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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ONLY IN NEW YORK--YOU'LL JUST EAT UP THIS GREAT FOOD AND CULTURE TOUR!!


Food Tour
an Eleni creation

Recipe for a dynamic New York City Food and Culture Tour:  Take one small group of people, add one enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and vivacious guide; toss in three fascinating and historical New York City locations, and finish with incredibly delicious and varied tastings at ten different top notch restaurants and shops as well as peeks at and background information on many more.  We have all this and more with Food of NY Tours’ Chelsea MKT/Meatpacking District Food and Culture Tour.  It is superb—a tour not to be missed.

Our tour begins in the Chelsea Market, an area that has been incredibly transformed over the last 20 or so years that it bears no resemblance to the shady and unsavory area it was then.  Today it is alive with upscale shops and creative spaces teeming with business and people. 

The Market is the birthplace of Nabisco, and to give you an idea of the building’s size, at one time a steam train ran through it delivering and moving the wonderful Nabisco products, beginning with its first big seller, the Uneeda Biscuit.  The building fills two entire blocks.

Chelsea Market, NYC
Guess who takes this elevator

Companies that headquarter here today include MLB.com, Google, EMI Music Publishing, The Oxygen Network, and the Food Network.  Indeed, Iron Chef America and Emeril Live film in the Market.  Visitors can tell which elevator bank to use by looking at the decorations on the doors. The building is incredibly cool.

But for our purposes, we remain on the first floor with our absolutely perfect guide, Cindy! 


Food Tour
The ____________Place (fill in the missing name word)

That first floor is quite phenomenal, and Cindy did not allow us to lose the ingenuity in its creation.  The developers, for instance, wanted businesses to be able to combine their retail and manufacturing on site, but not behind closed doors.  In many of the shops we see bakers or sushi chefs creating the beautiful and delicious delicacies right before our eyes. 

If you are a fan of Sarabeth’s Kitchen, for instance, you can see her mouth watering creations being made, and on our tour, we savor a Sarabeth scone on which we heap our choice of her famous jam.  We even see Sarabeth herself scurrying throughout the bakery supervising her bakers.  (she requests no photos, so I just enjoyed my scone)  I have since discovered her jams locally, and there are now two jars in my pantry.

With each stop, Cindy tells an amazing story of the shop or the entrepreneurship of its creators or of the building itself.  With each story, a new dimension opens for us. 

Food TourLook at this picture.  Imagine a steam train riding down the middle, the vents opening in the roof to allow air to flow, etc.  The train is filled with the ingredients and products that have made Nabisco a household name.  The clock is from an old train station, and a great deal of money was expended to make it work.  The walls are an art gallery.  Presently exhibited are some extraordinary photographs. The photographer, Gregg Segal, posed today’s men in period dress at Civil War battle sites as the site currently appears.  Intriguing.  Another section of his work portrays Superheroes at Home.  Cute.

Food Tour
But let’s not stray too far from the food.  Let me give you a microbite of this great touring adventure, and show you just the places we had our taste buds delighted.

We begin in Eleni's where we have cupcakes.  But look at these creations.  This is art for tummy’s sake. 

Food Tour
Cookies of every imaginable shape, size, or theme!






Food Tour
Milk crates, ice cream, yogurt
 and "thank you" pictures from visiting schoolchildren
 
On to  The Ronnybrook Milk Bar where we enjoy chocolate milk to die for!  It is incredibly rich and creamy, and it comes from up in upstate New York.  While there is no cow in sight except in pictures, there are displays of butter, ice cream and yogurt. All for sale. To my total surprise, I have since discovered Ronnybrook's products in my local Warwick ShopRite and in Pennings Farmer’s Market in Warwick, New York as well as at the Florida Farmer's Market in Florida, New York. 

Food Tour
On to The Lobster Place where we have our choice of soups.  I have new England Clam Chowder.  Rob has Spicy Shrimp and Black Bean, but there are more choices.  One photo won’t suffice, so look at them all.  The sushi is tantalizing, the lobsters absolutely incredible, and the display is phenomenal.  BTW, The Lobster Place sells 100 million pounds of lobster a year.
Food Tour

Food Tour
oysters, anyone?
Just when you think you’ve had the best, you go to Buon Italia where we are served a mini feast at our own table; mini baguettes, cheeses, chippolini in balsamic vinegar, Sicilian olives, artichoke spread, mortadella, and more.  In Buon Italia, you will find everything Italian, and you will be thrilled.  Even outside the store you can buy fine store-prepared dishes.  Walking by the display case makes you salivate.
Food TourFood Tour

Food TourBut we are off to The Tuck Shop, an Australian Eatery.  Tucks are little pies filled with delicious savories, and they are Australian.  On our tour we had an Australian couple who, after tasting these tucks, declared them as authentic.  So, go ahead, visit this shop, and enjoy a real taste of Australia.


Food TourThink we are done?  Not quite.  We stop in Chelsea Market Baskets, a gourmet shop with just about everything tempting you can think of from just about any place you can think of.  It is a potpourri of fun items, beautiful items, and some very nice tasting.
Food Tour


After all of this, we need to take a walk, so we head to the High Line.  We can consider the High Line a work in progress, but it is so New York.  I will tell you about that, our walk through the meatpacking district, and our last stop at a very special Italian restaurant in another post.
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