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May 26th, 2009

Before skipping out on our check, The Girl and I went to Murray’s. This time it was a little more crowded so I made sure that I took a number (42). After informing the clerk that my wife does not enjoy cheese, I asked if he could recommend anything to get her started. He provided a few samples for her to taste and we settled on Fontina. It was very mild but had a bit of a sharp taste at the end. The packaging promises to “attract and satisfy even the most finicky cheese eater” and, in this case, it delivered. I picked at it a little bit before deciding to make grilled cheese sandwiches with it for dinner on Monday. It melted well and was fairly stretchy, like mozeralla but tackier.

 

Next up on the list was a wedge of stinky cheese for the mother-in-law. Unlike her daughter, she is a big fan of all sorts of cheese, but stays faithful to the stinkier ones. She got the Gres Des Vosges.

 

I figured while I was there I might as well get myself some cheddar. I went with some British tickler. I haven’t had any yet, other than the sample in the store. I’m looking forward to having cheese and crackers tomorrow night.

Author: Josh Categories: Shopping Tags: , ,

Murray Tyler Moore*

May 10th, 2009

With my mother-in-law’s birthday coming up, I decided to go to Murray’s for the first time. I had been told that the mongers behind the counter would be helpful in picking out a few stinky cheeses for a gift basket.

My first impulse was to go to the outpost they have in The Grand Central Marketplace because it was raining and I catch my train home at Grand Central anyway. Despite walking through Grand Central every day for the past year, I had never heard of, let along seen the Market Place. When I first arrived I was shocked. It was a long narrow corridor with tightly grouped stalls selling fresh fish, oysters, gourmet chocolates, assorted sweets, breads, coffee, and, of course, cheese. I quickly found Murray’s booth and after waiting for the kid behind the counter to acknowledge my presence asked: “I’d like a gift basket of stinky cheeses for a birthday present. I’m looking to spend such-and-such dollars.”" I was told that this would be more than sufficient to get the ball rolling.

Behind the counter, the kid looked apprehensive and stuttered something about not having any prepackaged gift boxes and how he didn’t’ really have any pre-wrapped gift bags. And oh yeah, there weren’t any packaged gift boxes. I paused for a quick moment. Had I asked for a pre-canned basket? That certainly wasn’t my intention. Should I explain his mistake and try smaller words this time when I asked for what I wanted? No. If my first request was so alien to him then why would I assume any competency on his part with subsequent questions? I continued to look him in the eye for another few seconds and turned and left. I was now headed for the real Murray’s.

Midway down Cornelia Street I could see Bleeker. Every step widening my line of vision; I was able to make out Murray’s red awning and then an Italian specialty store, and a bakery with beautiful breads in the window, and then a store that sells only herbs (this was before my trip to the Union Square Market). I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I could browse here for hours, but I had a goal to accomplish and it was raining harder by this point.

Inside was a spacious store with a long glass counter full of cheeses. On the other side was the wall of crackers. This felt like the right place for me. The red ticket dispenser ubiquitous at all delis and bakeries appeared to be out of tickets, so I approached the counter. (I found out later that there is a lever on the side that needs pulling in order to get a ticket.) The woman in front of me was talking to a clerk who was explaining why a particular cheese was appropriate to eat on a cold rain day such as this. I knew that leaving the pimply faced youth and going down to the real store was the right move.

Now it was my turn; thankfully no one had come in after me so I didn’t have to learn about the lever the hard way (evidently I am not a born lever puller). Before asking how he could help me, the clerk offered me a paper towel to dry off (I am not a fan of umbrellas). When I asked for a gift basket of stinky cheeses he smiled, told me that he could help, and pulled out a small wooden crate.

From there it got really good. I was given various samples of cheese, some soft and gooey, other solid and almost crunchy, all delicious. I particularly remember a-not-so smelly aged parmesan. In my opinion it tasted particularly nutty. To be honest, I used “nutty” to describe all of the other cheeses as well. My cheese vocabulary was not as advanced as the monger’s. He described one cheese – the particularly gooey one – as “faint strawberries and honey, but correct me if I’m wrong.” Of course he was spot on, and even if he wasn’t, who would I be to correct this man who knew all things cheese?

I walked out of the store with my crate of four cheeses nuzzled into a straw blanket in the crate and a loaf of bread for dinner. The attention to detail showed that these guys are all very serious about two things: cheese and customer service. I was really blown away by my visit.

Oh, and I know you are all wondering how the present went over. My mother-in-law loved her gift basket.

*I know, I’m sorry. I’ll try not to lift any more jokes from Mad About You.

Author: Josh Categories: Story Tags: , ,