NYC was a first for us both and we were absolutely blown away – the architecture, the atmosphere, the sights, and, of course, the food! I think the thing that blew us away more than anything was that, for all the crazy stories we’d heard about New York being less than awesome… it was pretty damn awesome. Maybe it was beginner’s luck or maybe New York just gets a bad rap, but either way we can’t wait to go back.
One major NY landmark we visited was Chelsea Market. I’d heard about it before and ironically had written it down and forgotten about it until a Twitter friend of ours told us to head that way for the lobster roll… so we listened!
Chelsea Market itself is ridiculously cool. Apparently it’s got quite a history and I think it’s truly something else that they decided to preserve the theme of an older time within that building. There are all kinds of dated gadgets on the walls (some, I believe, are even originals!), warped wooden floors, iron work coming out of every corner, and an interesting buzz about the place that makes you feel warm and welcome. Very time-warp-esque with a modern twist.
We stopped at the Lobster Place for lunch…
…and Johnny was as happy as, well, a chef in a seafood store.
He said it really spoke well of the place that, despite being a fish market, it didn’t reek of fish. It actually smelt kind of lovely in there and the place was absolutely spotless from head to toe.
They had so many great products but, since we were so far from home and had a rather small cooler in our possession, we only came home with some soft shell crab (one of Johnny’s all time favorite things on Earth) and calamaretti (which was a product he hadn’t used before but was very interested in trying).
The staff was incredibly helpful and kind – none of that hurry up and get out NY-attitude we’d heard so much about! And once you moved past the market area, they’ve got a little restaurant set up in the back (presuming, of course, you’re willing to pass up the oyster bar and the freshest sushi around) which offered everything from their famous lobster roll and other seafood sandwiches to, yes, whole lobsters. It was kinda wild to see people just hanging out at a high top crushing a whole lobster like it wasn’t a big deal.
There was another little food area across the way and, despite being stuffed, Johnny had to try Hybird’s fried chicken. Unfortunately for him, you could tell the chicken had sat for a little bit (so it wasn’t nearly as hot-and-crispy-awesome as fried chicken should be) but the inside was juicy and delicious so, combined with a tasty biscuit, he was satisfied.
We saw a few other neat spots in Chelsea Market, including Spices and Tease…
…One Lucky Duck, which had some awesome fresh and organic juices and shakes, wow! Ironically, for hating the color pink, I really enjoyed the Hot Pink juice…
…Amy’s Bread (apparently quite a popular bakery in NYC)…
…and a spot called The Filling Station. It reminded us of an artisan oil-and-vinegar place we visited last time we were in NC, but this one blew the NC spot out of the water! It was, to use Johnny’s phrase, fan-fricking-tastic. Their flavor infusions were rich and heavenly; we came home with a bottle of lemongrass mint white balsamic vinegar that’s still wowing Johnny. Even their basics like peach and garlic were ridiculously flavorful and smooth! By far some of the best oils and vinegars we’ve ever sampled. They also had, believe it or not, salts and craft beers available as well!
We almost walked right by the Manhattan Fruit Exchange and I am so glad we didn’t! It’s just a little unsuspecting grocery store in the middle of all these fancy shops and gourmet eateries but we bought more from Manhattan Fruit Exchange than any other in Chelsea Market. They had a lot of specialty items like lobster mushrooms and chia linguine but even their basic produce – like the golden berries, collards, and mission figs – were lovely. The best part was, again, despite being told it’s super expensive to live and shop in NYC, their grocery prices were not only cheap for NYC, but they easily compared (and sometimes beat!) the prices here in Ohio. Go figure!
And last but not least, we stopped at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats because, really, the Bison couldn’t leave without checking out a butcher that does all of their work in-house! They had a lot of really nice products despite being a small, narrow little spot and the fact that they put so much time and effort into their products definitely makes it worthwhile for a shopper to stop by. Johnny went home with some super awesome face bacon (that he later really, really enjoyed working with) as well as one of the better pastramis he’s ever had.
We easily could have spent all day in Chelsea Market and would definitely recommend adding it to your to-do list next time you’re in New York!