Provision quest: West Village

Aldea chef George Mendes tells you where to buy your groceries.



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  • Two Boots

  • Manly's Wine & Spirits

  • Aphrodisia Herb Shoppe

  • Bethel Gourmet Food

  • Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

  • Citarella

  • Murray's Cheese

  • Joe the Art of Coffee

Two Boots

Two Boots
"This is the place I hit up the most if I'm on my way home from Aldea," says Mendes of the Cajun pizzeria chainlet. He orders a simple cheese slice but commits a cardinal pizza sin: He doesn't eat the crust. "Habit," he shrugs. 201 W 11th St at Seventh Ave South (212-633-9096)

Manley's Wines & Spirits
The Spanish and Portuguese section of this corner wineshop beckons Mendes. He eyes a Poema Alvarinho ($29.99) and a Muga Rioja ($35.99) but pulls a Casa Garcia Vinho Verde ($7.99) from the shelf. "This is slightly effervescent, a great cheap summer wine." 35 Eighth Ave between Jane and Horatio Sts (212-242-3712)

Aphrodisia Herb Shoppe
This 40-year-old West Village shop—lined with thick glass jars filled with all manner of aromatics—is Mendes's preferred spot for spices. "Oh my God, it's intoxicating," he says, leaning over jugs of Koriente cinnamon, coriander and peppery annatto seeds. "I've come in here and just dwelled." 264 Bleecker St between Cornelia and Morton Sts (212-989-6440)

Bethel Gourmet Food
Mendes goes batty for the beverages at this small, well-stocked neighborhood grocery. He flits from coconut water, Coke and ginger ale to no-pulp Tropicana and Gatorade. "How many times a day am I in here?" Mendes asks the shop owner. "Twice a day at least, right?" Bethel is also his go-to spot for a meal in a pinch—he orders a grilled-chicken-cutlet-and-provolone hero from the deli counter. 79 Greenwich Ave between Seventh Ave South and W 11th St (212-645-3855)

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
Crossing Eighth Avenue, we march past Corner Bistro ("blechhh") and arrive at this charming, crammed cookbook shop hidden under a tower of scaffolding. Mendes is happy to find it open—the odd hours (the website advises shoppers to "call ahead") have prevented him from visiting the place until today. He flips excitedly through a 1938 edition of Larousse Gastronomique and back issues of Art Culinaire, and is thrilled to find a copy of Georges Blanc's Mes Recettes. "It reminds me of when I first started cooking," he says. 163 W 10th St between Seventh Ave South and Waverly Pl (212-989-8962)

The high-end market is renowned for its fish selection, and Mendes is on board. "Every time I come here the seafood is just gleamingly fresh," he says. His picks from the extensive iced display: anchovies, razor clams, sardines and rouget. 424 Sixth Ave at 9th St (212-874-0383)

Murray's Cheese
"This is my favorite; I could spend an entire day in here," says Mendes of the famous fromagerie. He eyes a wedge of Jasper Hill Farms' Constant Bliss but gravitates toward La Serena, a Spanish sheep's-milk cheese. "It's an all-time favorite," he says. "I eat it with some bread and a nice, fat wine." On the checkout line, his beverage yen kicks in when he spies bottles of Fentimans Curiosity Cola: "Ohhh. I love this stuff! This is the best cola in the world!" 254 Bleecker St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-243-3289)

Joe the Art of Coffee
Even in the late afternoon, there's a line for java at this popular West Village caf. Mendes buys an espresso ($2.12) and downs it outside. "The coffee here has a certain citrusy, fruity quality to it," he says. It's his source for beans, too—"I like the Vienna Roast." 141 Waverly Pl between Sixth Ave and Gay St (212-924-6750)

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