Sunday, October 16, 2011

Exploring The Tarry Market

It is no secret that I am a big fan of the Bastianch and Batali crew, including the matriarch Lidia, culinary wiz Mario and deal maestro Joe B.  I refer to them as the BB crew. They just get it. Lidia time and time again captures the essence of regional Italian cuisine, while Mario expands it with bold global influences. And Joe - well I dare to speculate -  he packages it up into a complete experience, one that can play out in the aisles or in cozy dining venue. 

Around 4 pm today, I thought I'd get some coffee, buy some artisan bread and pick up a key ingredient for a dish I have been planning: goat milk ricotta. So I fired up the green mini coop, and zipped to Tarry Market. When I entered the store I was amazed. The place was packed: dense in people and dense with new goods. I have been following the store's evolution from the very first days they opened their doors to the public.  The Market first tested the waters with meat, cheese, fresh pasta counters and a super bakery. Then came a small nook filled with a small collection of eclectic veggies. 

Autumnal Cornucopia

Today, the veggies section has burst into a rich cornucopia of warm colors and high-end ingredients that are likely to intrigue. Don't you folks remember the dragon tongues, blue colored string beans, that I recently prepared with Danish blue cheese sauce?

Fancy Cheese Counter
Let me get back to shopping. I meandered through the aisles and made my way towards the back of the store, past the pasta and past the great cheese section where clove cheese really got my attention. I got real close to it too  and took a very good look. Wow, I could see little cloves embedded throughout the cheese. On my wish list, next time I go to the store.


Fresh Fragrant Breads
My journey took me past the bakery section which now produces all sorts of great tasting breads. My favorite, a multi-grain boule,  tastes even better the day after, especially when smeared with bit of  good, room temperature Irish butter.

A few glances later, and like a raptor, I honed in on my prey, the missing ingredient for fancy roasted eggplant cannelloni that had been envisioning.  Fresh Ricotta cheese is great, but goat milk ricotta has the power to add a burst of flavor when it is used as a replacement for the more traditional ingredient. I intended on boosting its flavor,  even a bit further by blending it with some french Chèvre.  Stay tuned for a  future post to find out how the cannelloni turned out [editors note: click here for cannelloni post ]


But there was more going on at Tarry Market that day.  Some great wine tasting was also happening amidst the aisles. If you do not know, the Tarry Market also sports an adjacent wine store, correction top class wine market which carries all sorts of Italian wines, alongside a few others from France, Spain  and other usual suspects.  Today a Tarry Market associate today was charged with the task of offering samples to patrons like me.  "Would you like to taste some wine", he asked. Well, he did not have to ask me twice.

Great thing about this about the tasting was that some lesser known varietals were being proposed. That's right, we are not talking about your usual Pinots and Cabernets, but grapes worth experimenting with .If you read in between the lines, I think the store's mission was to help people step out of their boring, predictable wine ennui, and cross into into wine adventure land by carrying more that buyers are less acquainted with.  For me - not that I live in wine darkness - this meant  exposure to a dry Brachetto, yes the varietal that is usually delivered as a sparkling red known as Brachetto D'acqui Brachetto over time has impressed many of my friends, male or female, married and single, and brings back memories of a trip to Florence where I first learned about it.  When I sampled the Brachetto and its distinctive floral bouquet bounced right at me, my immediate reaction was to summon my queen so that she could join me and sample by my side. It was not that I needed her blessing to purchase a bottle, I just wanted her to experience wine tasting at the market on a Sunday afternoon. So she joined me, she sipped, she approved. One more item in the shopping basket.

Leoncini Brand Mortadella
Tarry Market is evolving for sure. It  is becoming a hang out place and helping push Port Chester as a culinary phenom to new heights.  I now routinely see groups of vibrant  characteristically Italian men sipping coffee and talking business, reminiscing about the old country, sitting side by side to elements from a  more sophisticated, latte-drinking , iPad-carrying crowd (I might be one of them) watching families, baby carriages and all, with a dash of European inspired attitude, This menagerie of patrons, I bet,  had discovered  the Market as a new suburban destination.

It is also apparent to me that the distinctive Tarry Market branding is sticking.  The Tarry "T" with its antiqued design and patina, is recognizable on the streets of Port Chester, nearby Greenwich and now Westport CT, where I've heard the BB empire is continuing its expansion. I wonder: is this about a masstige trend or is it that NY metro's constant exposure to "more  authentic" has just been changing what people seek to satisfy their daily gourmet tastes? Did you catch that? Daily gourmet tastes. Well I think we have reached the tipping point , and the BB team is helping to make it even more wonderful. Good job!

Maybe some body in the BB crew will also notice me.

Salute!



Postscript:  I checked in to foursquare and I was told that I had become mayor.  Mirable visu !

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