eater's digest: bklyn larder

Photos by Lauren DeFilippo

By mid-summer in New York City, the average food lover has spent plenty of time outside—grilling hot dogs, veggies and ribs; packing improvised picnics of bread, cheese and wine. By now, your "signature salad" may seem a bit redundant, or the humidity may have you researching a raw food diet. In other words, it's the ideal time to let someone else do the cooking. And for that, there's no better place than Bklyn Larder.

Started by the same team behind renowned Brooklyn pizza spot, Franny's, Bklyn Larder is not your average boutique grocery store. Community-focused in its vision, the Larder is a seasonal, local and eco-conscious shop, with much of their day-to-day produce coming from the nearby Grand Army Plaza of Union Square greenmarkets. The bread is also locally selected from some of the city's best artisans—Grandaisy, Bien Cuit and Orwasher's.

This savvy approach to sourcing translates into incredibly fresh and photogenic food, from an heirloom tomato and cucumber salad to an organic berry tart with vanilla pastry cream. It's worth noting that the Larder also specializes in cheese, so whether you're looking for local, raw milk, aged imports or a taste of each, the shop is stocked with an excellent selection.


One of my favorite seasonal bites was an English pea salad with farro and dill buttermilk dressing, a cool and refreshing spin on grains.


I also appreciated the aged prosciutto da parma from Pio Tosini, which beautifully complemented the naturally leavened, tangy dough and dark crust of a Bien Cuit baguette.


For those in more of a rush, the shop has wrapped sandwiches to go, prepared with such care that the words pre-made seem misleading. On the contrary, if you've time to peruse the Larder's provisions, the thoughtfully curated goods extend to hard-to-find grains, tinned fish, oils and chocolates. I especially enjoyed the exceptionally creamy walnut and honey White Moustache yogurt that I spotted in the dairy case.


For those too far removed to enjoy the Larder in person, you can still snag a pint of the shop's prized gelato and sorbetto, which recently became available for nationwide shipping.

Don't forget dessert: from their signature gelato and sorbetto, to these beautifully brûléed s'mores cupcakes, the shop's not short on sweets.

Don't forget dessert: from their signature gelato and sorbetto, to these beautifully brûléed s'mores cupcakes, the shop's not short on sweets.

So whether you stop in to prep a simple picnic, cater a house party or stock up on top-notch staples, Bkyln Larder's the type of shop that will have you lingering, daydreaming, yearning and scheming. You might even find yourself asking the happy, helpful staff if they're hiring.

catch of the day: bellocq tea atelier

There is something about the art of craftsmanship - an elusive je ne sais quoi or mysterious familiarity - that seems almost a memory of things we once wanted, but had somehow forgotten.  In the face of this exceptional attention to detail, we are mesmerized, lured in by the sense of purpose in each word, scent, symbol or flavor. Occasionally, a small company offers us the opportunity to own a modern memento of this dying culture of cultivated skill and taste.  Such is the case with Bellocq Tea Atelier.

I first discovered Bellocq on a chilly Sunday at the New Amsterdam Market.  As a frequent NAMarketer, the new arrival or return of season-sensitive purveyors is always an exciting occasion, so I eagerly wandered over to check out their wares.

The first thing that struck me was the gorgeous design of the Bellocq tea canisters and paper packets - not to mention the "accessible luxury" vibe of the whole set-up (artfully crafted by former Martha Stewart Living stylist - and Bellocq co-owner - Heidi Johannsen Stewart).

As if this visual enticement weren't enough, the very knowledgeable "tea sommelier" (a name I gave him, but he humbly dismissed), Ravi Kroesen, graciously and enthusiastically answered my varied tea questions (tea blends vs. single estate teas, boiling temperature of water, etc.) - all while serving me the most delicious Afghani Chai.  Needless to say, I was hooked.

The happiest news of all is that Bellocq, (already available at the Bellocq tasting room in Greenpoint, at the New Amsterdam Market, and a number of other specialty stores) will soon be available at the very convenient Haven's Kitchen, opening winter 2011 near Union Square.  In the meantime, I will be actively dwindling down my already over-sized tea collection, in anticipation of (much) better teas to come.