Thanks for the tips, you two!
I did a bit of grocery shopping - Russian black bread on Bath Ave - "New York" something is the name of the store. Lots of bread, dark ryes, sunflower, cranberry-walnut etc.
and Guatemalan snacks another block down on Bath.
Frank and Sal's *is* the right name of the salumeria on 18th Ave
that dim sum/buffet place is my default lunch every day (i work practically next door). i wouldn't recommend it. then again, i'm veg and they are limited that way. still, everything tastes like it is cooked in the same manner with the same sauce. however, they DO have some very interesting items you don't see elsewhere involving tendons and other 'parts.' also, some off-the-beaten path seafood offerings.
there's a huge great asian market one block south from that stop on 86th that sells amazing seafood and fish. lots of it live -- huge variety -- and really inexpensive. produce is very good there, too. lotsa asian-centric veggies with quick turnover, so it's all in good shape. and, if you are into imported frozen and canned items you don't normally see around, this is a great place to explore. refrigerated and frozen buns, both savory and sweet; tofu-based stuff, refrigerated and canned and dried; butcher in the back.
other than that, there is a very good italian market (latticeria? salumeria?) on 18th and 81st with nice cheeses, meats, breads, imported items, butcher, and prepared foods. i want to say frank and sal's, but this may be inaccurate.
I believe that's 18th Avenue and 86th street-- there is a large dim sum restaurant on that corner (East Ocean?) that looks intriguing although I've never been. In the 70s on 18th Avenue (not very far) there is Gino's Focacceria where you can get all kinds of yummy southern Italian specialties (the panelle special is very good, they also have vastedda, lots of fish dishes, rice balls, etc.). Across the street from Gino's is Villabate for Italian pastries. It's a bit of a walk from the subway, but you'll need to walk off the lunch anyhow...