Food shopping in Manhattan tends to be finite, more Paris than Paramus, dominated by neighborhood markets. Now Wegmans — the chain based in Rochester, N.Y., with more than 100 East Coast stores, including one in the Brooklyn Navy Yard — is poised to put 87,500 square feet of groceries on the ground floor and lower level of the John Wanamaker building in the East Village. The size of this Wegmans, which opens Oct. 18, surpasses the sprawling Whole Foods markets in Manhattan.
In a telephone interview, Danny Wegman, the chairman of the company, which he now runs with his daughters, Nicole and Colleen, said it took decades of evolving expertise to determine that the chain was ready for Manhattan. “New York is a different place,” Mr. Wegman said, adding that the Manhattan shopper has high standards to which his stores aspire.
Founded in 1916, the family-run company has, in recent years, paid close attention to bread, especially sourdough, and pastries baked in-house. It carries fresher, more diverse and organic produce, some from its own organic farm in the Finger Lakes or from its network of mostly New York farmers, and sells grass-fed beef from 120 farms, also mainly in New York. Domestic and imported Wagyu are sold at the butcher counter, and there’s an emphasis on seafood, both local and unique to this store, including some from the Toyosu market in Tokyo.
For decades, Mr. Wegman has collaborated with chefs, among them David Bouley and, from Paris, Pierre Hermé, on prepared foods and bakery items. Next year, a restaurant will open on the ground floor. And unlike at Wegmans’s other locations, there is no parking.
Wegmans, 770 Broadway (Astor Place), wegmans.com.
When You Can’t Wait for the Halloween Candy
Advent calendars go on sale weeks, even months before it’s the moment to open their first tiny portals. Now in the meantime there’s one offering a 13-day countdown to Halloween. It’s stocked with a daily candy leading up to a holiday that’s overloaded with them, but it just might get that broccoli onto little forks. Harbor Sweets has hidden wrapped chocolates behind each numbered flap set in a spooky 10 5/8-inch square townscape.
Harbor Sweets Halloween Countdown Calendar, $29.50, harborsweets.com.
Pierre Thiam Relates African Cooking to American Kitchens
In his latest cookbook, “Simply West African,” the Senegalese-born chef Pierre Thiam shows how African flavors can be a part of everyday cooking, the way Dijon mustard in the salad dressing adds a soupçon of France. Sauces are a simple point of entry. Using garlicky parsley rof once fresh basil for pesto ends its seasonal run, or having lemony onion yassa on hand to brighten a host of foods, even a hot dog, are two easy examples. The book, written with Lisa Katayama, Mr. Thiam’s wife, explains the generous African approach to hospitality and offers many alluring possibilities like Maman’s crispy herb-crusted chicken baked on a bed of onion and lemon, cod steamed in foil with a tomato topping and a Cameroon-style eggplant stewed in a pot. And here’s your chance to perfect fonio and jollof rice.
“Simply West African: Easy, Joyful Recipes for Every Kitchen” by Pierre Thiam with Lisa Katayama (Clarkson Potter, $28).
New Tequilas for Sipping or Mixing
Valor Spirits has just added a pale golden reposado to its line, which delivers a whiff of roasted chiles, a smoothly viscous texture and lime. It’s a follow-up to the blanco it introduced this summer. The blanco’s assertively vegetal aroma has the touches of that all-abiding lime that enliven its flavor. The distillery, NOM 1599 in Jalisco, is a small family-owned affair that lets its agave crop mature for six years before harvest. Christiane Maertens, the founder and chief executive of Valor, also started DoGoodery, a Los Angeles-based agency that works to promote companies that have a positive impact on society, and which collaborates with Valor.
Tequila Blanco, $119.99, Tequila Reposado, $134.99, shop.drinkvalor.com.
The Case of the Disappearing Apple
Where have all the apples gone? Over the years, an inventory of thousands of varieties grown in New York has been reduced to just a few dozen. Sarah Lohman, the author of “Endangered Eating,” which covers much more than apples, turns her attention to New York’s signature crop in a panel discussion from the Museum of Food and Drink. Identifying varieties that are at risk, maintaining and restoring them will be covered. A tasting of local ciders is included.
“Endangered Eating: The Vanishing Flavors of New York Apples,” presented by Museum of Food and Drink with the author, Sarah Lohman, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 19, $50 or $81.85 including the book, mofad.org, TimeOut Market, 55 Water Street (Main Street), Dumbo, Brooklyn.