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Mexican Shopping in Manhattan

Folks:

Does anyone have a recommendation for Mexican shopping in Manhattan -- and, if not, one of the other boroughs? I'm specifically looking for fresh epazote and dried Poblano -- actually Ancho -- chilies. (Fall is here and it's Diana Kennedy time chez Foodmonk.)

There's gotta be something around.

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  1. I imagine someone else will know of a great all around Mexican source, but I know that fresh epazote is available at the Union Square Greenmarket. I just recently bought some on a Saturday, a big wad of it, ($1, I think) from a farmer whose stall is on the west side of the park. Sorry, I don't recall the name, but they sell a lot of varieties of basil and other herbs, as well as many root vegetables and peppers, fennel, tomatoes, etc.

    Many farmers at the Greenmarket also have fresh Poblanos. I think the Bowery Whole Foods has dried Poblanos. (They do not have epazote - I checked.) Happy cooking!

    1 Reply
    1. re: eastvillgirl

      Thanks!! I will definitely go down on Saturday and look for that stall!

    2. Manhattan Fruit Exchange has anchos and a good selection of chilies. I'm nearly positive I've seen epazote there, but if not, they have dried at Western Beef and Associated.

      1. I think you might also want to check out the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side. There is an excellent selection of dried chiles of many varieties--pretty rare in New York--as well as some fresh poblanos, habaneros, jalapenos, and sometimes others. I've also seen cotija and other Mexican cheeses that aren't so easy to find (although I sometimes see them at Fairway). There's a good selection of spices, tamal wrappers, masa harina, tomatillos, and other stuff you could use.

        Since you say you're willing to investigate outer bouroughs, I recommend making a field trip to Sunset Park in Brooklyn. There are a lot of Mexican people living there and a lot of little grocery stores and taquerias. Check out Fifth Avenue in the 20s through the 50s. It's worth the trip if you are an aficionado.

        Thanks for the tip about epazote. I've also heard it grows wild all over Red Hook--though I haven't scavenged for it.

        -----
        Essex
        120 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002

        1. Take the 6 train to 116th. Walk east. There are a number of small, cheap grocers in the area specializing in mexican goods.

          1. Thanks, folks ... I'm going to try out the Green Market on Saturday and also hit Essex St. Market one of these next days. If I don't find anything, I'll go uptown and out to Brooklyn and report back for the curious.

            1. Also, there's a tiny Mexican grocery store on Avenue A and 13th Street called Zaragosa. They have a lot of dried things, only fresh in season. Lots of Mexican brand canned goods, too, and $2 tacos to go. Yum.

              4 Replies
              1. re: tatiana_nyc

                I just stopped by ... Epazote was $2.50 for a little packet, dried! Desperate, however, I bought some. Everything on the shelf there just seemed really expensive. Three dried anchos for $2.50!! Incredible.

                1. re: foodmonk

                  That's a lot cheaper than what I paid for five dried anchos at Grace's Marketplace this summer - so count your blessings! I was lucky come across a great Mexican market in New Rochelle a couple of weekends ago and loaded up on epazote and all sorts of dried peppers that I have no idea what to do with!

                  1. re: foodmonk

                    This may sound odd, but there is a C-Town on Crescent Ave. in the Bronx (near Fordham Rd. and Arthur Ave.) that sells many Mexican vegetables and cooking products. I'm not sure about the two products you mentioned, but if you aren't too far away, you could check it out. The area seems to have a decent Mexican population, so there might also be some smaller grocers nearby.

                    1. re: merrymc

                      Alas, C Town is the most unbearable place imaginable. At least the one near me, at 116th/Frederick Douglass is godawful--horrible quality produce at obscene prices. Makes me mad.

                      Ditto the Manhattan Produce/Chelsea Market rec--though I didn't pay attention to prices, they seemed to have a good selection.

                      Even better than that--pepper heaven is at a tiny hole in the wall Mexican grocery up in the Bronx, near the 205th St D train stop. It's called Los 3 Hermanos Panaderia. 3197 Bainbridge Ave. 718 437 2250. They've got huge bins of gorgeous dried chiles, for between $6.50 and 7/lb. Given how little they weigh, I ended up paying next to nothing for more chiles than I know what to do with. Staff is Spanish speaking only, and very friendly, though not particularly helpful at guiding a clueless chile novice like me.

                2. For anyone who might be curious ... I struck the mother lode of ancho chilidom this afternoon in Washington Heights at the Mexican deli on the Broadway between 158th and 159th. I believe it is called La Victoria. Fifteen anchos in a bag for $3.50. They also had large bags of de arbol chilies and what looked like guajillos.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foodmonk

                    Thanks for the tip! I had a good supply left over from when Kitchen Market closed (I bought out half the store!) but am running low.

                  2. For imports, check out Bright Food Shop in Chelsea.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gastrodoc

                      Bright Food Shop/Kitchen Market closed