Fair-market Value

The real cooks out there will know what I’m talking about: food shopping in Westchester is tough. A single dinner menu can have us pinging one “gourmet” store after another, in search of ripe Cabrales cheese or tiny, tender poussins. Of course, those glitzy boutiques are never cheap, affording their Carrera and antique bakers’ racks with inflated prices. And, sure, you could always try a supermarket, but good luck sourcing magret or salt-packed capers there. Whole Foods has its fans, and I admit it’s a pretty store, but those lovely butcher’s cases stress pre-seasoned, grill-ready meats over cook-friendly cuts. You won’t find humble pork shoulder, or even basics like crème fraiche, at Whole Foods.

All of which is why, for the last decade or so, I’d been making a weekly trek to the Harlem Fairway. If traffic is smiling, it’s about a 25-minute drive door-to-door—which is painful, but at least I know that I’ll find everything under one roof. Fairway’s cheese selection is curated by Steven Jenkins; he’s been knighted by the French government (as a “Chevalier du Taste-Fromage”). More familiarly, he’s authored Cheese Primer, an indispensible foodie reference. Fairway’s butcher section is vast, spanning my necessary oddball cuts to kosher and organics, and it’s “specialty items” are dizzyingly, ranging from boutique Spanish hams to English-made milk chocolates. In short, Fairway Market is like 25 “gourmet” and butcher shops in one—a fancy food market sans fanciness. I depend on it for wide-ranging foostuffs offered at reasonable prices.

And, sure, Fairway, Pelham Manor, won’t have its gritty Harlem sister’s gorgeous Hudson views—but at five minutes from my door, I can see it becoming my favorite weekly errand. (847 Pelham Pkwy, Post Rd Plz 914-712-0011)

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