Search Results for: chelsea market

Chelsea Market Treats

This weekend, I wound up at Chelsea Market. I LOVE that place! The restaurants, the clothing shops, the food stores…it’s like the mall of my dreams!

And, after all, no matter how I may try to escape it, I am a valley girl. I am bound by my birth to love a shopping mall.

One of my favorite aspects of Chelsea Market is the large food court area with tons of different vendors. Tiny homemade doughnuts, vegan salads and soups, and gourmet grilled cheeses abound. Here are a couple of my favorite treats:

IMG_20131215_145110_551 Thai chicken curry pot pie from Tuck Shop

Australians don’t only get cute accents, they also get meat pies. Aussies love this stuff, and why not? A flaky, buttery crust surrounding savory, hearty fillings is just the thing for a snowy winter (or in their case, a snowy summer) day. This pie really fits the bill. The crust is a little dense and tough, but the filling is excellent. It’s creamy but not gloppy, with a surprising kick of spice – those little plastic cups of Sriracha are not necessary. The creamy coconut sauce is loaded with tender chicken, spinach, soft onions, and other vegetables. There are the aromatic note of kaffir lime and coriander. It’s large enough to satisfy for lunch but small enough to eat quickly. Heartily recommended!

IMG_20131215_180104_694 S’mores candy bar from Liddabit Sweets

It’s not just this bar, it’s everything from Liddabit. The chocolate is all rich and thick, with just the right balance of creamy and bitter. The fillings, from fluffy marshmallows to boozy pecans, are all high quality. Their signature honeycomb candy, in delightfully irregular icebergs, is enrobed in such a thick layer of chocolate that it is more like fudge. The bacon caramel corn is enough to cause a frenzy in our home, resulting in pulled hair and hoarding of said corn.

Liddabit is totally awesome.

As are all of my Chelsea Market favorites!

Doughnuttery – Outrageous Doughnuts in Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market has done it again. The old-fashioned Nabisco factory in the heart of the Meatpacking district has a plethora of interesting restaurants and food shops, ever-changing and always interesting. None can be more interesting than the brand new Doughnuttery.

Why, you may ask? Because not only does this small cart make handmade doughnuts on the spot, it makes them in insanely cool flavors.

The doughnuts are continuously made right in front of you, then when they are piping hot they are plucked from the oil…

rolled in flavored sugars or glazes, and…

delivered into your gluttonous little hands. The doughnuts aren’t just special because they are fresh and well made, with an airy texture and light, yeasty taste. It’s because of the glazes and sugars on hand.

How about sugars like PBCP (Peanut Butter, cayenne, pretzel), The Purple Pig (Maple, purple potatoes, bacon​), and Mistletoe (Ginger, cranberry, and sage)? Or perhaps you would like your doughnuts covered in a sugary icing, like the Raspberry balsamic sauce or the Pumpkin beer caramel sauce? Look, you can of course get a plain old cinnamon sugar doughnuts here but why would you? This place doesn’t just exist to give you a quick sugar high, it strives to challenge your tastebuds and expand the way that you think about this classic fried treat.

Cacaoboy with Sea salt, cacao nibs, and black sugar

This is one of the more tame offerings, but even it is so head and tails above your average sugared doughnut that it’s almost laughable. This doughnut is intensely flavored – salty, bitter, vibrant with chocolate, and of course, pleasantly sweet.

The different grains in the sugar provide interesting textural contrasts – a large cacao nib cracks pleasingly next to a melting grain of sea salt upon a fluffy, pliant tuft of doughnut. This is every bit as complex and well crafted as a $15 dessert in a fine dining restaurant.

The Doughnuttery is a welcome addition to Chelsea Market. Grab a half-dozen for a few very reasonable dollars, find a seat in the main thoroughfare and watch the world pass by.

​​​Scratch that…get the full dozen. They go that fast.

Doughnuttery on Urbanspoon

Weekday Breakfast at Le Grainne

This is a short and to the point write up:

Le Grainne is a lovely weekday breakfast spot.

It’s on 9th avenue, in that stretch of Chelsea just above Chelsea Market – you know, that street where there are still graceful brownstones and cute boutiques, like NYC wasn’t about to become one big shopping mall.

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There is a very small but pretty sidewalk seating area, and inside it’s cozy and Parisian-feeling. The perfect place to catch up with a friend over a bowl of cafe au lait and a crispy croissant.

20140911_093912 Goat cheese and leek crepe

Maybe this isn’t how Parisians do breakfast, but this is how they should do it. Because this is both delicious and wholesome – sure beats that chocolate croissant in the “keeping you full” department. The goat cheese is melty and soft, less dense than cream cheese and with an unmistakable tang. The leeks are a little crunchy for my tastes, so next time I might go with goat cheese au naturel. The crepe itself is expertly prepared – whisper thin and crispy, substantial enough to hold the goat cheese but not at all doughy. The salad alongside is lightly dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette – fresh and tasty.
20140911_093916 This place is charming! The food is lovely, the prices are fair, and the service is a little more laid back than I prefer, but hey…it’s faster than it would be if this place actually was in France!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Buon Italia, Txikito, and Hakata Tonton

I go out to eat a lot – at restaurants, at food trucks, and at street fairs. Though most of the food I eat is pretty tasty, some of it is really exceptional, and that’s the food we are talking about today – 3 recent bites that are so phenomenal that they deserve a post all their own!

Buon Italia Bruschetta Caprese

I have long loved this Chelsea Market store for its wonderful Italian imports. If it’s Italian, you can find it here. From truffled cheeses to Nutella the size of an Olsen twin, to homemade porchetta, everything Italian is either imported or house made here. I have come here many times for artisanal pasta, rich cream, and imported olives, but I have rarely stopped at the small counter just outside the store, selling prepared food. A recent lunchtime visit proved that I have been a moron, yet again. This is the best bruschetta I have had since I was a child in California. One bite of this brought me back to the first time I ever tasted the Italian delicacy. The bread is toasted but not thick crusted, so it can be easily bitten and its surface is saturated with sweet tomato juices. Overtly garlicky, strewn with floral basil and very light, clean olive oil. Salted enough to bring out the tomatoes’ juices, then finished with three slices of mozzarella so creamy that they could practically be burrata. This isn’t a particularly big or inexpensive bite, but it is so perfect that it is worth every calorie and every cent.

Albondigas at Txikito

This tiny Basque-style tapas (which are called pinxtos) restaurant is hardly a sleeper hit, but it has taken me way too long to get here. Along with the cinnamon and apple tinged sangria, the don’t miss dish here is the albondigas. These little lamb meatballs are juicy and soft. They are crisp and caramelized on the outside and robustly lamb-y on the inside. Served in a broth made with white wine, garlic, and chiffonades of sharp mint, the dish is at once bright and deep. I could easily make a meal of this alone, with a side of bread. That is the only issue I have with this dish – stop being stingy with the bread, folks! Give a gal a piece!

 

Hakata Tonton Pork Belly

When I ran headfirst into a ramen festival on the Upper West Side, I was reminded again how much I love this city. Where else can you head out for pancakes and eggs and find yourself walking amidst ramen, gyoza, obanyaki, and other Japanese delicacies?! Even at 10:30 AM, I knew what my first bite would be. Hakata Tonton is famous for making all things pork – ear, belly, shanks…if it comes from the pig, it’s at Hakata Tonton, and it is delicious. These freshly grilled pork skewers proved that the restaurant deserves its excellent reputation.

The smoky and crisp meat is tender, contrasting with bouncy ribbons of pure, opalescent fat. If you don’t like the texture of fat, this isn’t  for you, but I love it.  Slathered with a tangy-sweet Japanese BBQ sauce and a smattering of sesame seeds, I could have eaten this entire skewer then had another.

 But, as you see, there are just so many delicious bites in NYC – I always like to save some room for the next serendipitous dish.

Txikito on Urbanspoon

Tasty Round Up

This is one of those round up posts where I mention a few of my favorite dishes in and around NYC. They are dishes from restaurants, from food stands, and from food trucks – enough for a quick mention, just not enough for a full review. Without further ado:

People’s Pops

This gourmet shave ice and popsicle store has a location in Chelsea Market and on the Highline. The popsicles are made daily with natural ingredients. The fanciful flavors, like peach-basil, are made using farmers market fruits and vegetables. Though the popsicles are delicious, my favorite thing to get is the shave ice. Order one and watch the staff deftly shave ice by hand from a  huge block of ice. Then, it is densely packed into a paper cup, covered with a homemade syrup (the rhubarb is sweet, light, and extremely fresh tasting), and delivered to you. The combination of hard ice crystals, fluffy snow, and fresh fruit can’t be beat. Just hurry to eat it before it melts!

Tia Pol

Head to this tiny Chelsea restaurant, barely wider than a broom closet, for traditional Spanish tapas. Sit at the long, narrow bar and order crispy patatas bravas with a garlicky aioli, creamy fava bean bruschetta, and a glass of dry cava. Don’t  miss the shisito peppers, cooked here with less oil than most places. This results in a smoky, charred exterior, speckled with salt,that yields to a soft, juicy skin. The exciting part of eating shisito peppers is that you never know how hot they are – some are as sweet as bell peppers, and some leave you sweating. It’s gustatory Russian Roulette!

The Sunroom

Though there were hits and misses, especially in the service department, this smoked salmon pizette was excellent. Fluffy pita bread, sturdy but still airy, is slathered with tangy creme fraiche and draped with silky, pleasantly salty smoked salmon. Best of all, it is topped with a bevy of fresh herbs, vegetables, and spices- tarragon, dill, chervil, the crunch of capers, thinly sliced baby radishes, and a heavy dose of coarsely ground peppers. The seemingly excessive greenery is actually just enough – it anchors the salmon, making it meatier and more substantial. It melds sea and land, providing grassy, herbal notes. This might not be a complicated recipe, but it is varied and multilayered.

Taboon

This upscale big sister to Taboonette serves an upscale Middleterranean inspired menu for dinner, including dishes like whole roasted fish, seared foie gras, and cinnamon spiced Kibbeh. As delicious as the savory dishes are, the Silan sundae is the standout of the menu. Creamy vanilla ice cream is layered with sticky-sweet date honey, slightly salty pistachios,  crunchy Rice Crispies, and a cloud of shredded halvah. The texture of cotton candy combined with the nutty flavor of Butterfinger completes this dish, making it visually whimsical and tastes quite complex. Don’t fill up on the addictive house made bread – be sure to save room for this decadent dessert.

Taboon on Urbanspoon

The Taco Truck on the High Line

Summer in NYC isn’t just about the subway smelling like workout socks and hoards of tourists descending upon Times Square. It’s also about summer Fridays, movies at Bryant Park, and the High Line.

This elevated park in NYC is one of my favorite places. Sure, it’s open year round, but in the summer it really comes to life. That’s when people sit sunbathing on benches, stroll with loved ones, and genuinely enjoy life in the city. Try to see someone enjoying life in the city on a February day after a snow storm.

The High Line is right near Chelsea Market, where there are a bunch of delicious dining options, but now there are a few options smack dab on the High Line. Grab a bite, grab a chair in the sun or under the covered section, and enjoy yourself.

The bite that I tried was from The Taco Truck.

This food cart, featuring Mexican street food, uses organic, sustainable, and homemade ingredients as much as possible. There are freshly made salsas, overstuffed tortas, and crisply fried tortilla chips, but the real reason to come here is for the small, flavorful tacos.

Get a Mexican coke or a homemade agua fresca, pay for your meal, and wait for it to be cooked to order.

Each meal is made to order, so you may need to wait a few minutes for your food. Don’t worry – it won’t be too long. Use the time to find a seat in the shade.

Carnitas Michoacan with Guacamole and Habanero Salsa

Slow braised pork with onions, cilantro, habanero salsa, and guacamole. Usually, carnitas are shredded, like Southern pulled pork sandwiches, but these were in small nuggets. They were not as juicy as I prefer, but the flavor was sweet and rich. The corn tortillas were excellent – thin and pliant, loaded with fiery (but not crazy hot) habanero salsa. This salsa is fine for people who like relatively spicy but not burn-your-face-off-spicy food. The guacamole is a must – fresh, buttery, filled with cilantro and sharp onions. A spritz of lime ties it all together.

The Taco Truck doesn’t make my favorite taco in the city. But it does make a tasty taco, for a good price, in a fantastic atmosphere. Though it isn’t worth a special trip, it does feed a yen for Mexican food if you are on the High Line. And sometimes, that’s all that summer in NYC needs.

Passover and Easter Hostess Gifts

Passover is in full swing chez Fritos and Foie Gras, and I know that Easter is this Sunday.

Truth be told, my family is holding our seder this Saturday, even though it’s a little late in the game – growing up, my dad didn’t have a 9-5 job and we didn’t always know ahead of time when he would be home. So, we always held our Seder on the weekend that covered Passover, and it’s something that just stuck!

So, if you are attending a Seder or an Easter egg hunt this weekend, you might want to know some treats to bring? Have no fear, here are some of my favorite holiday appropriate hostess gifts.

Just remember…you have to gie them to the hostess. So that means that if you throw the shindig…you are in LUCK!

Macarons from La Maison du Chocolat

The perfect chametz-free treat. These aren’t cheap, but they are among the best in town.  They are almost as good as what I have had in Paris. Exceptionally light on the outside and rich on the inside. The cookies are crisp and airy, with just a touch of chew, and the ganache is very rich and creamy. The flavors are also excellent – the passion fruit is bright and tangy, the pistachio is nutty and creamy, and the chocolate is so dark  and handsome that you will probably run away and marry it.

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Spanikopita from Poseidon Bakery

This year, Greek Orthodox EAster and WEstern Easter fall on the same day – that almost never happens! To celebrate, why not indulge in your Greek side with what is, without a doubt, the best Geek bakery in America? This is the last bakery int he country to hand make its own phyllo dough,with nothing weird or unpronounceable added to it. It’s a tiny shop owned by a family who will direct you to the best pastries and treats. The baklava is memorable, with layers of crispy dough soaked in honey and chopped walnuts, and there are other pastries soaked in sugar syrup and filled with creamy custard, but I love the savory pastries the most. Parcels filled with meat, with cheese, with vegetables, and with all three; in cylinders, in tubes, in squares. The spanikopita is of course the best known, and this creamy, garlicky pastry is just to die for. It’s rich and savory, with fragrant dill, sauteed onions, and creamy feta cheese. It’s seemingly perfect.

Scratch that. It IS perfect.

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Lemon poppy seed doughnut from Doughnut Plant

Simply the best doughnuts in NYC. Better than any doughnuts in the world except for Krispy Kremes and the honey soaked zalabia that I ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when I was in Cairo.

These yeast doughnuts from Doughnut Plant are phenomenal in their own right – airy, squishy, and loaded with pure, bright, tart lemony flavor and crunchy poppy seeds. They are such an update on the classic lemon poppy seed muffin that you may never be able to order that basket for Grandma for Mother’s Day again. She will like these doughnuts more anyway. They have an extra layer of sugary, sticky glaze that is the perfect amount of sweet to counteract the lemon. Count on 2 per person and count on a nap afterwards.

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Lamb Pie from Tuck Shop

The traditional Easter food in a hand held package! I haven’t actually tried this version, but I am a big fan of their other pies, and would be willing to be that this one has the same flaky, buttery crust and well seasoned inside with tender meat and fresh vegetables. Plus, you don’t need to slather this with acid-green mint jelly to make it palatable.

#winning.

Lemon egg-ceptional from Pomme Palais

I’ve said it before and I have said it again. I work here, but the lemon eggceptional really is one of a kind. It’s tasty, it’s beautiful, and it’s something that even kids will take delight in eating. Plus, could there be anything more seasonal for the spring? It’s perfectly sweet and light, and I can’t anyone disliking it.

If they do, shun them instantly.

Happy holidays!

A Lotta Salad and a Little Sweet

Here’s hoping that those of you on the east coast enjoyed your unseasonably warm weekend.

And as for those of you on the west coast…every weekend is warm.

We all hate you.

I have been eating some healthy food and some total junk food. It’s all or nothing with me, lately! Here’s the scoop:

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Westville

One of those “how have I never been here?” places. Because, really..why haven’t I? The Chelsea location is small and on the cramped side, so sit at the bar for lunch or come with 1 friend max – a table of 3 really better be comprised of skinny minnies to be comfortable. The food isn’t fancy but it surely is tasty – my daily special of chef’s salad was filled with excellently grilled strip steak – crispy on the edges and juicy within. Hunks of cucumber, creamy avocado, and other market fresh veggies rounded out the dish. It isn’t that the recipe is new or intricate, it’s that the ingredients are all cooked and composed very well. Bravo.

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Rare

I haven’t been to this restaurant since it used to be in Greenwich Village years ago. The new Chelsea vibe has become a little more corporate and has lost some of its personality and charm. But if the burgers are as good as I remember them – thick, juicy, and topped with pungent and high quality Artisanal cheese – then the loss of atmosphere is a small price to pay.

The Cobb salad is again, standard but well done. Crispy bacon, buttery avocado, chunks of nutty cheddar cheese, and juicy char-grilled chicken. Oh yeah, and they chop it almost ingot oblivion if you ask nicely. That’s what takes this salad from satisfying to craveable. 

Why do chopped salads taste so much better? Have I actually gotten so lazy that I no longer like to chew?

Don’t answer that…

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Queen Anne cherry candies

This time of year, they haunt every drug store from Rite Aid to Duane Reade. It’s the trashiest candy on the planet – there is nothing here that occurs in nature. I don’t even like cherries very much, let alone the disgusting fluorescent red items known as Maraschino cherries. And yet…these are so wonderful. A thin, sweet chocolate shell surrounding sweet, sticky glaze and a pop of a juicy, candied cherry. These will give you a diabetic shock. And a stomachache.

Each year I eat them until I am sick of them. 

Not there yet, this year!

AG Kitchen – All Bark, No Bite

The best thing about eating is when you order something at a restaurant expecting it to be good and it’s extraordinary. Or when you pull together a few random ingredients and make a dish fit for a king.

Likewise, one of the biggest letdown is when you go to a restaurant where all the descriptions of food sound out of this world and the result is overwhelmingly underwhelming.

Such is the tale of AG Kitchen. This UWS Latin eatery is bright, spacious, casual, and has a menu that looks incredible. And yet…this place just falls short.

Bacon wrapped dates with almonds, blue cheese, and endive

By far the most successful dish of the day. The dates are warm and sticky, studded with a crunchy almond and wrapped in salty, smoky, charred and sticky bacon. It is salty, buttery, meaty, and sweet. The blue cheese, though strong, adds a deep and funky note that rounds out the dish, and the endive and onion relish on the bottom lightens the bite, making it cleaner and brighter. I have seen these on other menus, but they are done really well here – that rich blue cheese and tangy balsamic glaze really makes them stand out. These are very rich and even I couldn’t eat more than two, but this is something that I would get again.

Huevos Garcia with chipotle chicken, black beans, and a tostada

Very disappointing. The eggs are well scrambled, soft and not too bouncy, and the beans are quite good – soft and spiced with cumin, garlic, and onions. That’s where the good stuff stops. The chicken is insipid and bathed in a watery, bland sauce that promises chipotle but tastes only of canned tomatoes and liquid smoke. The tostadas are not thick enough and quickly grow soggy and tough. The layers of cheddar cheese are melty and sharp, but without any sour cream or avocado, this dish still lacks a creamy component. As well as a salty one, a juicy one, a spicy one…well, you get the picture.

Cinnamon French toast with whipped sour cream and tropical fruit.

Okay at best. The brioche is eggy and fluffy, but there is no real crust to provide textural variety. The taste is mostly of sugar, with little vanilla or cinnamon, and the tropical fruit is mealy and in such small quantity that it is hardly a main component of the dish. The whipped sour cream is wonderful – thick, tangy, and a great contrast to the sweet bread – but the maple syrup is served in a paper cup. I’m no snob but come on, guys…even the diner down the street has a stainless steel pitcher.

The food here doesn’t justify the prices. It’s too bad, because the service is nice and the setting is great for a jovial brunch, but $45 for sub par entrees and a few bacon wrapped dates is just too much. If they brought down the prices then I would come here if I was in the hood, but even then, it’s sadly not all that I wanted it to be.

AG Kitchen on Urbanspoon

The Red Cat is Still Quite the Party

Once again, I am the last kid to the party. Once again, the party is in Chelsea. Does that mean that both I am  incredibly uncool AND that all the parties are in Chelsea?
Duh.
The Red Cat has been around since 1999, when cool and gentrified Chelsea was just a twinkle in the last of the clubgoers’ eyes. Then, it made a huge splash, it made a huge splash in 2005 when Frank Bruni reviewed it, and it continues to make a huge splash by serving seasonal, local food in a decidedly unsplashy setting. 
Cozy but not at all cramped, with a few tables near the plate glass window that made the seating just perfect for people watching while we dined. Small bowls of peeled radishes up at the large, L-shaped bar made the it an inviting dining space as well.
Light and holey bread with fruity olive oil and a spicy, bubbly housemade ginger ale. Second only to that at Spice Market. Delish.
Soup of the Day-Broccoli with a cheddar toast. This was not the heavy, creamy broccoli soup I am used to(though heaven knows I love THAT kind). This was a rich but light pureed soup with the deep, unmistakable flavor of chicken broth paired against the clean, crisp taste of pureed broccoli. Sharp and salty cheddar cheese on impeccably toasted bread made a perfect pairing against the velvety dish. 
Tempura Green Beans with Spicy Mustard Sauce. YES MAMA!!! Snappy, sweet beans in a crispy, delicately oily though not greasy batter, dipped in nasal-clearing mustard sauce that had just a tinge of sweet honey. This was like bar food gone upscale and to the greenmarket. LOVE!
BLT with wilted romaine, feta cheese, dates and pepita chipotle mayonnaise. I have had BLTs. In fact, I love BLTs and order them often. NEVER have I had a BLT like this. Juicy tomato, meaty bacon and charred yet fresh tasting lettuce blended with sweet dates and sharp, salty feta that somehow added to the meatiness of the whole sandwich. The dates were SO juicy and the feta SO pungent, it was delightful with that familiar taste of a BLT. Though the pepitas (pumpkin seeds) really didn’t add much, the chipotle mayo was a zippy, smoky and creamy addition to the bread, which was similar to a Portuguese roll – soft and supple yet sturdy. This was a BLT for the ages: comforting, satisfying and interesting. 
The house made kettle chips, if a bit salty, were crispy and surely didn’t hurt my opinion of this delightful lunch.
The Blueberry-Apple Crostata with Mascarpone ice cream was as familiar as your favorite television show. Buttery, rich, decadent but not heavy pastry anchored tart and juicy blueberries, sweet, cinnamon spiced apples and creamy, vanilla flecked mascarpone ice cream that was not as sugary as it was vanilla-y. The caramel sauce was perfectly burnished and dark next to the smooth ice cream and the light and sweet fruit. It was a perfect rendition of a classic dessert.
And that’s what Red Cat is…a perfect rendition of a classic concept. Simple, seasonal food done according to the chef’s personal tastes in a relaxed atmosphere. The service is a bit lackadaisical, but not so much that it causes an issue. What is an issue is how delicious this food is. And oh, it is. Being late to the party doesn’t mean you aren’t enjoying it. In this case, it meant just the opposite.

Red Cat on Urbanspoon