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Recs for upcoming weekend please!!!

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Hi all,

I am coming this weekend to NYC from Canada and hoping to have a few recs. I am staying in Upper Midtown but will have a car to get around if I need to venture into the boroughs or NJ.

1. I want a really good thai restaurant that has fantastic green and panang curries, as well as other standard fare. Price range 15-20$ per person
2. Indian restaurant either in Manhattan or Little India in NJ (Iselin, Oak Tree Road or other) that has phenomenal butter chicken and/or good south indian food. Do these chains exist near NYC - Saravana Bhavan, Udupi Palace and Woodlands? Which is strongly recommended?
3. I would love to browse in large ethnic markets, specifically:
a. japanese grocery that carry drinks like Pocari, milk tea and Aquarius drinks
b. indian grocery store
c. mexican grocery store to get instant Cafe con leche (Nescafe)
4. Lastly, I will drop by Trader Joe's in Union Square. Is there a time when it is less busy on Sunday? I don't want to wait in line for 1 hour and have to shop in a people jungle.

Thanks in advance and look forward to great chowing in the Big Apple!

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  1. Re: Indian grocery in Manhattan. Definitely Kalustyan's, on Lex, near 28th St. Amazing variety of items.

    http://www.kalustyans.com

    In that same area (aka "Curry Hill"), you should go to Saravaanas, the Southern Indian vegetarian restaurant, on the corner of Lex & 26th St. It's *not* related to Saravana Bhavan, which is diagonally across the street and, from what I've heard, it not nearly as good.

    http://www.saravaanas.com

    Devi, on 18th St., b/t 5th & B'way, serves some of the most superb Indian food anywhere in a space with unique, elegant decor.

    http://www.devinyc.com

    For info about Indian restaurants on Oak Tree Road, in Iselin, post on the Mid-Atlantic board.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. Anybody else for the thai restaurants and japanese and mexican grocery stores?

      1. Thai - Joya in Cobble Hill (Brooklyn) - excellent Thai and cheap prices

        1. For Thai, and I know some people here will figuratively shoot me for saying so, I really like SEA in Williamsburg (Brooklyn). The food is very very good, and very reasonably priced, plus the space itself is really dramatic and gorgeous (think old warehouse, very stylishly re-fitted, with an indoor reflecting pool and a 15 foot tall Buddha).

          There is an excellent Japanese grocery store (superstore, really) in Edgewater, NJ called Mitsuwa. It's on River Road, and if you cross the George Washington Bridge and exit for Fort Lee, it's about 5 - 10 minutes drive from there. There's a much smaller Japanese specialty store, more like a boutique, across from Serendipity's (60th St, b/t 2nd & 3rd Ave) near Bloomingdale's. You can get ceramic sushi knives right next to Japanese candies and other snacks.

          For Mexican grocery stores, not sure if you'll find large ones, but you'll find little Mexican stores all over East Harlem. Start on 3rd Ave/Lexington around 96th and travel north all the way up to 125th St, and they're all over the place. My local Bravo grocery store on 181st Street and Broadway has all kinds of Mexican products, I'm never at a loss where to find sour oranges, or posole, or jarred mole sauce, or cotija cheese, or arepas, or Abuelita chocolate, etc etc. Not sure why that is, but it is. There's another grocery on St. Nicholas and 183rd, don't remember the name, that has a HUGE selection of Mexican and other Latin products. I go there to stock up on Mexican chorizo, dried chilies, etc. I've noticed that the number of Mexican residents around me has increased of late, and that could explain why corn husks for tamales are not an exotic item in the supermarket. Haha.

          1. I used to go to TJ's about one hour before closing time and it was pretty empty. Of course, there's less stuff to choose from, but that's a risk I'm willing to take so I don't have to elbow my way to the fridge case...

            For Japanese groceries, you might wanna try the JASMart. There's one in Morningside Heights, but one downtown too, IIRC.

            1 Reply
            1. re: piccola

              Correct. There's a JASMart on St. Marks Place (extension of 8th St./Astor Place) just west of 2nd Av. on the north side of the street. The address is 133 2nd Av. Also nearby, on Stuyvesant St., part of a block north of St. Marks and a bit east of 3rd Av., is Sunrise Mart, which is on the 2nd floor of 29 3rd Av. (take the elevator).