You know the saying, “Never go shopping hungry”? Why? Because you will undoubtedly buy more groceries, spend more money and impulse-shop your waistline straight to the local gym or to a celebrity-endorsed weight loss system. Not cute.
The best time to go grocery shopping is when you have planned out meals and snacks for you and/or your family for the week, taken inventory of what you already have at home and made a list. You have also just finished a healthy breakfast, a satisfying lunch or an early dinner for all you late-night shoppers (don’t knock it until you have tried it).
All of that planning is in a perfect world. In the imperfect world, your cupboards are bare, your stomach is making vile sounds in protest of its emptiness and nary a piece of paper can be found to write a list. Just head to the original Fairway on 74th and Broadway and beeline to the cafe upstairs to sit, eat and plan your attack on the bountiful store.
My friend Susan invited me to lunch one afternoon to see what chef Mitchel London has going on and to try out a smattering of victuals. I arrived to the second floor, made the first right past the vitamin section and before the organics checkout counters to a light and airy space. We sat right by the window overlooking Broadway.
I gazed at the menu and the specials while Susan finished a call. I was happy to find a great assortment of American classics mixed with Mediterranean seasonal dishes.
Before I could get a couple of sips of my Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) down, a tasting plate of thin-cut fried zucchini, roasted tomatoes, peppers, haricot vert and mushrooms, Israeli couscous salad and a wedge of their rosemary focaccia arrived. It was fresh, filling and delicious and a great summer plate of food to eat anytime.
For our entrees we shared the soft shell crab sandwich on a brioche bun with fries and a very Euro prosciutto on a buttered baguette with condiments of Dijon mustard, arugula, cornichons and black olives. The crab was a little undercooked and over-breaded, but once I pointed it out, the attentive staff quickly remedied the situation. All that prosciutto needed was a glass of wine and I would have been set.
We couldn’t leave without one of their tantalizing dessert either. While shoveling mouthfuls of lemon meringue pie and apple tart with creme fraiche and vanilla ice cream, I had a fascinating conversation with Ray Venezia, Fairway’s master butcher, about the quality of their meat and some of his philosophies about meat production in general. I hope to talk with him again soon…over another of their freshly made sweets!
It was a great lunch. With a full belly, I could have shopped until I dropped, but I will save that for our uptown location and an easier commute home. Thank you, Susan!
Attention, Eastside readers! If you haven’t seen it yet, Fairway is opening a new location on 86th Street between Second and Third avenues on July 20. You will find all of the same offerings you had to trek across the park for, plus a new Fairway to Go concept, where you can quickly pick up sandwiches, salads, coffee and pastries.
Now added to the True New Yorker Questionnaire: “You are a True New Yorker if you can say, ‘I knew Fairway way back when it was just one store on Broadway!’”
Hit me up if you can tell me what store was originally next to Fairway…
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
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Questions at dinnertime? Chat with me at AskSCHOP, Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m.
Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! which is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Email kysha@iSCHOP.com.