Posts Tagged With: eataly

The Only Three Food Courts You Need to Know About

Gotham West Market - Ivan

Gotham West Market

Pretty much overnight, food courts in NYC went from a concept to “What, another one?  We need another food court like I need a pimple in my tuches”.  Food courts, food halls, semi-annual festivals like Madison Square Eats have become part of us, like bagels, and pizza rats.  It almost seems like a new one opens every week, and one can easily lose track of openings just like with new restaurants these days.  At some point you just stop and ask yourself, how many more Luke Lobsters and Mighty Quinn’s does this city really needs.  Some of them start to look the same, and one of them even invited me for a free tour and tasting.  I get such invites on a weekly basis and its either something I’m not interested in, or in Staten Island.  Ziggy will not be bought.  PERIOD!  Unless you invite me to one of these three.

Chelsea Market

CM is busy, touristy, perhaps the most crowded food hall out there, and I cant get enough of it.  I bike there for lunch more often than some of the places by my work I can walk to.  And, yeah, you guessed it, I dont go there for its history.  The vendor list is incredibly impressive, and for the most part unique to Chelsea Market.  A high quality butcher, An “A” List Taco joint, fresh seafood, top notch gelato, Halvah, and the soon to be best hummus in NYC, Dizengoff, which will open any day now, are just some examples.  Its unlike any market in the world, so comparing it to something like Venice, Barcelona, Mahane Yehuda markets is silly.  Some may even suggest its not much of a market, but a collection of high quality food purveyors, but there’s definitely enough market in it.  In fact one of the things I love about CM is that some of the vendors source their stuff directly from next door.  Cull & Pistol gets their seafood from sister Lobster Place, while Creamline (great turkey burger) gets their meat from Dickson’s Farmstand next door.  If you are a food enthusiast (well. you are reading this blog post) you owe it to yourself to stop by.  But dont do it when you tired or stuffed.  Many tourists just walk the main isle, leave the other door and then ask whats the big deal about this place.  Stay for a little bit, explore, and meet some of the vendors, like Rachel from Seed + Mill.  Tell her Ziggy sent ya.Chelsea Market Los Tacos

Eataly

Yeah, nothing shocking about any of these picks.  Long time readers already know that Ziggy hearts Eataly.  Unlike, say Little Italy, Eataly is super touristy for good reason.  And like Chelsea Market, yes, there’s a good chance that a large Polish man will step on your foot when you least expect.  But do you know who especially likes Eataly, that may come as a surprise?  Italians.  Italians who appreciate quality, and can even find items that are not easily available back home.  Whether we go for a little shopping, Nutella Bar, or have a snack at one of its restaurants, we cant get enough of it.  I usually have a small mental laundry list of stuff that we “need” like Italian craft beer, Venchi chocolates, fresh pasta like the Agnolotti dal Plin, sauces, cookies, and whatever else catches my eye on each visit.  Yes, the stuff is expensive, and I dont shop there on a monthly basis.  But cheaper than this is, well, essentially “Stop and Shop”.  Quality and imports come with a price tag.  Another reason for tourists to come to Eataly is the location.  Your attraction heavy guide book may not tell you that Madison Square Park and its surroundings is a must see, especially during squirrel season.Eataly

Gotham West Market

While I was waiting for my Steak Barbacao bowl at Choza the other day, I bumped into something I dont see very often at GWM… Tourists.  The process of ordering anything at Choza for tourists can be as complicated as our current presidential race, so I was happy to put my Matt Murdock mask on and step in to help.  GWM, simply put, is one of the best things to ever happen in Hell’s Kitchen, and one of its main advantages and what separates it from the pack is that its out of the main tourist route.  Other than the Intrepid nearby I cant think of any reasons why tourists would come here.  Maybe check out our incredible lineup of auto dealerships?  GWM is also a very different food court.  Its compact, with only 8 or so vendors, and it has more of a neighborhood feel than other food courts.  Think of it as one large restaurant with 8 different menus to choose from, where your kids and husbands can run around freely.  You can order something at one vendor and eat it at the counter of the next.  The funky Avroko design of the place may be reason enough to stop by for some, but I personally go for, you know, the food.

Gotham West Market 3

Categories: Chelsea, Gramercy, Flatiron, Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Chose the Wrong Day to Go to Eataly

Eataly TrufflesI’ll start this one with the current list of my biggest weaknesses:  Pizza, Bread Pudding, small spiders, Ramen, foreign movies, big spiders, White Truffles.  Yes, white truffles!  Or as I call it, Tuber Magnatum Pico.  As some of you that read this blog for a while know, me and Tuber go way back.  Last fall the relationship reached its peak when we spent four days in Piedmont, possibly the most underrated region in Italy for food.   While in NYC, I always look forward to every opportunity for a taste during the fall season, often shelling out premium $$$$ for it.  But I should probably give It a rest.

I always look for excuses to go to Eataly.  Need wine for Thanksgiving… Eataly!  Need fresh pasta.. Eataly.  Need new light bulbs in the bathroom… you guessed it… hardware store… on the way to Eataly.  Yes its touristy, crowded and a little expensive, but in this case all for good and valid reason.  I can spend hours there, Sunday Football hours!  And I normally do.  I dont need to “brave the tourists”, partly because I’m used to the scene and partly because I dont really feel like I’m braving anyone.  If anything it feels like a good spot for people watching, although my eyes are normally glued to the shelves.

Pranzo TruffleLast Sunday also happened to be “Truffle Day”, a collaboration with our local truffle tzar Urbani.  Urbani, in addition to bringing in Truffles from Umbria, makes truffle sauces, truffle butter, truffle perfume (on my Santa list), and anything and everything to do with truffles.  If you are in the area of their headquarters on 60th and West End ave (11th  ave), I suggest popping in for a quick look at their showroom where you can purchase any of their products including some nasty looking Tubers.  Juts keep in mind the dry summer in Italy this year resulted in less and more expensive truffles this time around

Ok, confession time, I dont really call them Tuber Magnatum Pico, but I feel like I should.  I was just talking to friends the other day about ear, nose and throat doctors, and that they dont have more of a proper name like Gynecologist.  As if they simply ran out of “ologists” when they got to those parts of the body.  Well, it turns out they didnt.  “Otolaryngologist” is the proper name, so you can see why no one calls them Otolaryngologists.  No one can.

Pranzo Carne CrudaAnyway, so Sunday off I go to Eataly for a quick Salumi and wine run, and before you knew it, I’m asking a waiter wearing white gloves to turn the truffle around so I could take a better shot of it during a $140 solo truffle lunch.  It was like sending an alcoholic to the local bar for diapers.  I even left without buying any salumi because they put the truffle stand right next to the salumi/cheese making me miss it and forget all about it.  I spent a good 20 minutes looking and talking at these babies until the truffle lady called security.  As for the lunch, this was at Pranzo (meaning “lunch”), Eataly’s lunch only restaurant in association with its cooking school.  Lets just say, after this Carne Cruda and pasta, both with four grams of shavings each, a little more schooling is in order (hence the title).  But bashing is not the goal of this post.  The goal is to celebrate everything Eataly and Italy

Some new and old faves:

Eataly Real ExtraAnellini Caramel biscuits – Perfecto with tea.  I will be abusing these all winter

Venchi Chocolates – Those are the chocolates you’ll see sold by the pound by the sweets counter.  Anythig dark and hazelnutty especially good.  Expensive for good reason, just like all the rest of the Piedmontese sweets.  And ye, just about half of the chocolates you’ll see over the store come from Piedmont

Truffle sauces – Especially the mushroom/truffle stuff from Urbani,  Like Pasta cologne

Fresh pasta – mainly Agnolotti dal Plin which I make with.. you guessed it.. truffle butter

Re Ale Extra Beer – Love the Italian craft beer here and this is my favorite.  Fantastically hoppy, citrusy IPA.

Italian Sodas – Chinoto, Gazzosa

(Just avoid the truffles)

Happy Thanksgiving!

EatalyEatalyEataly

Categories: Gramercy, Flatiron, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

10 Things to Try in Eataly

EatalySomething I don’t do nearly enough is read other food blogs.  I wish I had the time to just chillax for a full day and read nothing but food blogs.  No wife, no work, no kids, just me, myself and blogs.  Not possible.  But whenever we are about to travel somewhere I put the blog reading on the next gear, and naturally these days I read Italian food blogs.  I noticed that not only I get many ideas on what to eat on our upcoming trip in the summer, but I also get plenty of ideas on how to improve the blog.

For example the excellent Katie Parla blog (which I found last fall while researching New Orleans and got the a great Boucherie reco from her) and Elizabeth Manchilli in Rome (and Florence) have given me something to think about, like that my site sucks does not have enough lists.  So I gave you Best Pizza in Hell earlier this month and now I figured I’ll write about Eataly.  A place dear to my heart and wallet (my wallet strongly believes in keeping your friends close and enemies closer)Eataly10 years ago I used to work right across the street from Eataly where it was a Toy Building.  While we were too busy at work checking out the modeling action on 22nd st with our binoculars working, we didn’t have much time to check out the toys back then. But nowadays we go there often.  Eataly is busy, hectic, full of Italians for some reason, and very very touristy, but for good reason.  You can easily spend an entire day there.  Well, I can!  During the last few years I spent a lot of time there eating, drinking, shopping and learning elementary Italian cursing like “tuo padre è un pollo” (your father is a chicken) comes in handy.  So without further ado, here are 10 things to try while visiting Eataly to make your visit more memorable

Sorry about some of the Iphone photos.

1)  Italian Soda.  My new obsession.  The refreshingly citrusy Cedrata, Gazzosa, the ‘root beer on crack’  Chinoto, the lightly sweetened Gus Sodas.  Buy a few and see what you like.  All with natural ingredients and some like the Gazzosa feature the famous lemons of AmalfiEataly

2)  Maitake Mushrooms at Birreria – Put your name down for the roof garden, and wait for the text.  The text is your gateway to some of the most delicious Mushrooms you will ever eat.  Perfectly chewy and savory Maitake with Pecorino cheese.  One of about 3 or 4 dishes in their mushroom section along with nice Oyster mushrooms and fried shiitakes.  Also try the Cotechino sausage and pork shouldereataly2 photo (35)

3)  Grande Piatto Misto Di Salumi & Formaggi at La Piazza – Say what?  thats right.  A nice little assortment of the best cheese and Salumi of the day in the Piazza.  Prosciutto, salami, 4 different kinds of cheese, honey, figs and more.  Add a glass of one of their fine whites and its like having an aperitivo in Piazza Navona staring at la Fontana dei Fiumi.  Except that you are in Eataly, inside a building, staring at a German tourist’s sandals with socks.099

4)  Asparagus and Egg at Le Verdure.  Another example that adding egg to anything will make it better.   My favorite from the veggie menu of Le VerdureEataly

5)  Cacio e Pepe at La Pasta.  “A so a simple and a so good a”.  Cheese, black pepper, al dente pasta is apparently all you need to make this Roman classic.  Perfection on a plate.   So what am I doing wrong?Eataly

6)  Gnocchi at La Pasta – To compliment your Cacio e pepe.  Gnocchi, with 3 hours braised + 3 hour cooked + 3 hour groin massaged, wonderful melt in your mouth lamb shank.  Also try the Neapolitan pizza while thereEataly 101

7)  Fresh Agnolotti cacio e pepe – This is to buy.  Pillowy delicate Agnolotti stuffed with pecorino and black pepper.  Don’t overcook.  Set the timer to what it says on the box – I believe about 3-4 minutes after returning to boil.  Add some freshly shredded cheese and butter and invite me for dinner and Voila!  I found that a little more than 1 pound (1.2) feeds a hungry family of 4. Eataly

8)  Truffle sauces.  Walk all the way to the right pass the dry pasta section, and you’ll see this mostly Urbani truffle heaven.  It will do wonders to your pasta.  Just don’t overdo it – add just one of those little babies and invite me for inspection.  You can also visit the Urbani NYC headquarters on 11th in the 50’s (I forget)Eataly

9)  Pesce Alla Diamantese at IL Pesce – Seared fish of the day cooked with tomato sauce, olives, Calabrian Chiles, fennel and capers.  Savory, great flaky texture and absolutely delicious.  Well played Mario.

10)  Gelato – Duh!!  Try the Stracciatella (sort of like choc chip) and Nocciola (hazelnut).  Fantastic gelato

So there you have it.  Buon Appetito, and stay hungry my friends.  Some more food porn…

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5 Reasons to Visit Flatiron District this Month

MSP2IMG_1640The Flatiron district is one of my favorite areas in NYC.  It is the first area I think about when I need to kill some time.  You got great architecture, artsy park, some of the best dining in NYC like Maialino and ABC Kitchen, and a stone throw away from Union Square and the village, Curry Hill, Koreatown and other great hoods.  If all that is not enough here are 5 reasons to head to Flatiron today

1.  New art at Madison Square Park.  Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow, and Blue.  3 structures of layers of hand painted ropes  in 3 areas of the park.  I’ve seen a lot of art over the years at the park and this is one of the most stunning

http://www.madisonsquarepark.org/art

2.  Madison Square Eats.  They are back.  New York’s finest in the food business dishing out some super tasty snacks.  We are talking about Roberta’s Pizza (try the Bee Sting pizza), momofuku milk bar, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Arancini Bros., Bar Suzette, Hong Kong Street Cart and much much more (note that was 2 muches).Madison Square Eats

Avoid midweek during lunch however unless you don’t mind painful lines.  More painful than standing in a full bus on a Friday night for 90 minutes as I did the other day.  It was getting somewhat frustrating at some point but then luckily we all got that loud announcement again.  “City bus operators are protected by state law. assaulting a bus operator is a felony!” Well thank goodness.  And what perfect timing as I was just getting riled up.  I mean is it really necessary to wake an entire bus of tired New Yorkers after work with this announcement.  I can just imagine the meetings they had about what announcements they should do with their brand spanking new buses with fancy announcement systems.  ” Hey lets remind them that assaulting a driver is a felony in case, you know, they are plotting something”,  “Oh and lets also remind them what the fare is in case they forgot”  We just paid it!!

Eataly3.  Eataly.  Still there and not going anywhere by the look of the crowds.  I’ve been there 3 more times in the last 4 weeks alone and had more delicious Italian goodness like this Asparagus and egg dish in Le Verdure.

4.  ABC Cocina.  Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Dan Kluger’s much hyped Spanish tapa extension to the ultra popular farm to table ABC Kitchen.

5.  Do you really need a 5th reason?  Seriously why are you still reading?  I gave you 4 perfectly fine reasons above including great food, flowers and painted ropes next to flowers.  What else do you want?  You know what, I had a great 5th reason but I’m choosing not to share it at this time.  Instead I leave you with more pictures of painted rope with flowers, food, and for my Australian readers a squirrel…IMG_1628 IMG_1636 IMG_1637 IMG_1641 IMG_1648 IMG_1651 IMG_1658 IMG_1660 IMG_1663

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