Union Market

Location: Brooklyn, NY

2007_4_20 union market.JPG Union Market isn't the type of food market that inspires warm and fuzzy feelings (take Sahadi's or Bierkraft, for example), but it's not for lack of trying. Maybe it's the slick-looking brushed steel that lines the store, the impeccable produce aisle, or the pristine organic rib eye steak ($23.99/lb.), but generally my favorite people (and food places) tend toward the less kempt side of things. Whether they keep too many back issues of the Sunday NY Times piled on the coffee table or hand drawn signs line the shelves, those idiosyncrasies are often what give people (and food places) their charm.

So despite my lack of deep feelings for Union Market, I could still roam the aisles for hours and get caught up a food lovers dream. I quickly zoned out, long enough to cause a few stares, on the over twenty varieties of honey, like bee raw Maine Wild Rosemary honey ($9.99 for 10.5 oz.) or Aleluya honey from Argentina ($6.49 for 16.8 oz.) and the over thirty varieties of vinegar, such as Cuisine Perel blueberry vinegar ($8.99 for 6.5 oz.) or Sotaronic Sweet Moscatel vinegar ($11.99 for 6.8 oz.).

Selection is generally not an issue when it comes to cheese either. While there's more cheese offered at nearby Blue Apron, and it's cut to order, for one-stop shopping, you'd do worse than Union Market's Le Chevrot ($9.99/piece), Tete de Moine ($14.99/lb.) or Roaring Forties blue ($12.99/lb.).

And while produce prices cannot compete with the Coop (but really, what can?), there are not a lot of places you can buy yellow pattypan squash ($5.99/lb.), bluefoot mushrooms ($23.99/lb.) and taro root ($0.99/lb.).

Perhaps my favorite part of Union Market is in the refrigerated section. In it there is an Al Gore-style lockbox filled with caviar and truffles. Have the manager open it for you and then grab some of the perfect and perfectly adorable blinis ($6.99 for 16), hanging above the intriguing lockbox, for a splurge. Go home, recycle the newspapers clogging your table, and serve.

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