Best Cheese Shop - 2001
24th Street Cheese Company
There's a memorable moment in Stevenson's Treasure Island when a castaway is rescued after three years of living beyond the blessings of human civilization. His first, avid words: "Got any cheese?" God knows the 24th Street Cheese Company has cheese -- enough, in fact, to make up for three decades of rennetless privation. A huge, ever-evolving blackboard dominates a shop comparatively modest in size considering the abundance it shelters: well over 200 cheeses from around the world. Luckily, you can take your time choosing the perfect cracker-capper, apple-accompaniment, or fondue-filler -- the staff members are not only knowledgeable, blessedly opinionated, and quick to offer samples, they're patient to a fault. One recent visit yielded a Vermont Grafton, perhaps the sharpest, nuttiest cheddar in the world; a creamy, pungent, unpasteurized Stilton from Colston Basset, one of the store's two dozen blue-veined cheeses; and a fantastic sheep's milk Petit Basque that was unlike anything we'd ever tasted. Also available are crackers, olives, wines, sausages, truffles, and everything else you'd need for a most memorable picnic.