Queens (mainly Astoria) Market Tour
I'm taking my mom on a tour of cool food markets in Astoria and surrounding neighborhoods and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions. We like just browsing around cool food places but if anyone has any tips on specific things to buy that you might not find unless you knew to look for it, let me know. Here is what I have so far:
Titan and Artopolis for greek items
Rio Bonito for Brazilian stuff: my mom had heard from a brazilian coworker about the coffee...anything else to look out for?
Trade Fair on 30th ave: just to marvel at the diversity per square foot ratio
Sorriso's-because the guys who work there are ridiculously nice and they carry good stuff
Cassinelli's- I haven't been but sounds like a cool place for fresh pasta
Rose and Joe's-maybe we'll stop for a sicilian slice
Laziza Bakery- for konafa and middle eastern pastries
My mom mentioned hearing about a sunnyside bakery that makes great babka. I'm guessing from searching on the boards that it might be Nita's Roumanian bakery on Greenpoint ave. can anyone verify that?
Han Ah Rum market on woodside ave for fresh tofu and biji
Patel Bros- huge indian supermarket
thought about one of those colombian bakeries: villa colombia, miracali, la nueva, etc. any tips? or we could just go to casa del pan in astoria
The Patel Bros store in JH is not that huge. There are also Apna Bazaar and Subzi Mandi (37th Ave and 73rd St) for South Asian groceries (they're also less touristy than Patel Bros). If you're in JH, you might as well check out Pacific Supermarket (Roosevelt/Broadway/75th St). If you're willing to go to Elmhurst, there are two big Chinese markets, Hong Kong Supermarket and New York Supermarket. But you might not necessarily find them cool to hang out at, depending on your persuasion.
In Woodside, you can also check out the little delis on 61st St that sell Irish/English goods (mostly candy).
Get the yogurt from the deli counter at Titan. Cheaper and better than Fage brand.
Rosario's Deli at the Ditmars stop for Italian products. Warm fresh mozzarella on the counter.
EuroMart on 31st St, south of 30th Av for Eastern European stuff. I find the place kinda depressing though.
Greek House Foods on 30th Ave at 32nd St. Several hounds love their homemade yogurt; I've found it to be pleasantly tart, yet sometimes unpleasantly grainy. I get my salt-packed anchovies from here.Homemade tzaziki and taramasolata. It's a very small space.
K&T Meats on Broadway and 37th St for an old school butcher with sawdust on the floor and a booth where you pay.
Thessalikon Bakery (Greek) on 31st Av and 33rd St for their kourabiedes and baklava. They mostly do wholesale I think, so the storefront is small with a limited selection and odd hours.
Muncan Food on Broadway/43rd for pig products, smoked and cured in house.Eastern European leaning. Some EE groceries and candy also.
Rio Bonito has an area in the back that serves some Brazilian food (mostly snacks).
If you're going to Laziza, you might as well check out the several North African/MidEastern shops on Steinway in the high 20s.There's a Moroccan-French bakery near 25th Av where I've gotten excellent croissants.
re: Joe MacBu
Rio Bonito's pretty good for Brazilian imports and has a great community-center feel, but their buffet in the back by the butcher counter isn't nearly as good as Brasilianville Cafe a few blocks west on 34th Ave. Likewise, their fresh bread supplier is dismal. Stock up on catupiry, manioc flour, suco de caju, etc. there, but get rolls (and a buffet lunch) elsewhere.
While I think a visit to Nita's Bakery would be a very good thing, their babka is not what it used to be anymore although it's (barely) ok - rumor has it that their babka baker is now baking for Crystal Bakery in Ridgewood and you can get it in Sunnyside at Massis on 43rd Ave. (which would be a nice place to visit anyway).
Now - the babka I'm talking about is a loaf of sweet bread filled with a walnut/cocoa mixture or poppy seeds or sometimes turkish delight, called cozonac in Romanian. At Nita's you'll find all the variations, Massis has only the walnut kind and also carries packaged russian babka. I don't know any bakery in Sunnyside that makes it fresh.
So in Sunnyside I would list Nita's, Massis and while you're there, the middle-eastern (lebanese I think) shop on the corner of 43rd ave and 43rd street. They have some amazing pastries but I don't know where they come from, definitely not made on the premises.
I second Muncan in Astoria, which I rate at the moment #1 in the city for smoked and cured meats. It's the meat lover's candy store.
K&T Meats were a huge disappointment at my last visit there, about a month ago. I'm sure they changed ownership as it's a pale shadow of what it used to be. I found an almost empty store - I was in and out in 10 sec.