Aldi is a German retailer which operates some 1,500 stores in the US (who knew? I certainly didn’t). Stores provide limited selections of carefully tested merchandise at rock-bottom prices: private labeled or off-brand staples, plus an ever-changing range of close-out items. Many target a low-income consumer, but sprinkled in are some exceptional quality items at fabulous prices.
Before there were supermarkets, before Whole Foods and Wegmans and Shop Right landed on Rt. 1 (like the Martian invaders of Orson and HG Wells’ combined imaginations), there was a Di Paola’s raising turkeys right outside of Trenton. It’s still there. No doubt, 60-odd years ago, the corner butcher in Trenton featured Di Paola’s turkeys. … Continue reading Fresh Clucked→
Several weeks ago, I stepped into Championship Sports Bar and Grill (“No Sports, No Grill“) for a drink. I noticed behind the cash register were two large containers of an intoxicating-looking green liquor. “Is it absinth?” I queried Griffin, my bartender. “No,” he replied, “It is pickle juice. Trenton artisanal pickle juice.” Of course, this was an … Continue reading In a Pickle… or a Jam→
Sometimes, you need to escape to something over-priced, pretentious, and utterly scrumptious. And on those days, you’d better get in the car and go to Brick Farm Market.
Brick Farm Market is located in the Malek Chevrolet Building (a 1930’s brick auto-repair shop) in the center of Hopewell. It is about a 30 minute drive from Trenton. A beautifully renovated establishment, they are part farm market (from their sister farm, Double Brook Farm), part bakery, part coffee shop, part butcher, part cheese shop, and part deli. It’s a little bit like walking into the cafe shop of a Whole Foods, only the food is superior, the ambiance is nicer, and the prices are (believe it or not) slightly higher. Is it worth it? Occasionally.
Gravity Hill Farm is an immaculately managed, certified organic farm located in Titusville. Three days each week (Tu, Sa, Su) the farm organizes a market selling its own produce. Sundays it invites other local farms to join the sale: typically a local organic dairy farm that produces cheeses, and a second, local farm raising grass-fed beef and lamb. The quality is impeccable. Selection and variety is targeting chefs and foodies.
I passed the African Caribbean Market (“ACM”) for years before I stopped in. The issue for me (and I would venture for most readers of Hidden Trenton) is that neither West Indian nor west African cooking are on my culinary radar screen, so I have little reason to stop. Still, it’s a measure of the … Continue reading Ghana Get Me Some→
City Beef is principally a wholesaler, serving restaurants in the City of Trenton and Mercer County at large. However, it is happy to sell retail, even in small quantities. Note that the provisions here are not the post-modern, chi-chi stuff. But if you’re on a budget, and are looking for conventional provisions of good quality at spectacular prices, this is the place to go.
Trenton (and its surrounding environs) has a lot of terrific places to get food, from the in-town grocery stores (Food Bazaar and Supreme) to the official Trenton Farmers Market (technically not in Trenton) and the many many many specialty vendors. But it remains a town with so-called “food deserts” (places that lack access to fresh … Continue reading Greening the Parking Lot→
It is hard to find a good source for Asian ingredients around the city of Trenton. For years, I’d been driving up to the Asian Food Market in Plainsboro, which is a traffic-filled ride along Route 1. It’s a market with an impressive selection, but poor service and a not-so-clean environment. So when I stumbled upon H Mart in Levittown, PA, I was delighted. It’s closer, cleaner, and features a surprisingly decent Korean food court style restaurant inside of it. A true find.
Situated on the far edge of Nassau Street in downtown Princeton, you’ll find a new store–Arlee’s Raw Blends. It’s a vegan cold-pressed organic raw juice company that also offers other health-conscious snacks (dehydrated raw mango and pineapple, raw kale salads, etc). It’s a pricy treat, but the quality is superb and the business was founded … Continue reading Organic Juices That Deliver→
Are you craving celeriac or fantasizing for fresh fava? Then walk over the bridge to the Morrisville Garden Farm Market, the cheapest place (nearly) in town for non-local fresh produce. Directly over the Calhoun Street Bridge in Morrisville, this place is so close to Trenton it might as well be part of the city. And it offers fruit and vegetables at prices that put the Trenton grocery stores to shame.
Amidst the suburban sprawl of the Rte. 1 corridor, it’s easy to view NJ’s slogan, “The Garden State” as little more than an anachronism. But head due south from Trenton on 206, and you soon find yourself in honest-to-goodness farmland that still supports truck farming. The Columbus Farmer’s market is one of the commercial centers of this area of NJ, and is itself a bit of an anachronism. But it seems to be thriving, offering a mix of produce, meats, and baked goods.
Looking for fresh, organic, local vegetables and fruits? Honey Brook Organic Farm, located in nearby Pennington in the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve, is the oldest organic farm in New Jersey, founded in 1991. And they DELIVER TO TRENTON, dropping off boxes of “shares” weekly at a home in the Mill Hill section, where (if you live in Trenton) you can pick it up easily.
“So where do you shop for food?” has been one of those haunting questions for us Trenton residents for many years. In truth, despite the good efforts of the Supreme Supermarket, for years there hasn’t been a store in town where you’d want to buy food for a dinner party. Until now. In June of 2008, the somewhat mercurial Bogopa Food Services Corp opened it’s 12th Food Bazaar Store in Trenton’s Roebling Market. At 67,000 SF, it’s 3x the size of any other food market within Trenton City limits.
From the outside, Henry’s looks like an old-school luncheonette, which went out of fashion in the early 1960’s. However, peer through the window, and you see something’s up with the large, modern cooking area, and nicely stocked shelves. Then you realize all the packages have Polish labels, and you remember that you’re at the very epicenter of the Polish section of Trenton: European Bakery is next door, Cosmo Food Market is across the street, and Rozmaryn Restaurant is around the corner.
The European Bakery (“EB”) is the expanded successor to the Eagle Bakery (now closed), which used to operate two blocks down Olden Street. It offers a wonderful variety of authentic Polish-style baked goods – pastries, cakes, and breads – plus a well-stocked deli with cold cuts, sausages, and an assortment of grocery items.
P&G Trading Company is one of central NJ’s premiere purveyors of fine seafoods to the wholesale trade. The heart of their business is delivering seafood to restaurants and groceries. While they used to have a retail store, they recently ran out of room in the warehouse and had to close it. However, I am assured by the owner that they will still sell retail, though only now in case quantities or whole sides of fish.
Supreme is a decent sized market (10,000 SF, not a 60,000 SF superstore). The prices are reasonable, the meat, fish, and produce sections (targeting Hispanic buyers) are actually quite good, and the produce is fresh. Very cool.
The Farmer’s Market is located just over the border from Trenton in Lawrence (though with a Trenton postal address), and is located near Trenton’s Polish enclave. It’s truly a first-rate farmer’s market, with nine produce venders, three butchers, several bakeries, an Amish market, several restaurants and a plethora of antique, craft, and gift stores. It is also a terrific value, particularly if you purchase 2nd quality produce (sometimes slightly bruised or just misshapen) which is offered by many of the vendors at an enormous discount.
Put another way…all those suburban Italian restaurants which are driving the Chambersburg eateries out of business? Many of them are serving Porfirio’s products. Ain’t capitalism wonderful? If you live or work in Trenton, the place to go is the Anderson Street store. There you’ll find at least 11 different varieties of fresh-made ravioli in stock
Halo has survived by offering good quality dairy products (including all different varieties of milk, including lactose free, plus orange juice, iced team, lemonade, eggs, and importantly ICE CREAM) at warehouse prices.
The Cosmo is at the epicenter of Trenton’s Polish neighborhood, right on the NW corner of Olden and Brunswick. It’s a mini holiday just to enter and browse the shelves. They’re packed with European grocery items: cookies, candies, dozens of varieties of pickles and jarred preserves.