To say that we wanted to eat about 100 times more food than we actually ate during our second day in Manhattan would be a pretty accurate statement. Since one of our first morning stops (after buying I (heart) NY T-shirts in Times Square) was to fulfull my lifelong dreams of visiting the Union Square Greenmarket, some of the coveted food included vegetables. I mean, just look at these beauties:
After circling and perusing and pondering while sharing a large cup of fresh tomato juice, we settled on sharing a delicious tomato tart and a blueberry-orange scone for breakfast. This tart was simply divine. It had a big slice of tomato inside the tart filling, and flavorful, juicy, roasted cherry tomatoes on top. Yum!
From there, we did some meandering, people-watching and window shopping as we made our way west to Chelsea Market. This ground floor of this historic building (the National Biscuit Company complex) was just being developed into retail space when we lived in New Jersey. In fact, I still have a chef's apron I bought at a shop there. Today, it's like Foodies Gone Wild. Whether you were looking to eat something on the spot or buy ingredients to use at home, there was no end to the deliciousness. I can't tell you how we regretted not being hungry! Or how many people we saw perched on stools and steps eating lobster.
We settled for sharing a pint of Dead Reckoning Porter at The Filling Station. We wouldn't have minded each having our own, but it was so hot and humid (again) that we suspected that more than half a beer would make us want a nap.
We picked up more edible souvenirs here (salted green peas, sesame sticks and chocolate-covered pistachios) from The Nutbox. Then we started hoofing it south through Greenwich Village, popping into a shops along the way and once again mourning our lack of multiple stomachs when we chanced upon this Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream truck. Boo-hoo!
Once we passed through Greenwich into Soho, we did more souvenir shopping, buying glasses at the Warby Parker showroom (which was not marked...kind of like it was a secret). I seriously need some prescription sunglasses (I ditched contacts for glasses almost a year ago, and have been sunglass-less ever since), but my prescription is too powerful for mere mortals to handle, so I had to settle for buying the frames to take to my optician. Which is fine, because I got a discount and free shipping.
By now, at long last, we were getting hungry. Hooray! So we made a beeline for the number one must-see site on my NYC to-do list: Eataly. I recall hyperventilating a bit when I first read about this monument to Italian food in the New York Times shortly after it opened two years ago. Wild dogs couldn't have kept me away now. If Chelsea Market was crazy inside, Eataly was insane.
We apparently hit Eataly at the exact wrong time. It was mid afternoon and packed...and we were starving. When you've never been there, it's a bit confusing and overwhelming to weave through all the bodies, trying to get the lay of the land and decide not only where you might want to eat, but whether there's space for you to do so! (About the time we finished eating, the crowd had thinned noticeably.)
We were able to squeeze our way into an end of a shared standing-only table at La Piazza, where we ordered the "Grande Piatto Misto di Salumi & Formaggi" to share, along with two glasses of red wine. The platter was fantastic, with a variety of cheeses and meats accompanied by delicious bread and a plate with honey and fig and apricot compotes. Behold, the mostly decimated platter:
Suitably fortified, we were ready to shop. And now I know where to go when I need some wild boar!
We picked up a carton of fresh figs, crackers, mineral water, a peach, a cloth Eataly bag and some mineral water (most of this was destined to be eaten soon). We also picked up a beautiful cold panini with baby arugula and prosciutto to eat for a simple dinner later. It was absolutely packed with arugula, which is half the reason we chose it...our day's veggie consumption had not been up to our usual standards.
The perfect finish to our Eataly excursion was gelato. And not just any gelato. This was "I would walk across hot coals for this gelato" gelato.
I ordered scoops of salted caramel and pistachio (Jeff subbed hazelnut for the pistachio), and we enjoyed them under light rainfall in the shadow of the Flatiron Building.
It was a great little urban park, sandwiched between Fifth Avenue and Broadway. Perfect for people-watching.
Tomorrow: Food and nostalgia on the Jersey Shore.