Mexican Shopping in Manhattan
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.
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!
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.
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.
120 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002
Take the 6 train to 116th. Walk east. There are a number of small, cheap grocers in the area specializing in mexican goods.
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.