Chef’s Delight – Host with the Most in FiDi
In addition to a wealth of restaurants, FiDi offers plenty of shops for those who prefer to cook for themselves. You can purchase difficult-to-find ingredients from France, Greece, and Italy along with organic meat and wild-caught fish to channel your inner Ina Garten. Those who like throwing dinner parties but not necessarily cooking for them will find plenty of ready-made options, from appetizers to desserts. Oenophiles have numerous wine shops to choose from, and those with a well-honed sweet tooth will delight in some of the more unusual specialty desserts available. Below are just a few neighborhood favorites.
200 Broadway (between John and Fulton Streets, in the Fulton Center)
For some, cupcakes were a fad. Those who know better, however, appreciate Buttercup Bake Shop’s dedication to these bijoux of deliciousness. As well as the classics (golden cupcakes with chocolate or vanilla frosting, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting), you can choose sophisticated options such as Buko Pandan (inspired by the traditional Filipino pie made with young coconut) and Espresso Shot as well as flavors for little and big kids such as S’mores and Cookies ‘n’ Cream. Still not sold on cupcakes? Buttercup also sells cookies, macarons, and lovely layer cakes, including hummingbird and carrot, you might be tempted to pass off as your own.
70 Pine Street (at Pearl Street)
Cooking enthusiasts flock to City Acres for the quality produce, the butcher department whose offering includes organic and grass-fed meat, the wild-caught fish, and the well-rounded assortment of other ingredients, including grains and spices available in bulk. Those who are short on time will appreciate the prepared salads and sides dishes as well as the in-house cheesemonger who can help with selecting the elements for a perfect cheese board. And those who simply love to eat will be happy to visit its mini food court, which includes Vanessa’s Dumpling House, organic-beverage purveyor JuiceBrothers, and all-vegan Beyond Sushi.
15 Bridge Street (between Broad and Whitehall Streets)
California wine is a specialty of the Corkery, but you will find varietals from other parts of the country and from around the world as well: Tannat from Uruguay, chardonnay from Israel, fruity rosé from Austria, sparking cider from France. Not that the shop is limited to wine. If you have a yen for Hibiki blended whisky from Japan, Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur from Australia, or Cotswolds Dry Gin from England, you can find that here as well. The shop holds free tastings every Friday night from September through June and on Thursday evenings in July and August, so that you can discover something new. And if you are frantically preparing for a party and just remembered that your bar is bare, it provides free one-hour delivery to downtown addresses.
101 Liberty Street (at Four World Trade Center), Third Floor
Say “cheese” at Eataly. Image: Enrique Vázquez/Flickr
For those planning to cook any sort of Italian dish, a visit to Eataly is a must. Crusty loaves of bread are baked in a wood-burning oven from yeast and organic flour transported from Italy, and mozzarella is made on the premises. Mineral water, juice, beer, cheese, cured meats, sauces, preserves, vinegars, groceries, and nearly 100 varieties of olive oil are imported from Italy, and you can also buy regionally sourced produce and cheese, Piemontese beef from a Nebraskan farm, milk-fed veal from Amish and Mennonite farms in Pennsylvania, and fresh-caught seafood. To avoid shopping on an empty stomach, you can first indulge in a meal at one of the three on-site restaurants or grab a quick focaccia, salad, or gelato at the food hall, where you can also buy prepared dishes. If your cooking skills are limited to tossing spaghetti in boiling water, you can take classes on making pizza, pasta, and pesto, among other delectables.
32 Broadway (between Beaver and Wall Streets)
GFG stands for “Greek from Greece,” and many of its products are direct from Greece as well: organic honey and sun-dried figs, herbal teas, olives and olive oils. But GFG is a bakery first and foremost. Pick up a loaf of hearty country bread to accompany tzatziki, a fresh-baked spanakotiropita (spinach-and-cheese pie) to serve as a side dish or a main, and a portokalopita (orange pie made with phyllo and a yogurt-based custard) for dessert.
185 Greenwich Street (at Four World Trade Center), Lower Level
Wagashi are Japanese sweets that are neither candies nor cakes but distinctively textured delights all their own, made with red-bean paste, fruits, rice cakes, and other natural ingredients. Those sold at K. Minamoto are made in the company’s Japanese factories with fruits from the company’s Japanese farm. The phrase “almost too beautiful to eat” could have been coined for these confectionaries. Ohkamau, a ball of red-bean paste surrounded by bean jelly flavored with cherry blossoms, resembles a pink dumpling with a cherry blossom hand-painted on the front; you can almost taste the juiciness of the tosenka, a white peach covered with peach jelly, as soon as you look at it; the matcha baumkuchen, a sponge cake whose ingredients include sweet potatoes, is the green of a fresh-mown lawn. If you are looking for a dessert that impresses, you will find it here.
225 Liberty Street (at West Street, in Brookfield Place)
What Eataly is to Italy, Le District is to France. Along with restaurants, bars, and a food hall, it boasts just about everything you would find in a Paris marché, and then some. Pick up some brie, perail, or raclette at the cheesemonger, saucisson sec and boudin noir at the charcuterie, baguettes and macarons (mais oui), wines, all manner of fresh fruit and vegetables, grass-fed beef, and sauces, spreads, and other groceries from French brands including Alain Milliat and Maison Francis Miot. Even if you stop in for, say, just a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, you may well leave with bags full of multiple types of mustard, chocolate-covered marshmallows, madeleines, and freshly prepared ratatouille.
115 South Street (between Beekman Street and Peck Slip)
The team at Pasanella and Son consider themselves wine curators, and they personally select the more than 400 wines available at their shop near the South Street Seaport, in a building that dates back to 1839. Bottles from small wineries share shelf space with those from well-known makers, and the shop is known for its solid selection of organic and biodynamic wines as well as inexpensive wines you will not be ashamed to bring to a party or serve to guests. A curated assortment of spirits and premade cocktails is available too. When you stop in, get on the list for Pasanella’s wine tastings, held in an airy backroom with beamed ceilings that opens into a private garden. You can subscribe to several Vino of the Month clubs or order an Omakase Case of a dozen small-production wines chosen by the staff if you prefer the element of surprise.
146 Chambers Street (between West Broadway and Greenwich Street)
Zucker’s hand-rolls and kettle-boils its bagels daily. Image: Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish_Esmeralda C/Yelp
If it is brunch you are hosting, bagels, lox, and whitefish salad from Zucker’s are almost mandatory. The bagels are hand-rolled and kettle-boiled daily, and along with the traditional varieties you can order less-common types such as wheat oat bran and wheat health. Likewise, in addition to the tried-and-true cream cheese selections, options include jalapeño and maple-raisin-walnut cream cheeses plus vegetable and scallion tofu spreads. For a true old-school New York Sunday brunch experience, pick up a babke and some Dr. Brown black cherry and cream sodas while you are there.