Increasingly small micro-roasters around the country, from Klatch Coffee in San Dimas, CA to Higher Ground in Leeds, AL, are developing national reputations as the coffee connoisseur's destination for impeccably sourced, freshly roasted beans.
Phaidon, the publisher of such door-stoppingly huge cooking tomes as The Silver Spoon and 1080 Recipes, and -- more recently -- I Know How to Cook and Coco: 10 of the World's Greatest Chefs, 100 Emerging Culinary Stars, will open a pop-up store in New York City for the holiday season.
The temporary shop, called PHAIDON|STORE, will occupy a 2,500-square-foot retail space at 100 Wooster Street (between Prince and Spring) from November 2, 2009, through January 2010.
According to a press release, the shop will hold special events and offer concierge services and same-day delivery in Manhattan. Here's hoping they won't charge by the pound.
Puro Chile, a new shop billing itself as a Chilean "wine, food, design, and travel emporium," officially opens next week at the corner of Grand and Centre Streets in Manhattan (it will open this Thursday for "tastings," but no sales).
The shop takes its name -- which means "Pure Chile" -- from the first words of Chile's national anthem: Puro, Chile, es tu cielo azulado ("Pure, Chile, is your blue sky").
The private enterprise -- unaffiliated with the Chilean government -- retails exclusively Chilean products.Read More >
Tea Together, a producer of artisanal jams based in northern France, has just opened its first retail store in Millburn, New Jersey.
I caught up with owners Nick and Judith Gifford when the shop opened last month.
The British couple started their business 12 years ago after leaving busy careers in film and television production for country life in the northern French village of St. Remy au Bois. Before long, they traded film for food and tried their hand as culinary entrepreneurs.
"We wondered what the English could do better than the French" said Judith, and they hit upon British traditions of breakfast and tea time as their angle. "You see," she explained. "The French do everything based on lunch and dinner."
Seizing an opportunity, they started out baking scones (what could be more British?). When they set up shop at the market, the scones attracted a lot of curiosity from the locals, but few sales. Judith recalled that her French customers were bewildered about what to do with them. "'But, when would you eat these?' they would ask." The scones never took off.Read More >
The mothership has landed. The MUJI mothership, that is. If you're not a fetishist of Japanese products and design, this news may be completely meaningless. But, for devotees of MUJI's "brandless" brand of smart design, today marked the opening of its first flagship store in the United States.
To refresh your memory, MUJI opened a shop in SoHo last November (covered in an earlier post here). This satiated the MUJI cult for the time being. But, before long, attention turned toward MUJI's construction of a much larger store in Times Square.
I attended the press preview of the new MUJI earlier today. Located on the ground floor of the new New York Times Building, the store boasts 4,350 square feet of shopping space. Surrounded by glass walls, it's a light-filled, airy interior for contemplating the array of stationary, clothing, housewares, and travel goods (and whether you really need MUJI's super-cool wall-mounted CD player even though your entire collection of music now resides on an iPod).Read More >
MUJI, the Japanese housewares and clothing shopping destination, has arrived in New York City with its first store in the United States. The company has created an anti-brand that fetishizes brand-free minimalism, a philosophy of "simplicity achieved through a complexity of thought and design" according to PR materials. And, people fetishize MUJI, which has until now only maintained a mini-shop at the MoMA Design Store before opening a full-fledged store in SoHo last week (for wall-to-wall coverage of the opening day, be sure to check out New York shopping blog Racked).
I attended a press preview on Friday morning to find out what the MUJI phenomenon was all about and to see what it offered to the culinary-minded shopper. While not as large as many of the other "flagship" chain stores that now dominate SoHo, the MUJI experience can be overwhelming, with a floor to ceiling selection of household goods -- from bedding and storage containers -- and clothing. Indecisive shoppers beware -- if you are one, like myself, you might lose upwards of 30 minutes poring over the stationary display, which includes accessories to build your own custom pen. Sheesh.
Turning to kitchen supplies, there's a fine selection of minimalist bone china and porcelain dishware and teapots. MUJI sells its own line of pots. pans, woks, and standard kitchen tools. Of these, I took home an inexpensive hand-held slicer and grater. There were woven cotton placemats and coasters in mostly muted colors (as is almost everything in the store). Among the glassware selection I found insulated glasses similar to these, only cheaper and holding the shape of a beer vessel inside a tall glass. But, most intriguing of all might have been the short, skinny rolls of plastic and aluminum wrap and semi-opaque plastic cases designed to hold them. This was what the MUJI sensibility was all about (and perfect for a space-starved New York apartment). You could probably fit four of these small, simple, color-less containers in the space occupied by a big yellow box of stretch-tite. This is how MUJI could suck you in and make you become a believer. First, it's the plastic wrap and the next thing you know you'll be there spending hours building your own pens.
More photos after the jump.Read More >
Despaña Brand Foods, the Queens-based importer and manufacturer of Spanish food products, is branching out with a new Manhattan store opening today on the eastern edge of Soho.
The company, which has been in the business of importing and producing Spanish specialties for 35 years, is a major wholesale supplier to New York City restaurants, including Casa Mono, Bar Jamon, and Daniel. Four years ago, owners Marcos and Angelica Intriago opened a tiny retail shop in Jackson Heights (previously featured here). "We found that more and more people were getting interested in our products," Ms. Intriago told me. "But, we just didn't have the kind of space to do what we wanted to do there."
The bright new 1,500 square foot space, awash in sunlight, carries a wide range of imported Spanish products, including Serrano ham, olive oils, vinegars, and cheeses, along with specialty items like honeys from the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Calasparra rice, a super-absorbent short grain rice that is perfect for paella. Despaña’s own line of house-made chorizo and morcilla, blood pudding, are available, along with imported dry-cured chorizo and lomo, dry-cured pork loin.
If you find your appetite growing while perusing the shop, you can bite into bocadillos, small sandwiches stuffed with cured meats and cheeses. There are also plans for a regular series of in-store tastings of the shop's products.
"You can find Spanish ingredients in gourmet stores, but you can’t find them all in one place," says Ms. Intriago. "Now, this will be your best bet for all of the special things people crave from Spain."
Despaña, 408 Broome Street, between Lafayette Street and Cleveland Place (212.219.5050).
Founded in 1946, Bridge Kitchenware is the ultimate cook's resource. Stocked floor to ceiling with nearly every cooking tool imaginable, including a particularly large supply of bakeware, it is the "go-to" cookware store when you need something unique, such as a blini pan or a madeleine mold.
Bridge Kitchenware’s dusty, workmanlike atmosphere stands in direct contrast to slick kitchen supply superstores such as Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table. Walking around the shop's narrow aisles, you might mistake it for an old hardware store. Seemingly ancient wooden drawers contain a stash of arcane molds and utensils. Were it not for the shelves stocked with the latest cooking appliances or the walls lined with the popular orange silicone bakeware, you might think that the shop is intact from the 1940s. Follow the link below for more photos from a recent visit.
Bridge Kitchenware, 214 East 52nd Street, New York, New York 10022 (212.688.4220).