Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hippie Dippie

Despite all my years living in Manhattan, I don't think it is any secret that I have a tiny but powerful hippie streak. I don't own anything made of hemp and I do occasionally wash my hair, but I love the whole "be kind to the earth and each other and eat non processed food" ethos that the hippies (if there are any true hippies left anymore) subscribe to.

So where do I get my hippie fix in the yuppie morass that is New York? Why I'm glad you asked. Take thee to 13th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenue, and you will find the Integral Yoga Institute. Now as much as I enjoy yoga, I don't come here for my namastes. Hatha yoga is a bit gentle for me...I tend to fall asleep rather than breath through my elbows or whatever odd thing it is they always direct you to do. No, I come here for food.

I don't have one favorite food shop in New York. Rather, I have several that I like for different things. Sort of like a group of friends I suppose. There's Citarella for fish and nice peaches, there's the Union Square Greenmarket for my seasonal produce (at the moment that is basically potatoes), milk, butter and eggs, Florence Meat Market for my meat (delicious bacon), Buon Italia for nut flours, pasta, pancetta and parmesan, Trader Joe's for cheap nuts, dried fruit and their Valencia peanut butter with flax seeds, Fairway when I need a lot of different items and am feeling thrifty, and Whole Foods when I'm too lazy to trek up to Fairway.

Integral Yoga is where I go for honey, maple syrup, rice and barley syrups, pretty much any grain or flour that I'm looking for, and generally anything weird (a specific type of seaweed, for instance or manuka honey).

The place is tiny but packs quite a selection into that little space. With the hippie version of pretty much every grocery store staple, organic fruit and produce, beauty products and a juice bar in the back (I adore the place but for the love of god do not order their crazy green juice combos) you can get pretty much all that you need. But a lot of it is pretty pricey.

Since I am cheap, the stuff I gravitate towards are the items that they sell in bulk. For instance, you can get a half pint of clover honey for about $1.60. A pint of brown rice syrup for less than that, and a half pint of maple syrup is $3. And I cannot leave out their wonderful nut butters...peanut, cashew, almond, a mixture of all...can be had for less than $2 for a half pint. The shelf o' syrupy yet natural sweeteners and nut butters:

They also have a wonderful selection of bulk grains and flours. I always buy my oats, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds for granola here, my non-white bread flours (stone ground wheat, rye, whole wheat pastry), steel cut oats, and any and all whole grain I'm in the market for. In fact, I recently have been getting into baking whole grain breads and was wondering where on earth I would find wheat berries to make sprouted wheat. But lo and behold, I not only found wheat berries here, but also rye berries and kamut (whatever that is, I will let you know shortly as it is currently sitting on my kitchen counter).

The tiny but well stocked bulk grains aisle, looking into their fabulous organic produce section:

Although I don't generally come here to shop for produce, I must say that their selection is always of high quality, and frankly, if you are very commited to organic, their prices on fresh fruit and veggies are quite fair. So hippie or not, it is most certainly worth a try. If for nothing else, than for their chocolate covered papaya treats!


Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

I like that you have a little bit of hippie in you, Laura. The world would be a better place if everyone did. Only a little, though, or nothing would get done. When we're in New York, we try to stay on the UWS at the Milburn. They have tiny kitchens, and we can shop at Fairway and pretend we live in New York.

Laura said...

I believe my parents have stayed in that very establishment!

pve design said...

fess up, do you macrame?
I love that you are one part hippie.

Laura said...

You've found me out!

Unknown said...

Er, somehow I don't think of you and hippie perse ... maybe it's because you're not a tofu and sprouts kind of gal.

Laura said...

Well compared to you I'm practically Alex P. Keaton! I do like my sprouts, and I'll eat tofu. But you haven't convinced me on the seiten yet.

Ulla said...

i live right next to this place and have never been. i find the whole hippie vibe intimidating. i just ran out of oats! looks great!thanks for the heads up.

Laura said...

I would die to live right there! You have got to give it a try.

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