Salty, Bitter, Flowery and Sweet

Congratulations to Amy Green of New Jersey, the winner of our giveaway! Amy wins a copy of Mark Bitterman’s James Beard award-winning book Salted! Thanks to all who entered, and be sure to keep reading—we have a few more fun giveaways planned for this summer!

While walking down the West Village’s Hudson Street one day last fall, a new shop caught our eye.

A formerly vacant space was once again full of life—bursting forth with brightly-colored flowers and tall shelves filled with, of all things, chocolate and salt. Once we actually entered The Meadow, we discovered that it was even better than we had initially thought!

The Meadow sells more than 100 (yes, a hundred!) varieties of salt, some of the most beautiful and unique flowers I’ve ever seen, an amazing variety of chocolates, and, in the back, an extensive collection of cocktail bitters. We were instantly in love.

The store, owned by Mark Bitterman and his wife, Jennifer, is the younger sibling to their Portland, Oregon, outpost that they founded in 2006. With its reclaimed wood shelves, vintage vases, and simple, but elegant displays, customers are invited to touch, taste, and simply enjoy everything within.

The salts range from the simple, like fleur de sel, to the unique and rare, such as maboroshi plum from Japan or lemon flake from Cyprus. And, yes, lemon flake salt does actually taste like lemons!

The chocolate and bitters selections are equally diverse, so if you are in the mood for some ramen noodle chocolate or Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters, you won’t leave empty-handed.

Mark traveled the world far and wide to discover all he could about the salt he carries—he is immensely knowledgeable about every product he sells, whether you are looking for regular table salt or how to perfectly season your steak tartare.

His travels and vast knowledge came together last year with the publication of his recent James Beard award-winning book, Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral.

The book, a massive hard-covered volume, is an encyclopedia of salt, complete with recipes, beautiful photography (all photographed by Mark and his wife!), and tales from around the world.

It remains approachable to the home cook—learn just how salt can push your roasted chicken over the edge—without being dull or uninteresting.

Did you know that cucumbers are the perfect vehicle to taste salt with, or that Kala namak, an ancient Indian salt, was used in 300 BCE by Maharishi Charak, the father of Ayurvedic medicine?

Like I just told Ryan, the book has all the style and panache of Anthony Bourdain’s writing, but with beautiful seriousness to it, complemented by the recipes and lush photos.

Now that you’re clamoring for your own copy (as you should be), I bring you the good news: Ryan and I have a signed copy of Salted that we’re going to give away to one of our lucky readers. We’ve been so flattered by every comment, view, and click, that we thought we would share something that we love with you.

You can have up to two chances to win. For one entry, you can simply leave a comment below. If you really, really, want to win, you can enter a second time by following us on Twitter and retweeting our contest tweet.

The contest will be open until Sunday, June 5, 12 a.m. EST, at which time we will randomly choose a winner from both our comments and retweets. Make sure that you leave your e-mail in your comment or leave us some way to get in touch.

Enjoy, and good luck!

– Laura

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28 Comments

Filed under Drink, Food, New York

28 responses to “Salty, Bitter, Flowery and Sweet

  1. Great find! I can’t wait to stop by there! Glad I found your blog as well!

  2. Kim LaCoco

    Loved the blog. This shop looks fabulous. We need something like this in Dallas. Thanks for bringing The Meadows to our attention.

  3. Surely an adress to keep for our next trip to NY, thanks for sharing. Your blog is like a gold mine to us.

  4. Have been wanting to check this place out! Looks awesome. And that book looks gorgeous!

  5. Love this blog – and thanks for the heads up about The Meadow.

  6. Sherill

    This is just the kind of shop I love – adding it to my list of places to visit on my summer trip to NYC! Must have the starter kit for salts. Thanks!

  7. Oohhh, fantastik! I’ll put it on my travel log. Pick me for the book please!

  8. @greenygal

    Can’t wait to visit this shop…chocolate and salt are two of my fav’s!

  9. liz mcnay

    Love, love, love salt.

  10. Sesimneal

    Hubby & I happened by this place earlier in the spring and had a fantastic time walking around and checking out the amazing range of salts. Staff was knowledgeable and extremely patient with us! Recommended a pink Himalayan salt cooking stone which we are looking forward to using this summer. The book is gorgeously photographed – congrats to Mark on the 2011 Beard Award!

  11. As a Chef. Seasoning and specially salt is the key to every dish. If you watch, read or taste any show, books or recipes you understand that salt can make or break a meal. Congratulations to you and you inspiring read.

  12. Kobey R

    Nice story and beautiful photography…

  13. Hi Laura! Love your blog. We have bookmarked it for our trip to NYC this Summer. Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. As if I need another reason to visit New York again — or Portland for the first time, for that matter. That shop looks AMAZING. (And so does the book!)

  15. Sonya

    Make me a winner!

  16. Jason Pariser

    The adjective “salty” is no longer applicable! Gourmet salt is such a great way to wake up an old favorite and maybe even stump your foodie friends. I WILL be visiting soon!

  17. This is interesting, but I am skeptical that all of them are that different in flavor. Maybe in texture.

  18. Salt is such a fundamental part not just of our cuisine, but of our collective history and culture as a species. Two of my friends from the Mediterranean and the Middle East regularly make a habit of eating tiny pinches of salt. I guess it is just a cultural thing: it used to be so rare and expensive that it grew into a normal habit to eat it like that for some folks I guess (or my friends are just weird.)

    Anyway, loved the blog and the beautiful pictures, and I look forward to picking up this book at some point!

  19. I’ve been and it really is as amazing as it looks. What a superb shop! An essential trip for any foodie. You can also attend classes and events at The Meadow. Kudos to Mark!

  20. Nice pics kid. Make me an espresso.

  21. krsnad

    Salt… my favorite chemical…:-). Thanks a lot.(Also following on twitter).

  22. oh my goodness …I wish I had seen your blog before our trip to N.Y. but we will visit again and I’m definitely going to check this shop out! We love to stroll thru Chelsea Market to see all the gourmet goodies.

  23. Christy K.

    What an amazing shop. Wish I could afford a culinary journey to NYC this summer!

  24. ikkinlala

    What a fascinating store! I’d love to enter your giveaway, please, if it’s open to Canadians.

  25. Darcy

    Didn’t realize that Mark Bittman had a new book out! Thanks for the heads up. it looks fabulous!!

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