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 Table.com - 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 Table.com 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.