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Foodstuff to bring back?

  • m

Hey guys - I will be visiting NYC in Feb and was wondering what foodstuff you would recommend bringing back?

I am interested in things that I cannot get in Los Angeles and in Europe (West).

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks!

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  1. pastrami from Katz's
    maybe some bagels
    Everything else you really can get in CA or in western Europe

    9 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Katz's pastrami available online:

      https://www.katzdeli.com/shopping/ind...

      H&H Bagels (and probably others also):

      http://store.nexternal.com/hhbagels/b...

      Even Nathan's hot dogs:

      http://shop.nathansfamous.com/hot-dog...

      No reason to buy anything in NYC :)

      1. re: c oliver

        Kossar's bialys...unless you can get those on line too?

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          Yep.

          http://www.kossarsbialys.com/

          This could prove useful for ME as I'm running low on bagels and bialys in my freezer and not sure when we'll get back to NYC.

          1. re: c oliver

            You can order fish from Russ & Daughters on line too.

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              This could become very expensive, couldn't it??? But where I live, speciality food items are extremely hard to come by. And I refuse to eat a bagel or bialy that didn't come from NYC.

              1. re: c oliver

                I'm sure the shipping is less expensive than a plane ticket...

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Seems like bagels and bialys are the way to go - any suggestions on transport? Is freezing a good option? (Of course, I will eat as many there as I can - I heard *fresh* is the key.)

                  Also, what hours would you recommend getting to these places - I assume that they have different hours every day for fresh batches?

                  Thanks!

                  1. re: MHC

                    You can order Kossar's bialys on line so no need to carry them. Same for H&H bagels. Not sure about Ess-A-Bagel but that's another good one. The good bagel places make bagels frequently - doesn't matter when you go.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      Sure, the shipping on all those things is cheaper than a plane ticket, but if you have the plane ticket (ESPECIALLY if its paid by work), the extra bag charge is significantly less than shipping, and you get to have the interpersonal connection with your purveyors - I LOVED every minute, second I spent in R&D - as an experience, it might just be worth a plane ticket!

    2. I'm working on a report about a recent trip I took - I spent MONTHS combing this board, and packed an extra suitcase. It came home filled with: Kossar's bialys and bagels, the Pickle Guy's half sour and sour pickles and sauerkraut, Russ & Daughters bagels, mini flats, half sour and sour pickles, lox, nova, sable, chopped liver and whitefish/salmon salad, Katz's pastrami (and pickles), Yonah Schimmel's mushroom, blueberry cheese and cheese pretzel knishes, Cuchifritos' alcapurria, yucca and arroz amarillo, four slices of pizza from Artichoke basilles, dumplings and sesame pancake from Prosperity Dumpling, lamb burgers and Zha Jiang noodles from Xi'an famous foods, leftover apple kimchee and one pork bun from Momofuku Ssam...and I just couldn't figure out how to get that amazing christmas borscht from Veselka packed up safely enough. Sigh....

      15 Replies
      1. re: saticoy

        How did you keep things cool in your suitcase?

        1. re: c oliver

          I packed an insulated bag - they went from my hotel room fridge (booked the room based on its having a fridge!) into an insulated bag, into a suitcase, into the frigid NY air and under an airplane. I will admit to some pickle juice leakage, otherwise they survived a four hour flight no problem!

        2. re: saticoy

          Yes, tell us how you got all those across state/international borders!

          1. re: MHC

            No international borders this time - did you see the story (NPR?) about chefs bringing back salumi taped to their legs?! I have done my fair share of meat smuggling, but there were no checkpoints from Newark to Austin.

            1. re: saticoy

              International transit (15-20 hours) - meat works well if they are either frozen or smoked and put into insulated bags; I've tried and tested this and they have worked for me. Haven't seen the NPR clip, but, um, I am not at all surprised by this :)

                1. re: kathryn

                  Come to think of it, I saw it on Serious Eats, which I see got it from the WSJ. Off topic - Kathryn - I walked around with a print-out of your rec's for Otto for 5 days but never made it...all your posts were a goldmine of information, so thank you.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Thanks Kathryn - that was a fun read! It has not been too strict in Norway so I have managed to get most things back; including fresh fruits...etc.

            2. re: saticoy

              Enlighten on Pickle Guy's half sour and sour pickes and sauerkraut please.

              1. re: MHC

                I was fortunate enough to spend the last week doing side by side comparisons of the pickles from Russ and Daughters, the Pickle Guy, and Katz's. TPG's had a slightly more complex, lighter taste, but for crunch and pure amazingness of flavor - R&D will haunt me. Not sure if Katz does their own, but they were sliced and just didn't compare. TPG's sauerkraut is fine, but not worth packing, IMHO. R&D's pickles ARE - next time I'm bringing a cooler.

                1. re: saticoy

                  Thanks for the tip about R&D's pickles - we've only picked up a few bottles of Rick's Picks and they were okay.

                  1. re: MHC

                    Rick's Picks vary by what type it is -- my favorite are the asparagus. Everything else has just been OK.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      That's been my impression so far as well. They aren't bad, but there isn't something to lit up your buds to go 'wow'. Will try the asparagus if I can manage to get it.

            3. A couple of MMRuth's lists may help:

              http://www.chow.com/profile/10985/lists

              I haven't looked at them in a while but if she didn't mention DiPalo's in Little Italy, that's definitely worth a stop.

              18 Replies
              1. re: c oliver

                There is nothing at DiPalo's that can't be purchased in Italy. the poster wants things that are not available in California or western Europe. That's a very short list. Good smoked fish is not hard to find in California, good sauerkraut and pickles - nowhere better than in Germany, bialy and bagels might be worth it. Chopped liver is easy to find in LA, latin American food is abundant in LA. Pizza in Italy is better than anything we have here. Asian food abounds in LA and in European cities...

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  Thanks gutsofsteel - I suspect that the list might be short - but I am thankful for special regional takes on things that might be same but different :)

                  1. re: gutsofsteel

                    I would contend that Russ & Daughters has better smoked fish than anything I found in LA... and I am very proud of the foodie offerings in LA.

                    1. re: glutton

                      Russ & Daughters can be ordered on line.

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        I have had smoked fish of different kinds many places, CA and NY included, and nothing, NOTHING prepared me for the superiority of R&D's lox, nova, and new to me, sable. Spectacular, and I think part of my joy in tasting them had to do with watching the guy hand-slice the fish so thin I could read through it. Discussing the different salmon....which of their many flavored cream cheeses he recommends. Without entering the store, I might never have discovered the mini flat bagels - something that I consider a discovery on a par with penicillin - for what ails ya.

                        1. re: saticoy

                          Yes, I second that: sable at R&D's are amazing. We also had the white fish and the smokiness shined through very clearly. The interaction with R&D people is certainly worth the trip.

                          We have amazing salmon in all forms in Norway :)

                          Will definitely look for those mini flat bagels when we're there - haven't seen those last time.

                          1. re: MHC

                            Oh Norway! My husband is from Moss, and I have visited many times, including getting to visit the amazing fish market in Bergen. I have enjoyed many kinds of Norwegian salmon, fresh and røkt laks - certainly a standard bearer! If you haven't had the half and full sour pickles from R&D, your whole concept of sylt agurk will be redefined. (Some of my past international meat smuggling included fenalår! )

                            1. re: saticoy

                              ah, the 'smell' of Moss :)

                              I am still very partial to American pickles (sigh..the taste of home). Are the half sour pickels from R&D the sparkly looking green ones and the full sour the more full color ones?

                              1. re: MHC

                                Mmmm...love that Moss aroma! Yes, your descriptions of the pickles are right, and I'm telling you - there is something....some mysterious wondrous taste to those pickles....both styles are incredible.

                                1. re: saticoy

                                  We will try it there and see which ones we prefer. Did you request special 'packing' or did R&D pack it in plastic containers?

                                  1. re: MHC

                                    My guy made sure that the package would go in the bag I was checking in (not carry-on), then filled a quart container with pickles, about 1/3 full of juice, and took it to the back to "seal' it. The plastic seal was similar to many commercially packed items in plastic containers, but I'm sure that was the culprit to my newly sour suitcase. Enjoy!

                                    1. re: saticoy

                                      I will try to think of an alternative way to transport them then. Thanks for the tip!

                                      1. re: MHC

                                        I always pack a few sizes of ziploc bags. Then when I buy pickles or the like, I put the container inside the ziploc bag. That does not stop a bit of juice from leaking out of the container, but it all goes into the bag, thereby saving my luggage. I used this technique a lot after a recent trip to Paris, when we brought home about 40 pounds of food and it all got home in fine form.

                                        1. re: glutton

                                          Great idea! I usually do that as well, but I'm thinking that perhaps with pickle things, it might make sense to put them into the ziplock first and then into the containers. All then into insulated bags of course. Thanks again!

                    2. re: gutsofsteel

                      granted i only had pizza in rome, it wasnt better than pizza in NYC

                      1. re: thew

                        There are plenty of mediocre pizzerias in Italy, just like everywhere.

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          no doubt. thats why a blanket statement like "Pizza in Italy is better than anything we have here" doesn't ring true

                          1. re: thew

                            Good pizza in italy is better than anything we have here. Mediocre food is mediocre food no matter where you are.

                    1. re: coasts

                      Hi Coasts - what makese these peppadews better? Are they in cans or is it from the deli section?

                      1. re: MHC

                        do you get peppadews by you? i know they're not available in a lot of places. Chelsea Market has the ones shown here: http://www.peppadew.com/homepage/. Fairway uptown has some from the deli section.

                        1. re: coasts

                          Thanks Coasts - I am able to get peppadews by me, although, as you rightly noted, they aren't exactly easily available. I thought that Chelsea Market does some wild version that I should try :)

                          Thanks for pointing it out though!

                    2. While it can be ordered on line, the one place l stop at since l no longer live in Manhattan is Kaluystans around 29th and Lex. Better spice shop than you can ever hope for. Just to wander and find the fourth of Turkish peppers that you never see elsewhere or other oddities make it a must stop for me.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Thanks for that! I have been wondering about spice shops and it's great to know a place that we can wander and find 'new' spices. Have you seen rigani there? How do you find the 'freshness' of the spices? Are they usually sold whole or grounded?

                        1. re: MHC

                          They have both whole and pre-ground spices, often sold in variously sized packets as well as 2 oz. small jars. Definitely lots of more obscure stuff. Haven't noticed a problem with freshness -- I guess their turnover is very high?

                          1. re: kathryn

                            That sounds great! Just to be on the safe side, I would probably get wholes.

                          2. re: MHC

                            They have Greek oregano both on and off the stalk, if I remember correctly. You aren't going to find herbs or spices much fresher than theirs in NYC.

                          3. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            Just FYI, you can order from Kalustyan's on line too.

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              I love Kalustyan's but their online ordering process drives me insane and the site is poorly designed.

                              I put a bunch of spices into my cart and it said shipping is either $17.95 for FedEx ground or TBD for any other method!

                              1. re: kathryn

                                That is a definitely a kink they need to work out. Let me just ask this more generally to everyone: do you shop online for food items on a regular basis or do you do it when you're desperately craving and needing things?

                                1. re: MHC

                                  i do most of my shopping online with freshdirect

                                  1. re: MHC

                                    Only for specialty items (really only sour cherry concentrate come to think of it), NYC is one giant grocery store - specialty shops from every imaginable culture, food shopping is a joy - and you can find almost everything here.

                                    1. re: MHC

                                      Regular groceries/product: FreshDirect once a week + runs to Whole Foods 1-2x a month
                                      Asian groceries: luckily I live right by Sunrise Mart, etc. and pick up stuff whenever I run out
                                      Specialty Italian/French/etc. items: I work late so if the stores that carry them don't stay open late-ish on weekdays and/or are on the west side, I often order 8-10 of what I want online, assuming shipping is reasonable