Wednesday, June 25, 2014
A Visit to Zabar's
Within the first week or so of meeting Andrew, he had already told me about his family's tradition of eating Zabar's dinners, which consist of various cheeses, charcuterie, bread and wine. In my family, these are the things we snack on, but Andrew's family makes a whole meal of it and it is glorious! One day several years ago, after I told my mother-in-law about the crème fraîche story, she told me with all seriousness that their family values include good cheese near the top of the list.
Zabar's dinners can be eaten as a picnic while camping or out on the back patio or around the fire in the winter. It's simple and delicious, and a real treat. This is not an every week occurrence, but we usually indulge every couple of months.
There are many amazing cheese shops in New York, but when Andrew was a baby his parents lived a few blocks from Zabar's. At that time, in the 1970s, the area was redlined and they couldn't even get a bank loan. It's hard to imagine now since it seems so fancy. When his parents left New York, and no longer had access to Zabar's, the tradition continued and the name has stuck all these years.
Since I had been hearing about Zabar's for years, a visit was a must-do for me on our trip to New York.
After spending the morning in the Natural History Museum, we strolled over to Andrew's old house.
And then we went around the corner to Zabar's to pick out cheeses for a picnic in the park. We picked some local cheeses that we couldn't buy at home and got some salami and crusty bread.
We had visited Eataly earlier in the week with its slick shelves filled with pricey olive oils and designer salts, and it was a real contrast. Zabar's clearly has just as good of a selection, if not better, but it felt like the kind of place that real people shop, a place with history and character. The kind of place that feels real. I think think this was my favorite day of the whole trip!