After taking Foods of NY Tours’ Chelsea Market & Meatpacking District tour the day before I was thoroughly looking forward to my next experience, the Original Greenwich Village Tour, produced by the same good folks at Foods of NY Tours. I did not know this at the time, but this was going to be my best food tour experience yet.
Our meeting place was Murray’s Cheese. As I stepped inside the food shop, I was greeted by Todd himself, the owner of Foods of NY Tours, who was greeting guests and ushering them into the store. Once I got inside, my food tour guide Cindy, welcomed me with a great big grin on her face. This is going to be a great morning, I thought to myself.
It turned out that Murray’s Cheese was a tease, and that we were going to be starting at Joe’s Pizza, which was a few steps away.
We had a full group of 16 guests, and once we got inside, me and a few others planted ourselves next to the bubbling pizzas. Here, we tasted the Classic Neapolitan pizza topped with mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes, a type of plum tomato that’s considered by most chefs to be the best in the world.
Joe’s Pizza was established by Joe Pozzuoli who was born in Naples, Italy – the birthplace of pizza. They have become a staple in the Greenwich Village and have been making the classic New York sliced pizza for over 37 years. They are a hole in the wall, with no fancy toppings or gimmicky budget pizza; they are the original, the tried and true – the real deal.
O & Co.
O & Co. specializes in very high quality olive oil, truffle and other accompaniments. I learned two very interesting facts here. Did you know that the only difference between black and green olives is that black olives are ripe, while green olives are not? Also, fresh olives that have not been brined are extremely bitter tasting.
We tasted the lavender honey and white truffle salt on a sliced French bread. Boy, this was one of the most memorable things I ate while in New York. It seems so simple, yet the taste completely blew my mind. It’s the most delicate – absolutely perfect – pairing. I returned to O & Co. after the tour and bought both the truffle salt, lavendar honey as well as the Parmigiano Reggiano and Truffle Cream. I highly recommend you try it at home, you will be very pleasantly surprised.
Home is a quaint farm to table style restaurant that is known for its usage of local ingredients and homemade ketchup. We tasted a delicious mac ‘n cheese topped with bread crumbs. It would have be served in a skillet when ordered off the menu, but on the tour, it was served in a small aluminum container. I would love to come back next time to and order their burger with onion rings and “catsup” as well as their version of Grandma’s chocolate pudding. I think when you’re known for something as simple as ketchup, or catsup as they say it, it’s gotta be good!
Centro Vinoteca is a trendy Italian restaurant where we stopped by to taste their Truffle Deviled Egg, Artichoke and Fritter. The truffle deviled egg was the big winner for me. I’ve never had truffle in deviled egg before, but I’m sure going to start putting truffle in my deviled eggs now!
Milk & Cookies Bakery
When we arrived at the doorstep of Milk & Cookies Bakery, the smell of freshly baked cookies rushed out at me. We had their original chocolate chip cookie. What makes the cookies here so good is that not only are they freshly baked, but also because they use European-style high-fat content butter and really good vanilla – Madagascar-Bourbon vanilla bean extract.
Murray’s Cheese is New York’s oldest cheese shop. Murray’s opened over seventy years ago in Greenwich Village, initially as a small neighborhood cheese shop. Today Murray’s is a thriving retail and wholesale business, operates a restaurant, and offers cheese classes. There’s actually a cheese cave right beneath the retail store at 254 Bleecker St where more than 100 cheeses are kept to ripen. Murray’s offers Cheese Cave Tours, named one of the 50 Coolest Places to see in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. We tasted an assortment of cow, goat and lamb cheeses and olives here.
Our last tasting location was Pasticceria Rocco where we tasted their famous cannoli – it’s filled to order so that the pastry is nice and crunchy when it you eat it.
This was a memorable tour not only because I experienced some really fantastic food, but also because I learned a ton of interesting things about New York’s popular Greenwich Village.