Friday, April 17, 2009

Zeytinia and The Market Basket -- Revisited

I enjoyed revisiting The Market Basket, previously reviewed here [see Market Basket -- Local NJ High End Specialty Food], after not having been for a while, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover some nice changes – at least my impression is that they are changes.

Prices seem to be much moderated over my last visit. Produce which is always very beautiful and nicely presented, was quite reasonable. Prepared foods were extensive and scrumptious looking.

Sausages from their own smokehouse, including Chorizo, Andouille, and French Garlic, were all fairly cheap and looked great – I’ve had them before, and they are – great, that is.

Bakery goods are still quite expensive. Bought the Apple Sauce Pound Cake anyway. $8.50. Worth it.

Seafood was gorgeous as always. Meat was, too. All seemed reasonably priced.

Also purchased one of their Quiches, which I have always liked, and a New England Clam Chowder … yum.

You do have to admire their presentation of food, from the meat case to the seafood to the produce. It all looks great and makes you WANT TO BUY.

And there was not a hostile Franklin Lakes Matron to be seen. See previous post. Very pleasant experience.

Makes me wish it were a little closer.

From there I headed a couple of miles down the road into Oakland NJ and stopped at Zeytinia, which also has beautiful prepared food, quite extensive, good too, from what I've tried.

My visit confirmed my previous opinion [see Zeytinia -- NY Specialty Foods in NJ], that for produce, Zeytinia is up there with Corrado’s pricewise, although without the great range of stock.

Well-priced cheeses, fabulous deli, and a very good meat section remain the same as per the last visit. I love the place.

Sadly, the Dry-Aged Prime Beef seems to have disappeared, making King’s in Boonton at $30 plus per lb and Corrado’s in Wayne, at $16 or so per lb (what a great deal), the only places locally to offer it.

If you are a carnivore and are interested in steak, you owe it to yourself to try making your own grilled NY Strip or Ribeye from Dry-Aged Prime Beef sometime. We like to ask the butcher for 2” thick cuts of NY Strip, coat them in a dry rub of salt, pepper, and paprika, and then let them sit uncovered overnight in the fridge to dry the surface, so we get that great grilled crust. We pop them onto a 600 degree grill for 9 to 11 minutes each, turning once. Internal temp 120 to 125 degrees for rare to medium rare. Let them sit for 7 or 8 minutes before you dig in. Yes.

The upshot is that I like The Market Basket even more than I used to, and Zeytinia just as much, which is a lot.

Of course the 800 lb gorilla or white elephant, or something, in the room that we have not talked about yet, is the new Fairway out on Route 17 in Paramus. But that will be for another time.

~ Ted

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