In London, the weekly shop makes sense, both in terms of saving money and getting a decent choice of good quality produce. Not here. First of all, real-estate in Manhattan is expensive, so the stores tend to be smaller, which really limits what they can offer. They also tend to jack up their prices accordingly. In my local Food Emporium, for example, freshly-made pizza is non-existent. I had to make-do with a minging frozen pizza for $12.95 (about £8). Talk about daylight robbery!
I only fared slight better during today’s trip to D’Agostino. A small ring of chorizo from there set me back $9.99 (about £6) – almost twice the price what I would have paid back in my local Sainsburys. At these prices, it’s easy to understand why people often eat out or get take-away. It often works out pretty much the same, cost-wise. And you don’t have to wash up.
In case you’re tempted to think these are just the whinings of a naive immigrant, check out the comments about my local Food Emporium and D’Agostino on Yelp. Other Brits in New York have told me the same. It’s pretty official. Food shopping in Manhattan is a joke.
My flatmate advised me to make a weekly pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s in Chelsea or Whole Foods Market in Columbus Circle. I love Whole Foods Market, but do Manhattanites really have to schlep right across town just to do the weekly shop? This is madness – madness, I tell you! Several chains do offer online deliveries (which I was a big fan of in London), but I’ve yet to experiment with that.
One final note – supermarkets here don’t tend to sell wine – and those that do seem to only sell a few Lambrini equivalents. The good news is that NYC abounds with off-licences. Now virtually extinct in Britain, they seem to be doing just fine here, with not one but three decent outlets within walking distance of my flat. Cheers!