Posts Tagged With: markets

Chelsea Market Tours

Chelsea MarketI decided to do Chelsea Market tours through the winter.  I’ve been toying with the idea for a while, but finally decided to do it after the third person asked me.  The last one I toured with yesterday.  I also noticed many people on Trip Advisor are having trouble navigating through the market, and come out very disappointed, which is a money opportunity shame.  While many New Yorkers avoid the market for its craziness (and by craziness I mean you tourist), the foodies out there, and those in the know go out of their way to eat and shop there.  With all our current food halls, courts and markets all over NYC, Chelsea Market is still the most unique one offering the best eats.  And unlike say, Little Italy, its touristy for good reason.  But as with any such market pretty much, there’s value in going with a local

You can very well explore on your own, and I’ve written plenty here to help you out with the many options.  There’s no secret to what I like, but there are a few places not so easy to find (I call one the market speakeasy).  I’ve been to Chelsea Market well over 100 times, to the point that I even know what other tour groups are eating.  These are big groups that can only do it at 10 am or 2 pm.  With smaller groups I can afford a more proper, relaxed walk, and also customize the eats if needed

Who is the tour for:  Foodies, locals, market lovers, models, anyone really.  I’ve taken both locals and visitors to the market before.  If we have time we can also walk on the High Line and I’ll take you to my favorite dessert in Chelsea nearby (outside the market, in addition to dessert in CM).  Worse case scenario you’ll have a chance to meet a fun, energetic, good looking local, and I’ll do my very best to find that individual!

$50 per person for now.  If interested, email me.  Oh and remind me to tell you the story behind the picture below.


Categories: Chelsea, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jean-Talon Market (Montreal)

img_1623Quite possibly the most vibrant, colorful, high quality produce market I’ve ever seen.  In too much awe to take enough quality pictures.  And by awe I mean the outrageously sweet and delicious “peaches and cream” corn.  They have an entire section dedicated for corn where they sell it to you boiled and buttered.  Something else you dont normally see in markets, fruits available to taste.  You can spend a solid two to three hours here having a picnic right inside it.  Just you and your corn.  And ground cherries!  Look em up, than find them in your city.  Your homework assignment.

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Categories: Montreal | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ortigia Market – A Walk With a Chef

IMG_8961“I promised Marcello I won’t be taking too many seflies”, said chef Lele while we were gearing up for the second one.  My kids would argue that two in 90 minutes suggests that you are fairly close to a comma.  But different rules perhaps apply to the island of Ortigia in east Sicily, home to a spectacular Duomo, puppets, mussels, and a pretty nifty market

90 minutes prior we met Lele Torrisi next to the Temple of Apollo, the oldest doric remains in Sicily, 6th century BC, 27th century BI (Before Iphone).  The temple is adjacent to what later became our favorite market in Sicily.  I already knew chef Lele would sport his chef attire, and I briefly considered all four of us to show up in similar fashion.  But it was too hot, and I wasnt too certain about the chef’s sense of humor.  I was sporting my spanking brand new Fedora

Turns out I didnt need to worry about the sense of humor part, which made the walk that much more enjoyable.  And within minutes, I was an expert.  I knew which swordfish was frozen.  I knew where the pistachio really come from (hint: Not from here).  I knew what the vendors are shouting.  Mrs Ziggy knew what to do with the spice pack she’s been hiding in the cabinet for over a year.  And I knew how to inspect the fish for freshness.  I can already imagine the look on my fishmonger face on my next visit, when he sees me open up those gills with glovesIMG_8996

We also learned about the various seasons.  That July is a particular good time to cook in Sicily.  That mussels and peaches right now are at their best.  Another big lesson that set the tone for us the rest of the trip is not to judge a peach by its cover.  The uglier the better.  But the highlight came at the end, when we popped into the famed sandwich maker Borderi (if you wear “I love [your name]” t-shirt, you officially made it).  And out pops a board of deliciousness, including sensational smoked mozzarella.

Everything about Lele Torrisi reads like the Ferran Adrià of Siracusa.  From his time spent in various Michelin powerhouses, including Osteria Francescana and Massimo Bottura, to the more humble times spent with his dad Alfio at Ristorante Dioniso, 10 minute walk from market.  The unexpected expected consequences that came out from all of this, is that we ate exceptionally well the rest of our Sircausa stay.  Within minutes we were tasting local craft beer (a luxury in Sicily) at one month old Pani_Co, an artsy local wine bar with a full menu.  The Alveria American style IPAs turned out to be the best brew we drank in Sicily.  And later that night we were dining with locals in the know at Macallè, where Lele serves as a consultant

Lele markets himself these days via Marcello Baglioni’s Agave Travel Creative.  Marcello specialty is experiences, “Slow Travel”, memories that stay with you far beyond the memory of seeing yet another church.  Instead of just staying at an Agriturismo, he will set you up with various activities, like harvesting (pistachios, olives, grapes).  He can arrange an archaeological dig (I’ve done it in Israel, fun), climb Mt Etna with a volcanologist, tour mafia facilities and even go on a “job” with some.  Ok, I made the last one up, but you get the idea.

Lele is Agave’s culinary arm, where you can schedule such market walks, cooking classes, and anything you want really (anything!).  We could have walked the Ortigia market by ourselves in less than 10 minutes, take selfies with the fish, and ate in other restaurants I planned on.  But what kind of memories would have derived from that.IMG_9043 IMG_9040 IMG_9015 IMG_9021 IMG_8998 IMG_8997 IMG_8995 IMG_8991 IMG_8989 IMG_8987 IMG_8985 IMG_8965 IMG_8962 IMG_8924 IMG_3409 IMG_9046 IMG_9059 IMG_0615

Categories: Sicily | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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