Cook the Book: 'The Food Life'

Book CoverHere in New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world, good deals on food can be hard to find. After all, this is the home of the original World's Most Expensive Cocktail, not to mention a $1,000 ice cream sundae that is only available by appointment. Ask any Manhattanite or Brooklynite, however, and they are sure to tell you—in hushed tones, lest others find out—about their favorite place for a steal of a meal.

My number one bargain buy? The lobster roll at the Fairway Café in Red Hook, Brooklyn. For just $7.99, you get a buttery bun filled with big, sweet chunks of lobster meat (light on the mayo), chips, coleslaw, and a snappy deli pickle. Plus, the patio view of the Statue of Liberty is unparalleled.

For more than 50 years, Fairway has been a local institution in New York. (Hardly a day goes by that Ed Levine doesn't visit the original Upper West Side outpost.) From farm-fresh produce and line-caught fish to gourmet olives, artisanal cheese, and just-baked breads, you just can't beat the selection—or the reasonable prices. One gruffly charming man is responsible for this dazzling array of food: Steven Jenkins, Fairway's vice president, chief specialty foods buyer, and award-winning author.

This week's Cook the Book selection is The Food Life: Inside the World of Food with the Grocer Extraordinaire at Fairway. More than a cookbook, The Food Life is a celebration of the stores' lavish selection of culinary wonders and the stories that surround its culture. The recipes are from the insanely idiosyncratic and supremely talented chef at The Fairway Cafe and Steakhouse, Mitchel London.

Win 'The Food Life'

We'll be excerpting a recipe from The Food Life each day this week. In addition, you can enter to win one of five copies of the book. Just tell us in the comments section below, what is your favorite supermarket and why?

Five (5) people will be chosen at random from among eligible comments below. Comments will close Monday, July 21 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.