Sunday, April 15, 2007

Chelsea Market:

Cooking virtually is fun, but sometimes, a little in-person culinary diplomacy is in order. The eternal search for good food brings me and Jill from Ottawa to New York City for some of the best ingredients and eating on the planet.

We arrive at New York’s Chelsea Market in late afternoon on the day before the big storm, and enter the brick façade of the former site of the National Biscuit Company. If the name sounds familiar, National Biscuit was later shortened to a catcher brand name, and yes, they make Oreos. This place must have good karma.

We’re keeping a sharp eye out for celebrities. Jill’s friend -- who wants to be known as “Medusa” -- will probably consider the weekend a bust if there are no celebrity sightings. She’s opted for a power shopping trip downtown while we explore Chelsea.

If a food market is a chef’s fantasy, our first stop would make a kid’s sweet tooth jump for joy. We stop at Eleni’s, resplendent with walls painted a shocking Barbi-pink and cake stands stacked with hundreds of luscious cupcakes in a full palate of playful pastel colors. It looks like the inside of a Crayola Crayon box.

We wander through the Italian market. I pick up bags of chestnut flour, almond flour and hazelnut flour for future pastry projects. On a healthier note, Jill purchases Farro wheat.

The halls are lined with burnished brick and stone, and are reminiscent of a journey through a Gotham City railway station. There are shops and stands tucked into every nook and cranny. A crowd of people are learning to do the tango in the lobby outside the Food Network studios.

We step into a seafood shop that smells of brine where we marvel at the ice mountains crowned with lobster, blue fish and flounder fillets.

I’m obsessed with the cupcakes. We stop back to Eleni’s and indulge in a few bites of mini-cupcakes with swirled pastel tops, just to tide us over.

We head out of the market and nearly collide with actor Victor Garber. He looks intense -- a man on a mission. Medusa is going to be awfully upset that she abandoned us to go shoe shopping. We set off in the direction of Greenwich Village. There is a Mac and Cheese - the specialty at Deborah on Carmine Street -in our future.

©2007 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Wouldn't it be lovely to live close enough to Chelsea Market to get those first baguettes in the morning, a nice cup of coffee, some cupcakes, and cheeses from the Italian market, then pick up a newspaper and trundle home? That's the kind of morning I miss by living in a more rural place. So nice that you and Jill had fun exploring (and celebrity sighting!).

Patricia Scarpin said...

I wish I could grab some of those cupcakes, T.W.! :)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Lydia - we were fascinated by the bread at Amy's Kitchen - there's a whole production center that you can look in on, and the loaves were beautiful. Jill is still in town, by the way. The storm pushed back all the flights.

Patricia - The cupcakes were awesome -- I wish I lived closer!

MikeandKathy said...

Medusa here (oops, guess I just blew my own cover).
I'm happy to report that I went to a taping of The View on Monday morning and got up close and personal with Rosie O'Donnell, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Elizabeth Dingdong, and Bill Maher!
Thanks so much for entertaining us in Manhattan Tom, hope to see you soon.

Linda said...

ok - i'm dying for a cupcake at this point. i love chelsea market. us NYers... so spoiled.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Linda, those cupcakes are like works of art!