Whenever food-loving visitors come from out of town, we take them to our favorite markets and restaurants. And we're always sure to lead them on a foodie walking tour of Greenwich Village's Bleecker Street. In just a few short blocks, there's one of our favorite cheese stores, several great bakeries, old-school butchers, and lots of places to stop for pick-me-up refreshments. Whether you're assembling a picnic, going home to cook a feast, or just browsing, there's plenty to see and do.
This weekend, several of our AT/The Kitchn editors were in town for ICFF and the book party. The rain kept us from doing a full tour, but we did dash into a few favorites. For less rain-drenched days, here's our complete list:
There are plenty of other Greenwich Village walking tours that will tell you about the charming architecture, storied history, or even the many gelato shops. We're focusing solely on destinations for the cook, with the exception of one spot for cannoli. You do need to keep your strength up while you're shopping, after all!
• Ottomanelli & Sons Prime Meat 285 Bleecker, 212-675-4217The title for best butcher in the city is a tough competition, but many believe it should belong to this second-generation family-owned business. The marbleing on the steaks is exquisite, and they'll work with you to get the exact cut you're looking for.
• Faicco Pork Store 260 Bleecker, 212-243-1974 This old school butcher is the place to come for everything pig - from deliciously fatty homemade fennel sausage to handcut pork to proscuitto-stuffed bread. But they're far more than that. Along with other meats, they have a good stock of imported italian olive oils, vinegars, pastas, and freshly prepared hot foods. Picnickers should be sure to grab one of their fantastic rice balls and some sauteed broccoli rabe.
• Murray's Cheese 257 Bleecker, 888.MY.CHEEZ or (212) 243.3289 We've told you about our love for Murray's Cheese before. It's easy to get swept away in the over 250 cheeses carried here, but you'll also want to shop the tantalizing charcuterie, olive oils, fancy crackers, artisanal chocolates, and of course, dairy products like handmade butter and yogurt. They're serious about cheese here, aging imported varieties in their caves, teaching classes about it, and best of all, encouraging you to sample the wares.
• Amy's Bread 250 Bleecker, 212-675-7802 Thanks to their extensive wholesale operation and multiple locations, you can buy Amy's organic whole-grain breads at shops across the city. But when we're putting together a picnic, we appreciate that someone thought to put a great bread shop just three doors down from a great cheese shop. They also sell cakes, cookies, and other baked goods.
• O & Co. 249 Bleecker, 646-230-8373 There are lots of places to buy olive oil in this formerly-Italian neighborhood. But O & Co. has dozens of varieties that you can sample. We're constantly inspired by their other olive-related products. Case in point: we first bought surprising black olive and lemon confit tapenade here, then figured out how to make our own at home.
• Rocco's Pastry & Espresso Cafe 243 Bleecker, 212-242-6031 Stop by this Italian institution for a creamy espresso and some freshly filled cannoli. Be prepared for scattered or gruff service, but you'll forget that when you bite into the crispy shell.
• Porto Rico Importing Co. 201 Bleecker, 212-477-5421 This family owned and operated coffee importing company and store has been in business for 100 years. But their respect for the environment and for growers is thoroughly modern. Not only do they carry a wide variety of organic and sustainable blends but also many shade-grown and bird-friendly beans from family-owned coffee farms.
Images: Amy's Bread image by Messy and Picky licensed under Creative Commons, sausage and cannoli images: Flickr member Vidiot licensed under Creative Commons, Murray's Cheese image: Flickr member Guacamole Goalie licensed under Creative Commons