Eastern District’s Beth Lewand gives the inside scoop on New York’s best spots for flavorful gifts.
If anyone understands the connection between food and love, it’s Beth Lewand: Her now-husband Chris Gray wooed her with homebrew and dates to Manhattan’s famous Murray’s Cheese Shop. A year ago, the pair opened their beer-and-regional-food boutique, Eastern District, in Brooklyn, where they fill growlers with the likes of Hill Farmstead and Barrier and load the shelves with artisan cheeses, salumi and pantry items. Here, she divulges her secret New York shopping stops where she scores delicious gifts for foodie friends.
529 Atlantic Ave.
“They’re big beer fans at Nunu; they even have a few taps in their Brooklyn store. One of their specialties is the Beer Box, which is a little six-pack of handmade chocolates with different beers blended into the ganache.”
100 Frost St.
“It’s a wonderful place for cooking and baking supplies—new and vintage—and special ingredients, spices and local, organic foods you can’t get anywhere else. It’s also connected to the Meat Hook, a butcher shop with delicious sausages and bacon rillette.”
634 Hudson St.
“It’s a British food shop in Manhattan that’s ideal for things like British chutneys, Ribena sodas, and any British candy you can think of, like Lion Bars and Double Decker Bars. And it’s a perfect place for a snack: If you get lucky and come at the right time of the afternoon, the pork pies are fresh out of the oven.”
HONG KONG SUPERMARKET
6023 8th Ave., 718.438.2288
“You can get Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese hot sauces that make particularly great gifts. And they have cooking equipment—like the right tools for grating wasabi or deep-frying—that’s much less expensive than in Manhattan’s Chinatown.”
Union Square, 4 days per week
“At the Greenmarket at Union Square, I always go to the 3-Corner Field Farm stall. Not only do they sell great sheepsmilk cheese—their Shushan Snow variety is like a mini camembert, and a favorite of mine—but they have all kinds of other products you’d expect from a sheep farm like yarn, meat, sheepsmilk soap and rugs.”
187 Atlantic Ave.
“We’re really into searching out different ethnic foods, and one of our favorites in Brooklyn is this Middle Eastern food store. The Lebanese family that owns it has been importing for decades, and there’s a huge selection of pickles, sauces, stuffed grape leaves, nuts, spices—stuff you just can’t get at a grocery store. Plus, they have a prepared food counter where you can get things like kibbe; it’s nice to stop and eat while you’re shopping.”
PLUS: Lewand shares her favorite picks from Eastern District this season:
1. “New seasonal jams from Anarchy in a Jar, a local jammaker who actually produces right here in our kitchen at the store. She makes spiced beer jelly and a chipotle pear jam with cinnamon.”
2. “We carry a new chocolate brand made in Brooklyn called Raaka. They make really delicious stuff, like dark chocolate with sea salt and a blueberry-lavender chocolate.”
3. “We’ll have seasonal beers on tap for growler fills and holiday cheeses to go with them; I like O’Banon, made by Capriole Farmstead Goat Cheese in Indiana. It’s fresh goat cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves soaked in bourbon; it’s a really awesome special occasion cheese.”