Ive been shopping at jefferson market (6th Ave, bet 10 and 11) for over 10 years, but Im becoming less enthusiastic about going there, and am going more and more to garden of eden (14 Street at 5th Ave). Is it just me? Or is JM not as good as it used to be?
JM continues to have good range of meat and poultry. Bread counter is usually very good. Valente, Sullivan Street, and Barbaras bagettes are available (though on at least three recent occasions the bread has been stale, esp Sundays (the prompt for this post)). Im pretty disappointed with the cheese counter. Altho' heaps of cheeses are on display, there are few Id recommend. Cabot cheddar from Vermont is excellent, but the stilton is poor, and the camembert and brie are variable. Fruit and veg sections are limited. Their roast chicken to go is consistently good, though the other prepared foods are not so hot. Even though they moved into this new space a few years ago, it already feels out of date and the shop is badly organized (too many items you need a ladder to reach). The store that used to feel quirky because of its old-fashioned charm now feels dowdy.
In stark contrast, G of E is like a sparkling new button. OK, it should. It is new. But its more than that. The food is nicely presented, looks and is fresh and well taken care of. The range of fruits, veg (esp the mushrooms), chilies and spices, jams, even beers (vintage morgans cider from Ireland available) is amazing. The meat and poultry counter doesnt have the array that JF has, but Ive been pleased with everything so far. And its nice to see a woman butcher. She likes cats too and has photos to prove it (so is my chum for life). G of E has a great selection of bread (tho not Valente).The cheeses are wonderful. I saw some posts here from last year concurring here. I especially like the goat brie. I've tried their prepared food a few times. Good, tho Im not a fan of any stores creations. The only counter Ive not been too happy with is the fish one. Wasnt very happy with their white fish. The staff is really friendly, welcoming and very helpful. All in all, an outing to G of E is shopping made fun.