Monday, April 12, 2010

Saturday Shopping

The weather was just gorgeous here this weekend, so we decided to head down to the Lower East Side for a bit of gourmet shopping. I was lucky enough to have a 20% coupon for some of the shops in the Essex Street Market, courtesy of Tasting - and we put them too good use!

If you haven't yet heard of Tasting Table, I urge you to take a look. On the main page, you can sign up for free daily "Epicurean Emails" that highlight everything you need to know about food, dining, wine, and cocktails in your area. There is a national edition as well as specific editions for: New York, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Naturally, we needed to fortify ourselves for the shopping excursion - so our first stop was The Meatball Shop on Stanton Street. The Meatball Shop has been getting a lot of press lately and, I'll be honest, I was a bit skeptical ... we all know how picky I am about meatballs. Happily, The Meatball Shop was everything I hoped it would be and more!

We chose to have our meatballs in the form of "sliders", so we could sample a couple of different offerings. I had one "Classic Beef" paired with "Classic Tomato Sauce" and one chicken meatball, paired with "Spicy Meat Sauce". Both were outstanding, but oddly enough, I preferred the chicken. Surprisingly, it had more flavor, perhaps due to the spicy meat sauce. The husband also had a classic beef and one "Spicy Pork" paired with "Parmesan Cream Sauce" ... which was also exceptional. In all cases, the meatballs were tender and juicy, and I love the soft little brioche rolls on which they were served.

I rounded out the meal with side of the roast vegetables of the day: honey roasted carrots with dates, mint and walnuts. Delicious! And we closed the festivities with one of their famous ice cream sandwiches. They make both the ice cream and the cookies in house and the choices are truly crave-worthy. Unfortunately, they were out of both the chocolate and caramel ice creams on Saturday, so the husband chose vanilla ice cream between brownie cookies ... and it was spectacular! If you're anywhere near NYC, I strongly recommend a visit to The Meatball Shop. Great atmosphere, friendly staff, and a really great menu. Take a spin around their site, you'll see what I mean.

Thus fortified, we set off to the market, coupon in hand, where our first stop was Saxelby Cheesemongers. Saxelby features artisinal American farmsted cheese, crafted by hand in small batches from local Northeastern dairies. Pictured left, is the Hudson Red (from Twin Maple Farm in Ghent, New York) - a luscious, tangy, raw cow's milk cheese, similar in texture and taste to Taleggio. At right, the Vermont Shepherd (from Major Farm in Putney, VT) - a raw, aged, sheep's milk cheese, similar in texture to a cheddar, with a nice, nutty, savory finish.

We enjoyed both with the truffle honey I mentioned last week and some lovely multigrain bread purchased at Pain D'Avignon at the Essex Street Market.

Cheese and bread procured, we then set off to Roni-Sue's Chocolates to get our hands on some of her unusual and delicious confections. We were lucky enough to score a taste of her famous buttercrunch ... which was so good we just had to buy some! And there was no way I was leaving Roni-Sue's without a bag of her infamous BaCorn - homemade caramel corn studded with candied bacon bits and roasted chile spiked peanuts. Oh ... my ... stars, this stuff is good! Too good to share, so get your own bag when go! Naturally, we also had to pick up a small box of her chile spiked chocolate truffles. I mean, really, chiles and chocolate, what's not to love? Each was more spicy than the next and all were insanely delicious. Take a spin around Roni-Sue's site and do some drooling of your own. She's well worth the trip downtown all on her own!

As if that weren't enough, we closed the day with a long walk across the Williamsburg Bridge and popped into Marlow and Daughters for some meat. Grass-fed, house-cut steaks, to be exact. A giant, half cow for the husband and the sister-in-law to split, and a petite something or other for the Diva! The husband grilled them up, while I prepared some insanely good roast pink and white potatoes - also purchased at Marlow. Fear not, we rounded out the meal with a healthy serving of steamed broccoli ... and finished it off with the chile spiked chocolates!

I'd tell you that I may never eat again - except that I ended up loosing 2 pounds this weekend - probably from all that walking!

And there you have a rather lengthy look at the tasty treats available on the Lower East Side. My thanks to Tasting for the 20% off coupons and to the husband and sister-in-law for sharing the excursion with me.

So, what was on your menu this weekend? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!


Mo Diva said...

I need to hang with you Diva.

I have been itching to go the essex st market and as a NYer all my life i feel shame for not going.

Great pics from the Meatball place, i might actually pay homage to it..thanks to you!

im craving a meatball right about now

doggybloggy said...

hey you were kinda' in my hood of the woods - next time you are downtown on a weekend and you want extra company give us a shout ...

words...words...words... said...

I love Tasting Table...their daily emails are great.

Also, I didn't read anything past "The Meatball Shop", because I think I passed out.

( word verification is "sessy")

Molly said...

I decided to stop at a new burrito place in town, and when I left, I was so excited to eat I backed into a parked car! Crunch!

It was worth it, grilled zuch
& mushroom, onion, black beans and cheese with spicy salsa...yum!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Mo Diva - maybe we can do a Queens version sometime soon and you can shepherd us around?!

The Essex Mkt. is neat. Its changed quite a bit from the first time I was there years ago ... there are more "gourmet" places now.

doggybloggy - duh, you're right! Don't worry this won't be our last trip downtown. I'm going to need more cheese and chocolate!

words words words - plan a trip to NYC and I'll take you to The Meatball Shop for some "sessy" meatballs. We can do some damage there for sure!

Glad to hear you're already subscribed to Tasting Table, its an awesome resource.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Molly - oops, I cross-posted you. OMG, you sound like me backing into things. Yikes! I'm glad the burrito was worth it though. Sounds delish!

Suzy said...

My menu this weekend was divine...hubby took me to my favorite sushi restaurant Saturday night (salmon roll, toro roll, bridal veil roll) and last night I cooked on the grill...delicious steaks and veggies...very similar to your post...check it out!

Heavenly Housewife said...

You lost two pounds after that???? Ahhhh its not fair! LOL
All that food looks awesome. I totally want a meatball sandwich now. What a sweat idea. Might try making one at home.
*kisses* HH

pixelgal said...

No fair! Living in NYC and walking everywhere allows a person to indulge without adding girth. That would be a 5 lb. weight gain for me! Everything looks delicious as I'm sure it was and it's even better with the weight loss! We had takeout 2 nights and I cooked a turkey breast on Saturday with some asparagus from the garden which was the best part of the meal.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Suzy - wow, great minds think alike ... very similar meals indeed! Only you're lucky enough to have the outdoor grill!

HH - I think I just got lucky with those 2 pounds ... though we did walk for miles, no joke. The walk over the bridge alone was 1.2 miles and I probably walked another mile with the rest of the day.

pixelgal - save me some of that asparagus! If all goes well, we could be stopping in for some on Saturday, if possible!!

Christina said...

Holy cow! That looks like my kind of weekend!

Sorry you missed BSI!

Anonymous said...

Great eats I need to check the tasting table out in my area.

Megan said...

I love Tasting Table! I might get the Recipe Journal they highlighted today. Looks like you had a fabulous food-filled weekend. I roasted a couple of racks of lamb and some other things I'm hoping to get a chance to blog about soon!

Astra Libris said...

Pure Heaven!! :-) Truly a foodie paradise! I so loved the tour of your blissful Saturday!!

Lentil Breakdown said...

I was just in your neck of the woods but didn't know about that market. I did go to Chelsea Market, Dean & DeLuca, Zabar's, Fairway, Gourmet Garage and a few others. That carrot salad with dates and mint looked great! I'm more interested in that than the meatballs! : )

Wilma said...

Wow, that meat, that beautiful meat. Mom and Dad never eatything as gorgeous as that meat. I will be slipping into your bags next visit if that's ok with you. I hope it is this weekend. Bring me meat and I will assure noone gets near the asparagus bed before you get here.

Julie said...

What a great day! I don't even know where to start envying..hehe :)