Thursday, January 24, 2008

Food Vacation in NYC: Day Two

Day two was the food-packed pinnacle of the vacation, we had lots of eating to do! Unfortunately, the weather was bitterly cold, but I can't think of a better way to warm up than eating!

First stop on our list was Ess-a-bagel, for some New York style bagels. It was right around the corner from our hotel, so we wouldn't have to brave the cold for long :) I got a toasted sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese and tomato slices. It was awesome! Hard bagel-y goodness on the outside and soft bagel-y goodness on the inside. I knew they were freshly made 'cause I could see the ovens and the bagels coming out of them :D We also got a slice of chocolate mousse cake....glorious!! After that we were off to MoMA to work up an appetite before heading to Chelsea Market!

Chelsea Market is fantastic. It was an indoor market with lots of stores and restaurants - all food-centric! When we walked in, I immediately saw two bakeries. The first was Eleni's, which had a bunch of cupcakes! We all got one: a chocolate mocha cupcake, a lemon cupcake, and a yellow cupcake with blue frosting. Matt's mouth was as blue as the frosting by the time he was done! The frosting was fluffy and not too rich. Next door was Fat Witch Bakery. I got a Snow Witch (white chocolate brownie) was dense and rich and moist, the ideal brownie! At this point, I was in heaven....
We slowed down a bit and decided to explore our options before eating anymore. There was a dairy shop, a seafood shop, an italian grocery store with prepared foods out front, some FOOD NETWORK stuff (its housed in the same building as the market), a kitchen store, a Thai restaurant, and more bakeries!!! This was definitely the highlight of the trip. We were there for 2 or 3 hours looking, pondering what to eat and then finally eating. I highly recommend this stop to anyone planning their own food vacation. We learned (too late) that they offer food tours of Chelsea market. Can you imagine??

After stuffing ourselves, we spent time browsing the city's retail until dinner. It was cold, and all the cupcakes in the world couldn't change the frigid temperatures outside.....

Finally, it was time for Lupa! Lupa is an Italian restaurant owned by Mario Batali (among others). We made reservations a month in advance and our time had finally come. The atmosphere was casual (though not some place I'd show up in a t-shirt) and bustling when I drop my fork, the entire restaurant won't turn to stare.
We were served some focaccia and olive oil when seated. The entire menu was in Italian with translations of individual words on the back and very cumbersome to read. We ordered thinly sliced prosciutto, bay scallops with lamb (at least the menu says there was lamb...) and linguine with mussels to start. The proscuitto was thinly sliced and served on a board. The fat was buttery. The scallops were scallops (not a seafood person). And the linguine (I skipped the mussels) was clearly superior to any pasta I had eaten before. It was served al dente and had a good bite and the garlic/olive oil sauce did not taste fishy.
We waited a bit til our second course, but then it arrived: I ordered one of the specials: pasta in a pork ragu.There were also unidentified leafy greens in it. The picture is sketchy because we were trying to be discrete (and classy). Matt ordered diablo chicken, a (black) peppery roasted chicken with some roasted squash on the side and Alan had a meatball dish that was served with beef broth with carmelized scallions and garlic, blanched (maybe?) red cabbage, and lots of cannelini beans. The chicken and squash were great! As for the meatballs, I liked it, but Alan didn' I had to help him eat it :D The dessert menu was disappointing (no chocolate!) so we skipped out and headed elsewhere.

By the end of the day, we were tired, cranky, cold and stuffed! It was time for some rest before heading home in the morning. The trip had some unexpected hits (ice cream in Chinatown) and unexpected misses (crappy restaurant in ghetto Chinatown), but I obviously still like the idea of a food vacation :D

1 comment:

YogaMango said...

omg that bagel looks amazing! And that giant cupcake! *cue stomach rumbles!*