So you haven’t even washed your Antoine Dodson costume from Halloween and it is already Thanksgiving next week! Welcome to adulthood, and the crazy sleigh ride that is the Fall Holiday Season.
Let’s talk Turkey. Didn’t order one? Thought that pre-orders were only for Grandmothers and fussy event planners? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered, and it doesn’t even have to be a tasteless frozen bowling ball from the freezer section at the grocery store! Think Turkey is a country and not an acceptable holiday meal? Not a problem either. Our butchers are old school and they can make all of your old school/nouveau traditions possible, even on a budget.
Below, a list of a few of my favorite businesses in Astoria.
Why a butcher? Because butchering isn’t just a rock and roll career where bankers and hipsters follow you around with worshipful bambi eyes, it is also an age old art. If you can forge a relationship with your butcher, I urge you to do it NOW. The butcher LOVES it when you cook his/her products with love. They WANT you to succeed. If you are unclear about how much you need, which cut would be better, more economical, etc, you can ASK YOUR BUTCHER and they will be too happy to answer. When was the last time you had a real conversation about cooking in a supermarket meat aisle?
International Meat Market (36-12 30th Ave.)
M- Sat 8am-7pm CLOSED Thanksgiving Day
Big John and Little John run this place with a lot of heart and even more knowledge. They are excellent guys to have in your corner and I don’t know anyone who has ever left unhappy. They are very particular about what makes it into their butcher case—if they wouldn’t take it home and cook it, they won’t sell it to you. D’Artagnan, Murrays, free range and organic are all represented here. Free Range Turkeys start at 3.29 a pound. If you want some duck, rack of lamb, leg of lamb, (we are in ASTORIA, after all), capon, prime rib or even filet mignon, they can accommodate you. They also carry stock, demi glace, some good cheese, sausage, bacon, anchovy stuffed olives, and an entire wall of Italian/Greek products. I won’t lie to you, you are better off stopping by this weekend and ordering a turkey so the line isn’t so long next week, but if you can only muster going in once, that is fine too.
(Image courtesy of Yelp!)
Akropolis Meat (31-04 30th Ave.)
M-Sat 8am-7pm Sunday 9-4, CLOSED Thanksgiving Day
Vasilis is the man in charge here—he is such a badass that he recently got in a tangle with the bandsaw, wrapped his wounded finger up in a tourniquet, put on a plastic glove and KEPT WORKING. Ok, so later he ended up in the hospital, but still. Devotion. This is one of the most old school butchers in Astoria. No frills, and fair prices. Bell & Evans Turkeys rule the roost here, starting at 3.75 a pound. They always order enough for the slackers like me who decide what to buy the day before. They also have a full case of other options, including homemade (in the basement!) Loukaniko sausage, lamb, pigs, pork, beef and steaks and lamb chops that they marinate themselves. *Only organic choice here is Bell and Evans.
Yes, you can run through the Key Food and get all of your produce there, but… why would you? Why not cross the street and go to the market where the Greek Ladies shop? High turnover=fresh stuff!
(image courtesy of Yelp!)
Elliniki Agora (32-12 30th Ave.)
M-Sunday 24/7 Thanksgiving Day will close early, prob around 4pm
You want it? They have it. Dates, nuts, figs fresh and dried, loquats, citrus, chestnuts, dandelions sweet and bitter, lettuces, fresh horseradish, cardoons, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, local celery and celery root, apples and pears… everything you could possibly want to put on SERIOUS Thanksgiving. The green beans are so pretty this time of year; you might even want to make that casserole from scratch! The idea of it!! Herbs and mixed baby lettuces are kept at the back by the registers—you have to ask for them. Prices are fair and everything is fresh. Plus, since they are open 24 hours a day, you can stop in as you roll home from the bar.
Dry Goods, Etc:
Trade Fair (30-0 30th Ave.)
24/7 every day of the year
Canned Pumpkin? Check. Flour, sugar, organic heavy cream, Jamaican Ginger Beer, Fateer, 10 kinds of pita, pomegranate molasses, halal butcher, cheap and fresh spices, lime pickle, orange flower water, harissa, ayran, hummus, Brazilian products, entire aisle devoted to Basmati rice, another ½ aisle devoted to Goya products, deli counter, rice noodles, make your own sushi section… Check check chiggity check. If it isn’t here, they will order it for you—just ask. Ok, yes, they are always busy, and yes, sometimes it is so busy I call it The Trade Scare, but it is cheap and excellent and has FREE DELIVERY if you buy more than $25.
Next post: If you just can’t hack cooking, and didn’t get invited to anyone else’s Thanksgiving either, where to dine in the hood!