Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Ode to Essex Street Market

There are two places I shop for groceries on a regular basis in California, Whole Foods for unique items and Trader Joe's for staples. Although I would love to shop at Whole Foods all the time, I really love a good bargain and Trader Joe's just can't be beat. 

So when I moved to New York, I was disappointed to find out that there is only 1 Trader Joe's and it's always packed! I have been twice so far, both times during the week, when you'd expect most people to be working, and both times there was a line of at least 30! Plus, I have yet to purchase one of those awesome metal basket/carts that old Asian ladies love using to haul their goods, which is one of the reasons I have yet to stop by a farmer's market. I often have a hard time controlling myself when it comes to fresh and cheap produce, and I am just not up for hauling 3-4 bags of produce ten blocks, all sweaty by myself.

Anyway, so when my friend Sasha suggested I try Essex Street Market, I was curious and hopeful. The market is located on Essex Street (go figure), only a few blocks from my house. It's actually between my apartment and my friend Sasha's apartment, which is convenient since I'm at hers at least 3 times a week. 

The market is phenomenal! Not only does it have unique items I usually have to head to Whole Foods for like Vital Wheat Gluten and Kale Chips, but it is dirt cheap. They have the most amazing looking produce section and I actually purchased tomatoes yesterday that...smell...like...tomatoes! I am obsessed with tomatoes and can't stand when they don't taste and smell like tomatoes. And I usually am not a fan of buying them out of season, but I can't wait to try these because they smell amazing. Anyway, I digress! See what happens when you get me started on tomatoes!
Look at the colors!

The best part is I only spent $32.76! It's almost impossible for me to get out of Whole Foods without spending at least $50 and I got a bounty. 

This is what I purchased:
1 large head kale
2 red bell peppers
2 carrots
1 bag Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran
1 packet mushrooms
1 bunch organic tomatoes
1 packet Bob's Red Mill TVP
1 package blackberries
1 package blueberries
5 lemons
1 butternut squash

Whoever says being vegetarian is expensive is crazy. Needless to say, Essex Street Market has become a new favorite of mine. Plus, I love supporting smaller non-chain places, especially those in my new neighborhood. If you happen to live in the area and haven't checked it out yet, you must. 

And if you live in New York, please share your favorite grocery stores with me. I love checking out new places! 


  1. Hey Esen! This is Jessica W. from your high school class. I came across the link to your blog on Facebook and I have to say that I love it! Anyway, there is a great Trader Joe's in Brooklyn, right by the Borough Hall stop. Yes, it's out of Manhattan, but it's a really fast trip (either the first or second stop into BK) and it was WAY bigger, less crowded, and better stocked than the Union Square one. That's where I did all my grocery shopping when I lived in downtown Manhattan!

  2. Hey Jessica!
    Thanks for the info! I'll have to try it out! Hope all is well with you and would love to catch up sometime!

    All the best,


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