Bodegas are the bedrock of New York City. Whatever you need, you better believe they have it. A pint of ice cream? Sure. The morning paper? You got it. A deli sandwich? Coming right up. But considering options abound, it can be helpful to whittle down your shopping list to the bare essentials—especially if you're making a quick pit stop.
With that in mind, we asked chef and Harlem resident Marcus Samuelsson, who helms the cult-favorite comfort food eatery Red Rooster in his local neighborhood, which items he usually scoops up. "Bodegas are so random," he told InStyle at a recent dinner with Scottish whisky brand Glenmorangie in the basement of his restaurant, aka Ginny's Supper Club. "You can get The Daily News, you can get a 40 oz., or fresh tamales."
Below, three things he will always get a bodega. Spoiler alert: One is free.
"Ramen is just as good at bodegas as any other store. Add some farmer's market vegetables, a poached egg, some soy, and it's a party."
"I would cook them into little fritters and serve them with the ramen. Then I'd dip them into the soup."
3. Good old-fashioned gossip
"I always go to the same bodega. At the end of the day, it's not so much what I need—it's the conversation. If the owner is not complaining or talking about something, it's not New York to me."