The Angel's Fruit Market
The Angel's impressive sidewalk display might trick you into thinking it's just a fruit market (and a great one at that), but a trip inside will reveal hard-to-find ingredients that proprietor Carmelo Bruno has spent decades sourcing.
At The Angel's you'll find cilantro macho, a stockier, more flavorful version of the skinny, everyday cilantro you find atop most of your New York tacos.
This leafy herb is commonly used in bean dishes in Central and Caribbean American cooking. Its strong smell makes it an "acquired" taste for some.
Velvety, fragrant leaves of hoja santa—literally, sacred leaf—are most used in Central American cooking to wrap tamales or fish, and to flavor green mole, pozole, and soups.
The fleshy pads of prickly cactus pears are a staple in Mexican cooking. At The Angel's, they're sold fresh, alongside the Mexican root jicama.
Carmelo keeps a tray of prickly cactus pears on hand for his Italian customers. The fruit is mostly eaten fresh, though it's also used to flavor jellies, candies, and some spirits.
Skinny strands of pipicha are similar to cilantro in flavor, but are more commonly used to season meat dishes.
"Calabacita" means "little squash" in Spanish. At The Angel's, you'll find several green varieties on rotation.
Lots of roots
In the back, alongside the bags of Idaho potatoes, the squash, yucca, platanos (both green and ripe), Carmelo stocks some less-familiar roots: yautia blanca (white), yautia lila (purple), and malanga.
Sweet moscato grapes
These sweet grapes are less common than their green and red cousins, but arguably more delicious. Though more often found as wine or raisins, Carmelo keeps a tray of fresh grapes at The Angel's.
Tucked in the back corner of The Angel's is an impressive selection of dietary herbal supplements, such as Uña de Gato, Cat's Claw, prized for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties.