Tarry Market 11/27/2010
Port Chester, New York, a tiny sleeper town that’s slowly being regentrified, has been home for the last few years to Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge, a scrumptious Italian restaurant whose food lives up to Batali fans’ expectations without having to get to the City to enjoy it.  Earlier this month, Batali and his partners, the Bastianich family, opened Tarry Market ~ a marketplace and wine shop I ventured over to today that resides just next door to the Lodge.  Thought not an inexpensive find, visits may now become part of my weekend routine.

When you walk into the market place, a coffee and wine tasting bar are situated to your right.  For $2 I sampled an ounce of Bastianich Vitivoltori Friulani Sauvignon “B” 2009 in a glass goblet as I wandered through the shop.  Though I generally prefer a rather full bodied red, I was sure to stop into the wine shop and purchase a bottle before I headed home.  It was crisp and sweet but not cloyingly so, and was just the perfect amount for a mid-afternoon treat.

As you might imagine of a Batali establishment, cheese, meats and homemade pasta are the stars.  My 10 year old non-vegan son sampled fresh mozzarella, pecorino and tallegio cheese.  When he described the latter as having a texture similar to mozzarella with a taste like a pecorino/piave blend, the man helping us was blown away and recommended he attend culinary school!

At the bountiful bread counter we picked up an herbed foccacia and sampled a variety of olive oils, settling on the La Mozza Extra Virgin Olive Oil which boasts a subtle yet slightly salted olive flavor.  There I also picked up La Favorita Figh’s Crema di Carciofi de Aglio ~a spread of artichokes, garlic, olive oil and sea salt.  For an artichoke lover like me, words cannot express what a delicacy I found.  I spread a bit on a thin popcorn cake…or 3!  I may need to try it over pasta or roasted potato.  It is unlike anything I have ever had.

There was a counter with prepared foods ~ broccoli rabe, eggplant caponata, and some other items you might expect in an Italian market ~ but what was new to me was the butternut squash caponata with golden raisins, pine nuts, fresh parsley and red onions braised in red wine and sugar.  It is scrumptious!  (Trust me, I tried it just after the artichoke spread!)

At the register I picked up a vegan chocolate bar that caught my eye ~ Mast Brothers 72% cacao with fleur de sel.  It seemed the right way to conclude my visit.  It is an acquired taste for sure, but I think a small square or two will be a nice compliment to a glass of pinot noir as winter approaches.

Next week: Eataly!  Stay tuned.


Veg and the City