food 02.9.10

La Farigoule
Plus: Every Person in New York

Inside the original Fairway, it's always 1974.

Some of you remember 1974. Everywhere you turned, walls were crumbling, crime was high, patience was thin. And outside the store was worse.

On any given day, the customer experience at Fairway begins with asparagus and ends with triage, evoking a nearly-bankrupt city in which everybody was one sharp elbow away from an expletive-rich meltdown.

The store is a marvel of time travel, really. But, to be honest, it's also the only market we know that could benefit from a visit by the Red Cross.

Still, there are brief moments of grace. A cold and dyspeptic February day can be much improved with a targeted mission to the oil department, in which you will find La Farigoule aux herbes des Garrigues from Domaine de l'Oulivie. Fairway is the only importer of the stuff in town.

From the family concern (begun in 1957) in the village of Combaillaux, headed by brothers Pierre and Roch Vialla, this is a superb olive oil combined with macerated thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and savory. The effect is subtle but warm and sunny.

Will it change your life? No, it's olive oil. And at $23.99 for an 8.5 ounce bottle, it does not come cheap. Still, we think it's a small price to pay for anything that can transform the aftermath of a Fairway cage match, however briefly, into the south of France.

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

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