I had the pleasure a couple of weeks ago to visit a truly amazing place - Eataly in New York City http://www.eataly.com/. It is the only Eataly location in the USA. There are currently eight locations in Italy, the first of which opened in Torino in 2007, as well as four in Japan. There is a second US location scheduled to open in Chicago this year as well as several more in Italy. If you are a foodie, love Italian food, love food shopping, appreciate the finest and freshest products or just enjoy a great atmosphere you have to visit this place if you ever find yourself in NYC.
I remembered reading about when it opened in 2010. Of course having Mario Batali along with Lydia Bastianich and her son Joe as partners in the NY location helped the place get a lot of press. I thought at the time that this would be a cool place to check out the next time I had some free time in NYC. A busy schedule the last few years meant I hadn’t had the chance yet. Fortunately, Grace’s hockey team had their district playoffs in Hackensack, NJ and a game schedule favorable for a jaunt in the city - Saturday morning game and then nothing until early Sunday morning, meaning a whole afternoon and evening free to head into Manhattan. Piling Grace, two of her teammates (Sarah and Paige) and their mom’s (Dana and Amy) into the Camry we headed into the city. After lunch and the obligatory Times Square/midtown shopping excursion Dana suggested we check out Eataly. I am grateful she did because I hadn’t really thought of it. So we headed downtown to 5th Ave and 23rd St. to check it out.
Walking in and around Eataly I felt like a kid in a candy store, or maybe like a kid walking into FAO Schwarz the week before Christmas. 50,000 square feet of Italian foodie heaven. Besides seven restaurants where you can sit down and eat (which we didn’t do) there is just the most amazing shopping. You can find the freshest meats, cheese, fish, produce, pasta and bread as well as an amazing variety of oils, vinegars, spices, and dry pasta, much of it from Gragnano, home to the best pasta makers in Italy. Oh, and wine too. While we didn’t drink I saw numerous people shopping with glasses of wine in their hand. There is a kitchenware section, where I found some great little 3oz martini glasses, and a whole section of cookbooks. My only regret was not being able to buy any fresh products (as I had not way to keep them refrigerated until we got home on Sunday). I did splurge, however, and came home with lots of incredible dried pasta, which I’ve been eating since, as my waist line can attest. Oh, I can’t forget to mention the gelato, which the girls wanted to get on the way out. I wasn’t going to get any until I saw they had tiramisu gelato. I’d never seen that before so I just had to try some. It was sooooo good.
For someone living in Central PA having all these top quality products available in one place was mind boggling. I’m not a huge on-line shopper. I actually enjoy food shopping and find it relaxing. I can tell you one thing, though. This excursion to Eataly and enjoying all the amazing pasta these last couple of weeks has made me realize that I will be ordering all of my dry pasta online from now on. Barilla just don’t cut it anymore (though they did sell Barilla at Eataly). Also, it reinforced for me that when cooking, or eating, always start with the freshest, best ingredients you can get your hands on. You can’t go wrong if you start with the best.
The bottom line? If you find yourself in NYC and have an hour or two follow 5th Ave or Broadway until they intersect and stop into Eataly, you won’t regret it.
Ciao for now,