Time Out NY 2007 Eat Out Awards

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If winter is Gruyère season, and early summer is Camembert season, then this month is certainly award-show season. Every year it seems March is burdened with yet another Sunday night extravaganza. But beyond all the glitz and glamour, we all still have to eat. So, following in the footsteps of the SAG awards, and the NAACP Image Awards, oh and of course that other famous awards show, Time Out New York has opened up voting for the 2007 Eat Out Awards, celebrating the food & beverage scene in this great city.

So why am I writing about this on a cheese blog? Because there's a category for Best Cheese Shop, of course!

And the nominees are:

Now, all of these shops are good contenders, and it's kind of hard to compare them to one another. Artisanal is great if you're looking for that rarefied experience of cheese that has been nurtured in state-of-the-art refrigerators and packaged just for you in gorgeous cheese paper & enviable shopping bag. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and it's also rarely crowded, but you will definitely pay for all these amenities. Murray's on the other hand, while just as pricey as Artisanal, and renowned for the same high quality selection, can be crowded and chaotic. On the plus side, they stock many other accoutrements that some of the other shops don't have (olive oils, pastas, etc.)

Formaggio Essex is actually the only shop on the list that I haven't been to; it's fairly new and I hear it's great, but whenever I'm in the Essex Market, I'm usually drawn immediately to Anne Saxelby's counter. Now, Saxelby Cheese is probably the most unique of all the contenders, since they stock only American cheeses. It's difficult to compare to these other shops, because it really is a different experience. Well worth braving the F train for!

Finally, there's Stinky Bklyn, the shop I myself voted for. The thing I love about Stinky is its honesty, its lack of pretense. The prices are great, the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful, they treat they cheeses well, and, like Murray's, they offer other items such as cured meats, breads, pickles, etc. As I've mentioned previously here, it is well worth the trip out to Brooklyn to visit Stinky.

I was actually kind of surprised that the Bedford Cheese Shop was absent from the list. I've enjoyed shopping there on the few occasions that I've been willing to make the trek. But I guess there were only five slots for nominees, so there you have it.

Anyway, get out there and vote!