Thursday, February 10, 2011

Top food shops in central New Jersey (or Confessions of a Spice-a-holic)

I have a spice drawer. (Big deal, you’re thinking...) Well, I also have a spice cabinet… two really. They’re so crammed with blends and spices and sauces that I have to be careful when opening them… and that doesn’t include the baking stuff – that’s in another cabinet. Then there’s the top shelf in my pantry which is lined with different mustards, sauces, pastes, etc. Now you get the picture - I love buying and receiving anything that adds flavor to food. So when I come across a shop that sells good stuff, I’m like a little kid on Christmas morning. (Only more dangerous because I have a credit card.)
 
I’ve lived most of my life in central New Jersey. As a foodie, trips into New York were like trips to the promised land. I’d hit Kalustyan’s for my spices, grab bread at Amy’s, cheese at Murray’s, etc. I once hoofed it over to 1st Ave. for pierogis then carried them home on the train. Now that I’m a mom, I don’t get into the city quite as often – but I don’t need to. Plenty of specialty shops have popped up right in my area and more are appearing every day. Plus, grocery stores are carrying more gourmet and ethnic foods, so long treks are no longer necessary.
 
I know there are plenty of NJ foodies who visit my site, so I’ve decided to put together a list of my favorites. Read through it – you might find something new. More importantly, let me know what’s missing – I love finding new shops, so please share! (I’ll find a cabinet someplace with room for more goodies!)
 
Spices
Pastries, donuts, and bagels
  • The Swiss Pastry Shoppe, 1711 East Second Street, Scotch Plains (try the old-fashioned glazed – AMAZING! And at Easter, the Cheese babka has been a family tradition for years.)
  • Cranford Best Bagels & Deli, 107 South Ave, Cranford (Try a breakfast sandwich, mmmm)
Bread
  • Dom’s, 506 Grand Street, Hoboken (I haven’t gone in ages, but my brother and his family were regulars there until they moved 2 months ago… try the tomato pie.
  • Breadsmith, 32 North Ave W, Cranford (Greek Olive Ciabatta, ‘nuf said.)
Cheese
Meat
  • For Polish Kielbasa, Wawel Delicatessen, 571 Raritan Rd., Roselle
  • For German sausages (wursts), hot dogs, Merguez sausage, breakfast sausage, steaks – Barth’s Market, 41 South Street, New Providence
  • Or Wine Library for D’artagnan Chorizo and Andouille
All things Asian
All things Indian
  • Bhavani cash and Carry, 392 Route 22 West, Green Brook
South American, Jamaican
What’d I miss? Leave a comment and let me know your favorite!

2 comments:

Michelle said...

I'll have to check out some of your recommendations. I love the Savory Spice Shop and Breadsmith. I haven't been to Cheese Please! yet though I really have no excuse since I live right in Cranford.
My one recommendation is the Westfield farmers market (unfortunately only from July-October). High Mountain foods has a stand there and sells pasta, bread, olive oil and meatballs. Everything we've gotten from there has been great, especially the ravioli and meatballs. I'm counting down the days until summer arrives...

ladyberd said...

Thanks Michelle - I'll check it out. I live close to the Scotch Plains farmers market so I usually hit that one, but High Mountain foods sounds like it's worth a trip!

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