In how many places can you find yourself surrounded by Korean-speaking people one minute, and then 3 minutes later find yourself surrounded by Italian-speaking people. Probably more than I know, but I'm sure as hell glad I live near one.
H&Y is apparently a small chain, with locations in Queens, this one in Ridgefield, and one in Bergenfield as well.
My usual Korean market is H-Mart, but I don't always enjoy my time there. Not sure why. Maybe it's the lake that masquerades as a parking lot. Maybe it's that odd flea market that is attached to it. Maybe it's that funky liquor store that you pass on the way in. I was more at ease at H&Y today, rest assured.
H&Y is a bit smaller than H-Mart, but they certainly have a large selection of vegetables, fruit, seafood and meat. Anything that I would need, for sure. Everything was clean and organized. My initial impression was that it is a much better maintained store than the local H-Marts.
I picked up a bunch of scallions for the absurd price of 10 cents. 10 cents. Wouldn't it be easier to just give them away at that point?
I also grabbed a bunch of Chinese (or in this case, Korean) chives. These things are so wonderful, and something that you can only find in Asian markets. They will be going in a shrimp dish from Fuchsia Dunlop's book, Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province. It's called Fisherman's Shrimp with Chinese Chives, it's insanely good, and when I made it a few weeks ago, it looked like this:
A 1.5L bottle of Poland Spring was calling my name, so I grabbed one and went to the cashier with my bounty. I guess I thought I bought more than I did, because I swiped my credit card to pay and realized the total was $2.92. I thought there had to be some mistake. The water alone should have cost that much. But, nope. What a deal.
But man cannot live on Chinese (or in this case, Korean) chives and water alone. Off I went to complete my initial objective of Calabrian hot peppers, and, as it turns out, guanciale and lunch.
Piccolo's is quite the nice little store. Lots of cured meats (most imported from Italy...no house-made or local stuff here as far as I could tell). I picked up a piece of guanciale, because it was there. I also got a bag of anisette toast, because I'm an I-talian from way back.
I figured I'd get a sandwich while I was there. The classic combo of prosciutto, mozzarella and roasted red peppers, as a sandwich, generally doesn't do much for me. For some reason, this one struck me just right.
It wasn't overloaded with the sweet, delicious prosciutto, which was nice change from the pile you often get. The mozzarella was one thick slice, rather than thin slices. Slicing mozzarella thinly is a crime against cheese and all that is decent and right. A hate crime, no less, which is the worst possible kind. It obliterates half the appeal of mozzarella, which is the creamy texture. The bread here is exceptionally good. The sandwich was balanced and it was a winner. Especially after I added some chopped Calabrian Long Hot Peppers, which are very short, by the way.
I'd recommend both of these places. While I may not make it out to Piccolo's for just a sandwich, I will certainly be checking out the H&Y market in more detail.