Dish + Drink: Op-Ed: The Joys of NYC Bodegas

Now you can read us on your iPhone and iPad! Check out the BTRtoday app.

Those of you live in New York City know; there’s nothing like the NYC bodega. I don’t quite know how they developed into the culinary meccas that they have, but these unassuming little storefronts have become cultural hubs and destinations for coveted foodstuffs; like the legendary $4.00 Bacon, Egg, and Cheese (BEC).

Each deli has its own flavor, its own attitude and personality. Largely, this is defined by the population of the neighborhood within which they are located. You might find what would be labeled foreign or rare spices in a standard American grocery store placed casually by the register in a humble bodega in Brooklyn.

Why? Because they reflect the diverse communities that they serve, and if customers seek Yucca or whole Star Anise to prepare dishes on a regular basis, these items will be stocked. It can be an enlightening, educational experience to visit the delis in neighborhoods with various ethnic make-ups and learn about the ingredients that their cuisines incorporate.

And don’t even get me started on the cats. Yes, the Deli Cats. It’s still baffling to me how the Department Of Health doesn’t bust bodegas for allowing kittens to run around near areas where food is prepared, but thank goodness they don’t, because these little buggers make for delightful company as you traverse the aisles for chips. Some are friendlier than others, but they’re all pretty cute across the boards.

Thank you, NYC Bodegas, for making my life a little better each and every day.