I've come to have a few favorite specialty shops here, and just like I didn't know how I would live without Mountain Man chocolate-covered pretzels and Good Times frozen custard when we left Colorado, I will sorely miss these few treasures I've found in New York.
1. A&D Turkish Market on 5th at 80th St (Brooklyn)- I came here the first time with my friend Nayat, who is French-Algerian and loves the lamb sausage they make at the butcher counter in the back.I pass on the sausage but all these bulk barrels of nuts, grains and spices enticed me - bought lentils, bulgur, cherry juice, smoked almonds, sesame candy, fava beans and more over the years. But the main reason I go back? Those smoked almonds, I cannot get enough of them.
2. Mideast Bakery on 3rd and 78th St (Brooklyn) - Cosmic pita. The store front is about 1/3 the size of the huge bakery in the back where they make their own pita and other middle eastern breads and sweets, and whole wheat on Wednesdays. Once they closed for two weeks because their daughter was getting married. I was there their first day back and people were lining up outside before they opened, suffering from withdrawals. We usually stop by on our way home from storytime at the library because otherwise it's out of the way. But we have been known to make a special trip. The pita is amazing plain, with brie cheese, butter & jelly, chicken salad, hummus, or anything.
3. East Village Cheese on 3rd and E 10th St (Manhattan) - Admittedly I've only gone a few times because it's not in my neighborhood but I make a point to stop in whenever I'm close to it - amazing selection and astounding prices. A wheel of brie for $1.99! I try something new everytime - my favorite was walnut gouda, eaten with the cosmic pita mentioned above.
4. H&D Bagels on 3rd at 88th St (Brooklyn) - Early on I joined a neighborhood parents' yahoo group and asked where the best bagels can be got. The majority pointed me to H&D, which, like most of the best kept secrets in a big city, is nothing special from the outside. Or inside for that matter. A typical bagel deli, but the bagels are fabulous - my preference is an Everything with cream cheese and a half dozen mini plains for the kids.
5. Little Cupcake on 3rd at 91st St (Brooklyn) - I've mentioned this shop a few times and it really is something fun and special...and happens to be on our post-music-class route. We walk one block to the grocery store for a few essentials, cross the street and get a cupcake or lemonade, then walk home and eat the cupcake after lunch, split three ways, or only two if Ginger is asleep and she'll never know what she missed.
6. Intimacy on Madison Ave (Manhattan) - The best of the best in professional bra fitting. After 4 years of pregnancy, nursing, another pregnancy and more nursing, nothing fits like it used to, and bras are at the top of the list. What a treat to get personally and professionally fitted, no tape measures involved. Bummer there' s not one in DC. Maybe I'll be back.
7. Cavale Tonuzi on 3rd at 83rd St (Brooklyn) - I got my hair cut here a few times and was underwhelmed and overcharged but on staff they have a woman named Lucky who is a full-time eyebrow threader. God bless Therese (Sister Anderson), who on my mission taught me how to pluck my overgrown eyebrows. Then I waxed for awhile, but now I know threading is the only way to go. Lucky is a whiz with her twisted strands of floss, and I always leave feeling like a movie star. Northern Virginia has a large Asian population so I have high hopes of finding a place with someone equally skilled.