Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chelsea Market

Last week I spent vacation time visiting my sister in the Capital region of New York. Most of my trip was spent in Troy and Albany offset by a getaway earlier in the week to New York City. With literally thousands of things to do in NYC, we narrowed it down to mainstream tourists sites (the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, etc) and to several districts and neighborhoods throughout the city, one of which was the Chelsea District. Situated in West Manhattan, north of Greenwich Village and just blocks away from the Hudson River, the Chelsea District was once home to the National Biscuit Company, which in the early 1900s provided half the biscuit production (crackers and cookies) in the United States. Today these old industrial buildings have been renovated to luxury lofts occupied by residents and businesses and to the Chelsea Market, a gourmet food market, known by food lovers throughout the city and beyond.
Walking through Chelsea Market you get a feeling of the lost industrial culture it's history suggests intertwined with modern restaurants, kitchen stores, and small grocers. We meandered through an Italian grocery store with the largest assortment of olives I've ever seen, dried pasta, and a meat counter adorned with procuitto and a variety of salamis. We sipped fresh milk at the Milk Bar from Ronnybrook Dairy paired with chocolate cannolis and apricot rugelach from Ruthy's Bakery. For lunch, we had crab and tomato soup from Hale and Hearty Soups. Strolling down the wood planked corridor, we continued to admire the charm of the old building as the bustling crowd funneled us through to more shops full of fresh flowers, chocolate, and seafood. One restaurant I admired enough to walk in and grab a menu of to take home with me to study was The Green Table, a sustainable eatery and wine bar. I opened the menu and the first thing I noticed was the date stamped at the top of the page, unusual but necessary for a restaurant that plans its menu around fresh, local, and seasonal foods. What would I picked off the menu if we would of eaten there? It's a toss up between choucroute- or what the french would describe as dressed sauerkraut- (alsatian style sauerkraut with Blooming Hill Farms cabbage, served with Flying Pigs Farm pork belly, house made sausage and fingerling potatoes) and the Macaroni and Cheese (Coach Farm goat cheese, Neighborly Farms- and to think I *almost* didn't include a link to their webpage!- organic colby and cheddar, parmesan and Hudson Valley milk combined with organic pasta and topped with herbed breadcrumbs). Whew!
There is much to explore, pronounce, and taste at the Chelsea Market. In addition to the amazing shops and eateries, the main offices of the Food Network are housed just above the Market. Unfortunately, we were not joined for lunch by Bobby Flay or Alton Brown but the food and atmosphere were amazing nonetheless. A must see for any visit to New York City!

1 comment:

  1. It was such a great idea to go to Chelsea Market! It was fun and I felt more like a local than a tourist traveling through the market. I could see myself spending a lot of time there if I lived in NYC. Great synopsis of Chelsea Market. You describe it in writing very well!!!!