sons?) in Astoria. They're on 30th Ave. and 37th Street. Great guys, great fish.

                                    1. re: The Turtle Bay Dove

                                      Depending on the kind of fish you want, I like Chong Hap market for fish, much better than Pacific market. The fishmongers back there at Chong Hap can be a bit gruff, but they do their jobs well enough, and if you buy something more "hardcore" by Korean standards, you'll get a nod of appreciation.

                                      1. re: The Turtle Bay Dove

                                        I can tell that I live farther up than many of you, and I usually buy my fish from the pretty fresh but limited selection at Jose Fish Market on Roosevelt between 81st and 82nd. However, when I have the car or end up near Junction Blvd, I go to the best fish market around, Seaside Fish & Lobster, I believe it's called. It's on Roosevelt and Warren, the little street before Junction. It's owned by three Sicilian brothers and supplies many of the resturants within a wide radius - as far as I can tell from the clipboards with all the names on them. They have a wide selection -far more than anyplace else around, from scungilli to live eels around the winter holidays. I've even seen the tiny swordfish (I can't remember what they're called), several varieties of squid and mussels, tuna, and various fish from other climes. There is or was another big place on the Southeast corner of Roosevelt & Junction too, Korean, I believe. I didn't like it as well, but it also has a big selection.

                                        1. re: JH Jill

                                          The Place is called Seatide and they are on Roosevelt Ave and Warren St. They have the best fish around and the prices are great too. FYI they have 2 other store one mega store in Brooklyn on Ave N . It has a Sushi bar and fried fish and prepared food in it and another one in NYC.

                                          1. re: FAL

                                            Thanks. Sounds fantastic -- I'll definitely end up there in the next few days...

                                            1. re: FAL

                                              I finally tried Seatide on Roosevelt and Warren St. and found it to be ok but not that inspiring. I bought one pound of large shrimp for $7.00. The salmon, etc. didn't look as super fresh as I would like, but since I didn't buy anything besides the shrimp I guess it's not fair to comment. Unfortunately my standard of comparison is the place on 40th and 9th in Manhattan called Sea Breeze that had the most exceptionally fresh fish I have ever seen, with good prices. (I never liked the Chinatown places in comparison to this 40th and 9th one.)

                                              Anyway, I am not inspired to go back to Seatide on Roosevelt. In fact, for shrimp I would prefer getting the uncooked-with-tail-on frozen shrmip at Trader Joes for $8.50 (not sure if they have them at Manhattan store but I have bought them in Cambridge MA store) as once you defrost them in running water and cook them, they taste just as good if not better as these Seatide ones. And obviously the advantage is that you can buy them in advance and keep them in your freezer. And you don't have to clean them.

                                            2. re: JH Jill

                                              Thanks so much (and thanks to E Eto above)! I'm in the mid-80s, so I'll get around to checking out all of these options.

                                              1. re: JH Jill

                                                Thank you so much for your suggestion of SeaTide Fish and Lobster. I wanted to make a bouillabaisses and was looking desperately on the board for a fish market suggestion nearby Jackson Heights, b/c i didn't want to trek down to Chelsea market on this very chilly day. I was immediately impressed with SeaTide the minute I walked in. The place smelled like fish but not fishy, which was a great sign and the selections were pretty good; you get fillets, whole fish, live clams, live oysters, live mussels, squids, shrimps in addition to live crabs and lobsters at very recent prices. Dungeness crab were $7.99/lb and lobsters were $8.99/small and $9.99/large. (You can also get fish heads and bones for make fish stock.) My bouillabaisses turned out great thanks to the fresh seafood! Another great find as I walked from the train to SeaTide were the Ecuadorian carts right across the street that sell whole roasted pigs carved right when you ordered! as well as sausages, corns, tamales and so on. I didn't know how to order so i just got whatever the person in front of me got, which was a $10 platter of the corn, roasted pig and these fried yellow muffin-look-alike, which was the best thing on the platter. Not sure what it is still...maybe a combination of potato and yuca? . It was definitely a lot of food, next time i'd get the $6 platter. Today definitely stirred my interest in exploring Corona. Thanks again.

                                                1. re: JH Jill

                                                  Just a late report back to say that I bought fish at the place on Roosevelt once, so thanks first for the rec. Not an ideal fish store, but convenient and I wouldn't have known from the outside (although there is a sign) that they sold any fresh fish.

                                                  But an even bigger thank you for the Seatide rec. I slogged the mile through the snow to get there last night and came away with some lovely tuna (for $5/lb - which since my last fish store was Wild Edibles where you couldn't get anything for less than about $10/lb was super exciting). Great great great to know about, for the variety, the quality (some looked perfect, some kind of sad, but I imagine its the place where you could always find lots of great stuff), and the price.

                                                  Sigh. Living here just gets better and better as I explore more and more.

                                              2. I always want to shop at Pacific but as soon as the way-too-fishy smell of the fish department hits, I head over to the jarred goods instead. If I'm going to shop for fish in Queens, I usually head over to Astoria. I'll post the names of the ones I go to later...I know I have them somewhere around here.

                                                1. Thanks all - this thread is turning out to be quite a bit of fun. I'll report back in as I try some of the spots mentioned. By the way, beware the boxes of clementines at the produce market across from Met (the one that's mid-block), I bought a box the other day and about half of them were moldy on the inside. Feh.

                                                  1. I can't remember if it was mentioned here, but Despana Foods on Northern Blvd is a neat place. I used to think there was no place to get good cheese in the nabe.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: orzabelle

                                                      What do you think about the cheese selection at Italian Farms? I noticed that they stock Manchego, as well as French & Italian cheeses, but I'm not cheese-savvy enough to know if the offerings are worthwhile.

                                                      1. re: Helen F

                                                        I think the cheeses are pretty good, but they have minimum sized pieces you can buy and that sort of turned me off. I wanted to come in one day and try a bunch of different things and they were so prickly about it that I didnt buy anything (though I think they are usually very nice)

                                                        1. re: Helen F

                                                          They have an ok selection for day-to-day but, for cheese plate purposes, I'd go elsewhere.

                                                      2. Ive been in JH a year and a half and really wish there was a place to get a good cup of coffee. I dont get how a place with such a big Colombian population doesnt have good coffee. Please tell me if Im wrong, but I think Ive tried every possible place in the nabe.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: orzabelle

                                                          I don't think you're wrong -- this has been a perennial topic of discussion, on this board as well as among my local friends. The regular "cafe con leche" at the S. American places tends to be too mild for our tastes. Maybe bland is a better word. Our favorite has been the cappuccino at La Nueva bakery. It's the best we've come up with, though it's inconsistent. I think they're getting $2 for it these days.

                                                          Maybe this conversation should be in a different thread than the one about the markets?

                                                          1. re: Helen F

                                                            A friend of mine and I had coffee this morning in Ricky's Cafe at 37th Ave. and (I think) 76th St. We had the "cafe Latino", which is basically cafe con leche. It was a pretty good cup of joe. Much better than the American coffee they serve.

                                                        2. Major shopping find tonight. La Nueva bakery on 37th between 86/87, which everybody always wishes was better than it is (me, too), actually does have one amazing thing. Cassinelli ravioli from astoria in the freezer case. Killer. Especially spinach cheese. Run, don't walk.

                                                          ciao

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Jim Leff

                                                            Jim we must live real close to each other . We sure travel to the same places . What ever happen to Pearsons BBQ ?

                                                            1. re: FAL

                                                              Has anybody tried Ranger lately? I ordered from them a while back and it was a fairly painful experience -- the person taking the order didn't know thing one about the menu items. The food was ok (this was about six months ago) but didn't inspire me to order again. Has it gotten any better?

                                                          2. My apologies to all, especially to Don Francisco.

                                                            Having taken today and tomorrow off, I decided to explore what's new and happening in JH. So, off I trotted (ambled) up 37th Ave. First, I went to the natural foods store. Impressive for the nabe. Nice selection of organic foods and supplements, and, much to my delight, some yogurt starter! My usual source (Westerly Market, 54th St. and 8th Ave. in Manhattan) has been out for the past three weeks. I'm making a batch of yogurt now, and can't WAIT for breakfast tomorrow.

                                                            On to my Don Francisco experience. As I was walking East on 37, I realized, uh, oh! What I THOUGHT was Don F. was really La Boina Roja. Muh bad. I kept walking, and was glad to see the REAL Don a couple blocks farther along. I walked in, and I must say, you're all right. Beautiful meat! I bought a shell steak and a black sausage. I'm glad that I'm conversational in Spanish, and was able to communicate with the butcher. I'll be grilling the steak tomorrow night, and will report back on my findings.

                                                            Again, sorry for the confusion, and the previous rant. I'm glad that over the course of 53 years, most of the pig-headedness has been knocked out of me.

                                                            1. Couple finds today as I executed my chicken roll trifecta (<http://www.chowhound.com/topics/new/1...).

                                                              Monika (80-10 37th Ave), a friendly, grandmotherly, authentic Polish butcher (I haven't tried their meats, but someone should) had the tiniest little crunchy sugar-dusted pastry twists, filled with a dab of jelly. Really good. They had a flavor I've never experienced before in this nabe...it made me disoriented for a minute until I could regroup and identify it. It was butter.

                                                              Good alfajores (the juvenile yellow super crumbly style, not the lardy/shortbready style) in the window at Cholados & Helados (81-08 37th Ave). For the latter style, I like Don Alex (95-04 37th Ave), or, really, any of the Peruvian restaurants hereabouts.

                                                              ciao

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                monika is a lovely place, but they don't seem to make any of their meat products (other than the occasional roast duck or veal breast). they sell a lot of old poland's soups/bigos/etc. in their refrigerator case. i'm a little concerned because there was a "business for sale" sign in the window for a long while (do you recall if that was still there?)

                                                                1. re: david sprague

                                                                  I visit Monika's very late on Friday afternoon when the breaded chicken and pork cutlets arrive still warm. According to our Polish handyman Monika's is a very poor excuse for a Polish Deli. Without a car getting to Greenpoint is a major task (using two subways) so I have no choice but to shop at Monika's. Stuffed cabbage when it comes in fresh isn't bad. The For Sale Sign has been up for over a year.

                                                                  1. re: Mike V

                                                                    Greenpoint is only about 20 minutes away by bicycle.

                                                                  2. re: david sprague

                                                                    I once bought some big fresh homemade-type sausages that I believe they make, or get really locally. You can bake them, etc. I think that I grilled them slowly for a long time and found them quite tasty. One of them is quite enough for a hungry person.

                                                                2. I'm pretty sure the for sale sign was down last time I passed by, about three days ago.

                                                                  1. I saw the for sale sign on Monday

                                                                    1. So, last night I grilled the shell steak I bought at Don F's, along with the morcilla (blood sausage) that I bought there.

                                                                      The steak was fantastic. Nice, beefy flavor, well marbled (ergo, nice and juicy), and with a great texture. I suspect (from the color, texture, and aroma) that it had been aged. Sprinkled with salt and pepper, and grilled, it was amazing. Likewise, the morcilla was out of this world. Grilled up, it was a nice complement to the steak, polenta and braised endive we had as our meal.

                                                                      I'm a believer!

                                                                      1. How much was the steak (per pound)?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                                          Gee, I really don't know, but I think it was about $10.00 a pound.

                                                                        2. What market in JH has the best, freshest garlic? It seems like the last few times I have bought it, I open it up and it has those huge green stalks growing out of the middle of each clove.

                                                                          I think the last one I got from Trade Fair, and another time I bought from the fruit market on the corner of 78th st. and 37th ave. I don't go through it fast so I like to get just one at a time (not the bags of 3).

                                                                          Thanks.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: seneca

                                                                            you might want to check out Patel Brothers on 74th street. they've got quick turnover on most of their produce items, particularly the ones that're staples of South Asian cooking.

                                                                            1. re: seneca

                                                                              You might get lucky at Apna Bazaar and Subzi Mandi. Both are near the SW corner of 73rd St and 37th Ave. I generally find their produce to be a little bit better than that of at Patel Bros.

                                                                              1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                                                My standard joke to myself as I pass Apna Bazaar is to pretend I was asleep and sputter into waking with maximum confusion (ala sleep apnea).

                                                                                Lame joke, I know, but it cracks me up.

                                                                                ciao

                                                                            2. I am cracking up reading this. I've lived in JH for two years and am getting just a LITTLE sick of cooking with Murray's organic chicken. It is a problem! Gee, with so many Chowhounds in the neighborhood, why doesn't someone open some little gourmet grocery/cafe place with bread and fish from outside the neighborhood and some decent homemade baked goods (butter, please)? Then we would have everything.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: KateC.

                                                                                If you're underdosing on local pastries with butter, see my posting above (excerpted below)

                                                                                Monika (80-10 37th Ave), a friendly, grandmotherly, authentic Polish butcher (I haven't tried their meats, but someone should) had the tiniest little crunchy sugar-dusted pastry twists, filled with a dab of jelly. Really good. They had a flavor I've never experienced before in this nabe...it made me disoriented for a minute until I could regroup and identify it. It was butter.

                                                                                1. re: KateC.

                                                                                  A few years back, I was making all butter cakes for a couple of businesses on 37th ave, nobody wanted cakes that cost a bit more and did'nt last for a few weeks, as mine had no preservatives...I made biscotti/brownies/madeleines etc..

                                                                                  1. re: ernie0716

                                                                                    Oh boy is this telling. Sad! So sad!

                                                                                2. P.S. With all the South Indians in the neighborhood, there's got to be some decent lamb for sale somewhere. Has anyone found any?

                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: KateC.

                                                                                    All the halal butchers in the neighborhood carry goat, AFAIK. There are a couple on 35th ave. For quality lamb you have to head to Astoria.

                                                                                    1. re: welle

                                                                                      Erm ... most of what S. Asian places serve as "lamb" is goat/kid anyhow. The halal butcher on 73rd Street between Roosevelt & 37th Avenue is excellent, but you must be specific about how you want the meat to be cut. Supposedly they are open 24 hours. There's a small selection of groceries from Bangladesh; look in the refrigerator for the better-quality gur (date/palm sugar). They have excellent frozen fish from Bangladesh, including elish (hilsa -- same as shad, unfortunately with the bones problem), pomfret & one called "roop chand" that is delicious. They also have decent chicken, which we've gotten there several times since moving here last year. You might be able to get the baby chickens there; the halal butcher in Astoria on 31st Street near Broadway sometimes has them, too. Again, be specific about how you want the chicken cut up (if you do) & whether or not you want to keep the skin (they will bag it up separately for you if you want, but make it very clear that you do want it -- note also that there are usually some stray feather quills to remove before cooking, as most people don't take the skins). They will give you the chicken's head/feet as well -- beaks are untrimmed, so am figuring they are probably not factory-farmed.

                                                                                      Somewhat OT, Patel Brothers on 74th St. has had gongura (a sour green) intermittently for the past few months -- have never seen it anywhere else in NY. Makes killer pickle/chutney. Co-worker from Hyderabad puts it in goat curry.

                                                                                      1. re: Ann Chaudhary

                                                                                        Thanks, I already have a Bangladeshi butcher in Woodside - I usually buy beef or chicken. And yes they remove the skin quite skillfully (I of course asked for the skin). Freshest tastiest chicken I ever had. There is also a live poultry place on 37th ave across from Sapori D'Ischia in Woodside - anyone been?

                                                                                        1. re: welle

                                                                                          You can get lamb from Dines Farms at Farm Spot, Thursdays from 4-8 at St. Mark's church on 82nd. All his meat is excellent. You may want to order ahead, as he sometimes runs out of items.
                                                                                          dinesfarms.net
                                                                                          farmspot.org

                                                                                          1. re: welle

                                                                                            where is this butcher?

                                                                                            1. re: Widmark

                                                                                              they're not a butcher shop, they're farmers who bring their wares down from several hours upstate to sell at farmers markets. sundays, they're at thejh farmers mkt @travers park. never had a bad experience with dines!

                                                                                              1. re: david sprague

                                                                                                I was responding to Welle's post above about the Bangladeshi butcher.

                                                                                                1. re: Widmark

                                                                                                  I go to the one on Roosevelt and 64th - the store looks like a bodega from the front. I haven't been since the previous owner sold the store a couple of months ago - but you can try. If you go, first ask them when they get their meat delivered and go on the day of the fresh delivery. With previous owners, the chicken used to sell fast - all gone within few hours of delivery. Again, I'm a big proponent of talking to the store owners - they are always happy to accommodate your requests to order this or that.
                                                                                                  Their beef (usually ribs) tends to be on a tough side, but very very tasty, just needs to be stewed (not goot for steaks).

                                                                                          2. re: Ann Chaudhary

                                                                                            Thanks, Ann, for the recommendations.

                                                                                        2. re: KateC.

                                                                                          Miss Masala commented above that the Fair Trade butcher has boneless lamb shoulder for curries:
                                                                                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35969...

                                                                                          I haven't had a chance to check it out but I'm going to try it on my next pass through the neighbourhood. What I am looking for is a place where I can buy a pound or two of decent boneless lamb stew without being saddled with a 3-4 pound half-leg.

                                                                                        3. I'm surprised it took over a week for someone on this thread to mention the Little India grocers (like Apna Bazaar and Sabzi Mandi). Their prices and quality on certain items, esp certain fruits and vegs, leave the competition (Trade Fair, Met, etc) in the dust. And Patel's is the place to go for huge sacks of rice or nuts.

                                                                                          I appreciate the fact that Trade Fair stays open pretty late, but I detest the lines there, especially after work in the early evening. Those long lines have me usually shopping elsewhere unless it's very late and I'm desperate.

                                                                                          As for fresh lamb - lamb is one of my favorite foods, so I was thrilled to move into a neighborhood where I thought I'd be able to get as much fresh lamb as I could possibly want. That enthusiasm was squelched around Eid this past fall when I chanced upon a delivery truck parked near 37th and 74th with literally dozens of slaughtered lamb carcasses thrown helter-skelter atop one another in the back. Talk about unhygienic. When it comes to meat and butchers, I'd really rather not know.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: racer x

                                                                                            Trade Fair is actually open a dandy 24 hours. And yes, after work lines are horrendous -- try to go a bit later and you'll enjoy the experience a lot more. As for the delivery truck, it is so not pleasant -- especially when they load a bunch of the carcasses into a supermarket cart and roll them across 37th Ave. One too many viewings has put me completely off buying meat from the butchers/shops near that corner (which is too bad since I live a block away).

                                                                                            1. re: racer x

                                                                                              My favorite sight in Jackson Heights is butchers riding a shopping cart down the middle of the street and turning from the left-hand turn lane as if they were a truck with the frozen solid skinless carcass of a whole goat (lamb?) rigid in the cart. Unwrapped, you understand. This is how they deliver the meat in Jackson Heights. I think I've seen this twice now. Gotta love it.

                                                                                              1. re: KateC.

                                                                                                I'd love it more if, early on in living here, I didn't come way too close to walking right into a hoof hanging out of a cart. A neighborhood tip: If you see the meat truck parked on 37th, always look straight ahead of you when you're wandering around.

                                                                                                1. re: jennsch

                                                                                                  I have been in JH for 1 year now. I was also living on the UES for a few years and Chelsea the rest of the time. I am not wild about the carcasses either, since I get to pass them all too often. Since I am right around the corner from Trade Fair, I am also happy about the expansion they just did. I am a real foodie and find that this area really needs a good fresh fish place and more seafood in general.

                                                                                            2. I'd like to know where are the best places to buy Italian sausage (to be cooked for pizzas, pasta sauces, etc) in the the JH, Elmhurst, Woodside, Corona corridor.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                                                Try Italian Farm (I believe) on the corner of 37th Ave and 80th. That's the best (only) Italian deli I know of around here. Cash only.

                                                                                                1. re: JH Jill

                                                                                                  they now take credit cards - hooray!

                                                                                                  1. re: JH Jill

                                                                                                    Thanks for the recommendation. I had some of their Italian sausage last night and it was delicious.
                                                                                                    (I also got various cold cuts from them that were nothing really very exciting.)

                                                                                                2. they're also now open on sundays -- hip hip hooray!

                                                                                                  1. I'd like to put in a good word for Pacific, as I think it is a fine place to shop for Asian snacks. I don't buy my fish there, but they have some other goodies.

                                                                                                    On my last trip:

                                                                                                    >Shin Shin seasoned anchivies with sesame seeds (Thailand)
                                                                                                    >A tub of seasoned, roasted broad beans (mmm)
                                                                                                    >2 bags of roasted peas, including a new brand that uses garlic which I can't wait to try
                                                                                                    >Various kinds of dried squid (including one with peppers)
                                                                                                    >A variety pack of various crunch/nut/honey sweets made out of peanuts, black sesame and white sesame.

                                                                                                    There are many other things I've yet to try, but want to, and of course you can get all the Pocky and rice crackers you want.

                                                                                                    Also, the drink selection is fantastic, and many of them are far less sweet than what we have in the US. I also go here for basics like soy sauce and Kokuho Rose rice.

                                                                                                    So, if you like Asian snacks, or want to try them, I'd give the Pacific a chance.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: ladymurasaki

                                                                                                      Have you ever looked for a bibimbap sauce there? I was at the Korean market at 72nd and Roosevelt today and asked for one, but the only one they showed me had msg in it (plus it seemed expensive at 5.29 for a bottle of red sauce) so didn't get it.

                                                                                                      1. re: ladymurasaki

                                                                                                        Where is Pacific, please? I'm not familiar with it.

                                                                                                        Thanks.

                                                                                                        1. re: JH Jill

                                                                                                          Pacific is the corner supermarket at Broadway & 75th, opposite the bus station. You can enter the store from either street.

                                                                                                          1. re: Helen F

                                                                                                            Yes, thanks Helen! Sorry to be so slow to respond.

                                                                                                            As for bibimbap sauce, I don't know if the Pacific has one without MSG, but I'm sure they have it. They seem to have nearly everything else.

                                                                                                      2. Most of the Asians I've spoken to (and even the chef at Lil Bistro 33 in Astoria) told me to go buy fish in Elmhurst. It's not too far from JH. Basically, you take the train to Elmhurst and get off and follow the trail of plastic shopping bags to a large Asian market. The fish there is pretty good and you'll see some very picky folks looking through everything. The sales staff is used to this. I think that the market is called something like "New York" market. Not sure. I've bought fish there and it isn't bad.

                                                                                                        I have to say, though, that my very favorite fish in NYC comes from Union Square. Saturdays we take our big bags into the city and buy from the fishermen there. Absolutely nothing beats their fish and scallops.

                                                                                                        Other than that, I've bought fish in California (wild salmon), vaccuum packed it, frozen it, and carried it all back to JH. But that probably is too elaborate for most!

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: ladymurasaki

                                                                                                          There us an Asian market called Top Line on Broadway In Elmhurst (near the Elmhurst stop) that has great fresh fish. They are very friendly too.

                                                                                                        2. The Trade Fair improvements are looking better and better -- I noticed that they even carry Jicama now (which I had been looking for a few months ago). However, has anyone else noticed that their prices are a little weird -- nice a cheap on some things and outrageous on others? Last night I was there and thought I would buy a few mushrooms to expand a dish I had already made. Since I'm going out of town I did not want a whole container -- just a handful. There was a container on sale for 99 cents for 8 oz. which in hindsight I should have gotten. Instead I grabbed a few -- like 5 -- from the loose bin and put them in a bag. There was no price listed but thought they would probably be reasonable. These are just white plain mushrooms, not the fancy shitake (etc) ones they also sell loose. When I got to the register the guy charged me $5.99 a pound!! So my 5 mushrooms would cost over $2. I asked him if that was really the price and he said yes, so I didn't take them.

                                                                                                          On the other hand I got some very fresh and crispy sweet red peppers for $1.49 a pound that I was very very happy with. The others in the neighborhood range from $1.49 to $2.49 but mostly they are not fresh at the other places I've seen them lately. And the Dannon yogurts are only 79 cents while they are at least 99 c. at C-town if not more.

                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: seneca

                                                                                                            good call on the pricing....when it's good, it's very very good (stonyfield farms yogurt was two for a dollar the other day, and it's not even approaching the expiration date).

                                                                                                            1. re: david sprague

                                                                                                              Stonyfield and Dannon yogurt...yechh (at any price)!

                                                                                                              The newly expanded health food store (at...what is it, 83 or something?) has Brown Cow, albeit not the low fat (which is just as good).

                                                                                                              ciao

                                                                                                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                                                                in the past few weeks i've been buying yogurt at the new health food store, and they do, in fact, have both the brown cow low fat and non fat. the issue with this place, at least as they start to figure out the demand, is in restocking...they probably just sold out but haven't been able to keep up..

                                                                                                                1. re: esteban

                                                                                                                  Not low fat VANILLA. Brown Cow Low Fat Vanilla is one of my supermarket holy grails, right up there with quarts of organic 2% milk, Crunchy Corn Bran cereal, and bagged/washed sugar snap peas.

                                                                                                                  If someone actually really "made a store just for me", it'd have all that stuff.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                                                                                                    this might take the fun out of the hunt, but did you ask them to carry that flavor? I brought a low fat lemon stonyfield yogurt to met food, requested they carry it, and like magic, they did.

                                                                                                                    1. re: amandaj

                                                                                                                      Yeah, I asked them to carry my fave Nature's Path cereal (they had display w/ a variety of their products standing in the aisle for weeks/months, but not my regular old Heritage multigrain flakes) and sure enough, they were on the shelf a few weeks later, and at a decent price. The Met is definitely improving.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Helen F

                                                                                                                        Does anyone know how late the health food store stays open during the week? I haven't made it there since they expanded...

                                                                                                                        1. re: jeangrand

                                                                                                                          7:30 pm (sometimes a bit earlier) Monday-Saturday, 6 pm on Sunday. They are also open to getting new stuff in, if you ask -- my neighbor begged for Ito En bottled tea & they now have at least three flavors of it. Great store. The organic 2% milk is pricey but tastes very rich.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jeangrand

                                                                                                                            Update: the health food store is now staying open weeknights & I think Saturdays until 8:30 pm. Sundays they still close earlier, around 6.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mshenna

                                                                                                                              there's actually a new health food/vitamin place on the corner of 37/77. walked by this AM before opening, so i couldn't get a good feel for the ratio of supplements to food, but since it's a good seven or so blocks closer to my house, i welcome the addition.

                                                                                                                              1. re: david sprague

                                                                                                                                So far the new place is a hodgepodge of this and that -- mostly vitamins, some deodorant, energy bars, and lots baby formula. I hope they eventually add some food into the mix but, so far, not so good on that front.

                                                                                                              2. re: seneca

                                                                                                                $6 per lb. sounds about right for mushrooms. Since they're light. Fancy wild ones etc. run something like $17/lb. The ones in a container were probably pushing their prime time that's why on sale.

                                                                                                              3. i'm 99 percent positive i saw a 7:30 close time when i was in there last week. the time was scribbled in sharpie over a previously listed set of hours, though, so i may have read it wrong.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: david sprague

                                                                                                                  David (and others), please try to get in habit of hitting the "reply" link on a specific message rather than just using the big box below the thread (I wish we didn't even have this box...it's so tempting to just dump stuff there).

                                                                                                                  For those reading along, David is replying to jeangrand, above (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35969...)

                                                                                                                2. for really good spanish specialities ( manchego, chorizo, boquerones, olive oil, etc go to de Espana on N Blvd & 87thst he is a wholesaler and has a small shop in the front....walks around on saturdays serving wine and has a smattering of nibbles out...you'll go in for some olive oil and before you know it you've spent $50....but worth it.....

                                                                                                                  1. Is it just me or does it seem like the produce at Trade Fair is getting worse and the produce at the Met is getting better?

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: seneca

                                                                                                                      seneca - I was just thinking the same thing. When i started going to Trade Fair a couple of months ago, I was thrilled with their selection of organic produce. For the last few weeks they've been carrying very limited products, and I was going to bring it up to a manager. If they decide not to stock those things that I was buying, I'll go to The Met instead. Shame.

                                                                                                                    2. The Butcher in Trade Fair (37th ave & 76th St.) is fantastic. His name is Saed (sorry for the spelling) but he is a real gentleman and a fantastic butcher. Great meat and friendly service....they also have great croissants, but reheat them to make them flaky......

                                                                                                                      1. Absolutely go to Ottomanelli & Sons , 61-05 Woodside Ave., Woodside. I have been shopping there for over 15 years. They often have some nicely aged steaks, Bell & Evans chickens, and I would only buy hamburger from them. Their prices are not any more than in the supermarkets and the meat is so much fresher. One time WCBS was reviewing butcher stores and Ottomanelli was the only one that PASSED with flying colors! It was certified as the cleanest! I like to feel secure buying my meat there with all those e-coli problems of supermarket meats. I saw on PBS "Table for 2 Steves" that they supply Kurt Gutenbrunner of Wallse in Greenwich Village. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycmg/nyctvod...
                                                                                                                        For groceries and especially fresh vegetables, try Woodside Supermarket (AKA U-Mart) 56-02 31st Ave. Woodside; cheapest prices on milk, eggs and good selection of Chinese vegetables. They have a parking lot in the rear.

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: byonpasta

                                                                                                                          Ottomanelli's now has a different facade. it has me worried. It says ottomanelli's bbq or soemthing like that. can anyone make me feel better about this?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jeffsayyes

                                                                                                                            It looks like it's not totally permanent, like it's a bunch of banners. All about how everything they have it ALL AMERICAN. Maybe put up in time for July 4th or the street fair where they do burgers? Maybe a marketing attempt to stand out in a time and borough where people get excited by exotic/foreign foods? Can't imagine it reflects a change in product.

                                                                                                                          2. re: byonpasta

                                                                                                                            The Ottomanelli on the PBS show is a different butcher. There are several different Ottomanellis around NYC and they all claim to be independent from the other shops, though they are owned by cousins, etc.

                                                                                                                            But yes, Ottomanelli (Woodside) has good meat, but pay attention to the price charged. I've been jacked around on several occasions - when the price quoted over the phone, or when I placed an advance order in person, was not honored.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Joe MacBu

                                                                                                                              i agree. ottomanelli's in woodside provides a pretty good product, but their prices aren't really that great compared to the other small butchers around queens and they do seem often to play little games with the prices, which i find annoying. i tend to go there only when i'm looking for something that would otherwise involve a long schlep to some out of the way place, esp when i'm pressed for time. but their product isn't always superlative and their prices are consistently higher than the other quality butchers in queens. the butcher on roos in woodside across the street from esparks coffee, the butcher block in sunnyside, any of the arab butchers in astoria, the argentine and columbian butchers in jackson heights, all are equal or better quality and are all better priced. but if you want your product with a little bit of "hey, buddy, we're the real american butchers around here and we sell real american product!" and if you don't mind them sometimes then screwing you slightly on the price, this is definitely the place to go. also, beware that because they don't always move a lot of product they often freeze and then defrost their meat. my sense of the place is that the place suffers a bit from being an old school queens place that hasn't quite changed with the shifting demographic of queens and has, as a result, lost a lot of it's traditional clientele to aging but still hasn't figured out a business model that can accomodate the new queens. that said, i've bought some nice pieces of meat there, but i often feel that they are kind of defensive and panicky about their business, which leads them to do annoying things like cut bigger pieces than you want, give you fattier or tougher pieces than you'd like, misquote prices etc. maybe they act differently with their regulars, but i'm not inclined to become a regular at a place that acts that way to me when i go in, albeit irregularly, and spend $30-50 at a time. caveat emptor.

                                                                                                                              1. re: yussdov

                                                                                                                                Wow. You summed up my thoughts about that Ottomanelli's exactly. I tend to go to the butcher down the street, CJ Prime Meats for my needs, as they carry many cuts preferred by latinos, as well as house-made Italian sausages (probably not the best, but good enough). I'll go to Ottomanelli's occasionally or in a pinch, but it's not my first choice when I can plan ahead.