Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Favorite New York Shop

I haven't been to many places in the world, but I think New York is a foodie's paradise. Trivia (that I picked off of a Snapple cap, so don't hold me to this): there are more French restaurants in New York than there are in Paris. This says a lot about the city's appetite, right? Moreover, I think all cuisines and permutations thereof are represented in New York. Just go to yelp and you can search for any restaurant. Lastly, New York is a great source of any ingredient. Balut? Check! Tanglad? Check! Caviar? Check! Tabun-tabun...well...maybe when Kinilaw Bisaya takes over ceviche and sashimi as the raw fish of choice of New York diners.

Which brings me to International Foods.

Ignore the eccentric spelling.
The New York terminus for NJ Transit, which I take to commute to and from work in the city, is the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It can get very busy at times and having to avoid crowds on 8th Avenue can be a headache. One time, I detoured through 9th Avenue and discovered many good places on the walk to the Terminal, among which are Atomic Wings (good product. About $10 for 10 wings, a  soda, carrot and celery sticks), and Esposito's Meat Shop, which merits a separate blog. 

I like the Divisoria vibe of this store. Hanging from the ceiling racks are dried herbs and pans.
Then I discovered International Foods (sorry, it has no website). It's basically a Greek deli that sells more than just Greek staples. The staff is Mexican, and we call each other primo, and on my first visit, I saw a huge pail of pulpo (boiled octopus tentacles) on display. Then there was a customer trying out this pinkish dip with what looked like bizcocho (just don't say that word to a Mexican woman or you'll be thought of as crass). My primo offered me a toast with the dip, and...I was in heaven. I have been buying their taramasalata (also spelled taramosalata) ever since. What is it, you ask? It's a paste with roe as the main ingredient, with potato, onion, lemon and olive oil. International Foods' version is so good that Greek restaurants in the city don't bother making their own and just buy from International Foods in bulk. What makes its version special? The addition of seltzer water, rendering it moussey and light. While used mostly as a dip, the Pinoy in me tried it as taramasilog. Yes. I mashed it into rice with a poached egg.

My favorite olives in the store. Being a suki, I am charged only $6 each time I buy these
Besides my favorite pulpo and taramasalata, this shop is a wealth of cured meats, preserves, halwa, spices, sweets, breads, herbs, rice, coffees, olives, cheeses. Name it, and they usually have it. The Greek owner looks masungit but is actually very friendly. If you're a suki, then you get a discount or an extra ounce or two on your purchase (most stuff is sold by the pound). It was one of my primos who suggested using smoked paprika with my pulpo and I'm now a smoked parika fan.

One of my primos slicing my order of prosciutto


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If you like to eat well, live well, listen well and have the patience to go through my kilometric but hopefully entertaining blogs, then this is the page for you. I chose EATERSHIP because it sounds like "leadership," and because if you jumble it up, it could also read "hip eaters." Eat and read on!