Travel

New York City Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
Brooklyn Tea
524 Nostrand Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant
In this town, we feel like coffee culture is taken very seriously—layered notes this, caramel notes that—while the world of tea often takes a backseat. But tea has a deep complexity and global culture all its own. Alfonso Wright and Jamila McGill, the duo behind Brooklyn Tea, get it. Their tea room on Nostrand Avenue is the spot for a steaming pot of Japanese sencha or single-estate Assam. The owners are incredibly knowledgeable about tea farming and emphasize the importance of choosing loose-leaf over industrially produced bagged tea. (Tea bags are generally bleached, and the crushed, dusty tea leaves they contain are often of an inferior quality compared to whole, loose-leaf options). Trade your weekend coffee for tea and sip it among the tea connoisseurs that frequent this gem of a café.
The Goods Mart
189 Lafayette St., Soho
Founder Rachel Krupa had an ambitious goal when she opened The Goods Mart in Silver Lake: to create a convenience store unlike any other in the country. Now, with the Silver Lake location sadly shuttered, The Goods Mart has made a move east, occupying a much-needed space on Lafayette in SoHo. Think of it as the corner store for a new era, where prices are low (a cup of amazing coffee is a steal at $1.25), the quality is high, and the mission is rooted in community. Shelves are devoid of artificial colors, flavors, and other nasties and even the slushies are made with organic ingredients and served in paper—not plastic—cups. But back to the mission: Customers have the option of donating to different monthly charities at checkout, while good food approaching its sell-by date is delivered to the homeless in partnership with the nonprofit Lunch on Me. In the spirit of adapting to the times we live in, The Goods Mart has curated healthy snack boxes for national delivery. Donate one to frontline workers while you’re at it right from the site.
Sol Cacao
Three brothers developed a taste for quality cacao while growing up in the Caribbean eating chocolate made from trees they had grown (and picked from) themselves. Cut to: Dominic, Nicholas, and Daniel Maloney craft single-origin, bean-to-bar dairy- and nut-free, organic, fair-trade chocolate in Harlem. A square or two of Sol Cacao’s 70 percent plus chocolate is the kind of rich, slightly sweet, slightly bitter treat you enjoy with a glass of red wine after dinner or with a thimble of espresso in the afternoon—it’s to be savored. Find Sol Cacao sprinkled throughout New York City's best artisanal food purveyors like Chelsea Market, Chicky's General store, and Brooklyn Larder, as well as at Whole Foods and online.
Uva Wines & Spirits
237 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
Brooklynites, rejoice: Bedford Avenue’s Uva is offering free delivery of its extensive selection of wines and spirits to most of the borough, and it’s shipping throughout the state. When it’s open, it’s not unusual to spot a leading NYC restaurateur or a food writer you’re obsessed with browsing the shelves of this small spot alongside locals who know a lot about wine. What we’re saying is that Uva is a wine shop for wine lovers, to the point that it has an entire section devoted to rare and fine bottles. And there are tons of affordably priced, interesting-to-drink bottles, too. If you’re in a curious yet noncommittal mood, click on a $15 bottle of Chilean Cabernet Franc. If you want to splurge or try something entirely new, hit the natural wine section or go wild on unusual champagnes. Uva has it all, and the enthusiastic staffers are available to help.
Bed-Vyne Wine
385 Tompkins Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant
Bed-Vyne Wine & Spirits is a collaboration from four wine and booze enthusiasts. Instead of sticking to the rubric and categorizing its inventory by region only, Bed-Vyne opts for accessibility and categorizes by taste. Do you like sweet? Dry? Earthy? Floral? Bed-Vyne has it all, and much of it is unusual. On the spirits end, the founders favor locally made and artisanal products and wine produced by Black-owned wineries, plus wines made under their own Bed-Vyne label. Order for local delivery via Drizly or download the custom app to scroll through the inventory and load up your cart.
Dandelion Wines
153 Franklin St., Greenpoint
Greenpoint’s Dandelion Wines, helmed by Lily Peachin, revels in sourcing the weirdest small-batch female-produced wines from around the globe. Pre-COVID, this hole-in-the-wall neighborhood store was a treasured spot to stop by, browse a few unusual-looking bottles, and have a couple of sips. Now that experience has gone virtual with online tastings and gorgeous curated six-packs of wine that change weekly. Order via the website (take a look around and pick up some accessibly written wine knowledge while you’re there) for delivery in the New York City area and shipping nationwide.
Flatiron Wine and Spirits
929 Broadway, Flatiron
If you happen to live within a few blocks of the superb Flatiron Wines & Spirits, you can take advantage of free delivery on its full inventory. Its site has a handy “how to buy wine online” section, with tips for both novices and oenophiles, which translates to a full cart in no time. In response to the current crisis, Flatiron Wines has partnered with various California wineries to donate between $10 and $50 per case of certain wines sold to ROAR and the United Sommelier Foundation. If you love restaurants and want to support the chefs and servers who have prepared and served your Saturday suppers over the years, buy a case from this section.
Le Dû’s Wines
600 Washington St., Greenwich Village
Le Dû’s Wines in the West Village is offering free shipping in the Tri-State area, which we’re interpreting as an invitation to splurge. Le Dû’s aims to make the often-daunting world of good wine more accessible, and its informative site reflects that credo. If you’re lost on where to begin, scroll down to the bestsellers and follow the pack. Otherwise, enjoy loading your cart with Chenin blanc and Provençal rosé for the hot summer days ahead.
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