Scouting: Ninth Avenue International Grocery

  Ninth Avenue International Grocery  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Ninth Avenue International Grocery | Image: Laura Messersmith

The Ninth Avenue International Grocery is in the shadow of the Port Authority bus overpass on a grittier section of 9th Ave. Not necessarily the place I expected to find a wonderland of cooking ingredients. The shop itself is no frills, but the counter assistants are so friendly and helpful; thank goodness too because there is so much to choose from.

  Ninth Avenue International Grocery   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Ninth Avenue International Grocery | Image: Laura Messersmith

  Ninth Avenue International Grocery   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Ninth Avenue International Grocery | Image: Laura Messersmith

Sacks of beans and lentils, ground flours of all varieties take up most of the floor space, while bottles of olive oil and jars of honey, not to mention the bins of whole and ground spices, nuts and dried fruit line the walls. I had a hard time knowing where to start and with prices well below what I’ve paid in the past it was hard to know when to stop!

I noticed that one pound of French green lentils - aka. lentilles du Puy - at Ninth Ave. is $1.99 compared with the $4.99 per pound my neighborhood grocery store charges. No contest, right? Naturally I took a sack of them home with me for future batches of Salmon with Lentils.

  Ninth Avenue International Grocery   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Ninth Avenue International Grocery | Image: Laura Messersmith

  Ninth Avenue International Grocery   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Ninth Avenue International Grocery | Image: Laura Messersmith

Word to the wise, if you don't see something: ASK! When I inquired I learned that they had three different types of pumpkin seeds and the whole vanilla beans were tucked away in one of the refrigerated coolers. A few scoops of toasted pumpkins seeds came home with me and I now have big plans for making vanilla sugar with the two beans wrapped carefully in waxed paper and now tucked in my own fridge. I'm excited to go back and explore the boxes and packets I couldn't get to on my first visit. Now I know where to find future inspiration. Stay tuned…

Ninth Avenue International Grocery | 543 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10018 | M-F 7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Sa 7:30 am – 6:00 pm