Finds to compare: Fla. Ave. vs. Union Market

Though the Florida Avenue Market shops in Northeast Washington might not stay around forever, for now food lovers can choose between its scrappy storefronts and the trendy stalls of Union Market.

Here’s a comparison of availability and prices you’ll find among retail options in that area.

Basic chef’s knife

At Best Kitchen Supply, a Dexter brand 10-inch chef’s knife sells for $29.19 off the shelf, cash (or card) and carry.

At DC Sharp in Union Market, the same knife costs $39.99. Each knife sale includes expert advice if you want it, an initial sharpening and an additional sharpening later.

Upshot: The $10 price difference isn’t a deal breaker. Go with either Best Kitchen Supply, 413 Morse St. NE, 202-544-2525 or www.ebestkitchen.com, or DC Sharp (www.dcsharp.com).

Fufu

At Afrik, Obeng or Divine markets on Morse Street NE, a selection of several brands of frozen and powdered fufu — a dough-like dish traditionally made from yams, cassava or plantains — costs between $1.59 and $3 for a package that includes up to eight servings. “We sell a lot of fufu,” says Afrik International Market’s Pius Ezeigwe of the staple of West and Central African food.

Though Union Market eateries like Bidwell Restaurant and Buffalo & Bergen offer some fusion dishes, fufu does not appear on their menus. No stalls currently sell it.

Try Afrik International Market, 411 Morse St. NE, 202-548-0533; Obeng International Wholesale and Retail Inc., 300 Morse St. NE, 202-544-8255; Divine Unity International Food, 300 Morse St. NE, 202-543-1062; for fufu.

Fancy fish

Neopol Savory Smokery at Union Market has earned a regionwide reputation for its hot-smoked fish. A variety of flavors of smoked salmon, white fish, catfish and others sell for $28 to $30 a pound.

A. Litteri on Morse Street sells imported anchovies for $3 to $13 per can or jar, and fresh sardines are available at the deli counter. A pound’s worth of high-end jarred tuna costs about $30.

Though the prices of the fancier fish match up, the flavor and use of the two stores’ offerings couldn’t be more different. Canned or jarred fish at A. Litteri (517-519 Morse St. NE; www.alitteri.com) works best as an ingredient in Italian and French dishes (think puttanesca sauce and Niçoise salad), while fried sardines make a good appetizer. Meanwhile, the fish from Neopol (www.neopolsmokery.com), rubbed with flavors such as herbes de Provence and green tea, are a ready-made appetizer or entree.

Wine

For a small stall in Union Market, Cordial packs an impressive selection of boutique wines. Its Italian options include a $10 sangiovese blend and a $75 Barolo.

A. Litteri devotes vast attention and floor space to wines from around the world, with a natural emphasis on Italian varietals. Selections include $4 closeouts and a $174 Barolo.

Both places provide a great selection and wine tastings from knowledgeable staffers. To blend an inexpensive sangria, impress discriminating guests or to be the first on your block to drink your way through all 20 wine regions of Italy, you can’t beat A. Litteri’s wine spectrum (tastings Fridays and Saturdays with a 30-plus-year veteran of the restaurant and wine industry). To find a solid wine without muss or fuss, choose the manageable selection at Cordial (www.cordialwine.com, tastings Saturdays and Sundays with staff certified by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust).

Aprons

At Salt & Sundry in Union Market, stylish chef’s half-aprons go for $38 to $54.

At Best Kitchen Supply, full aprons with pockets in a variety of colors and designs run from $4.95 to $5.95.

If you need a host gift for the big boss’s annual filet mignon cookout, go with an apron from Salt & Sundry (www.shopsaltandsundry.com). If you just want to protect your outfit from kitchen splatters, stick with Best Kitchen Supply.

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Florida Avenue Market: Morsels on Morse include kitchen supplies, cheap eats

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