a day at chelsea market

On a Friday afternoon I finally got the opportunity to visit THE Chelsea Market. I was excited at the chance to visit one of the Amy’s Bread locations and finally try their almond brioche toast (more on that in a bit). Though Chelsea Market is a special place in NYC in its own way, I have to give the win to Philadelphia as far as food markets are concerned. You are truly a food mecca, Reading Terminal Market. You have everything anyone can ever ask for all on one block and weaving throughout the aisles and food watching (much better than people watching) makes you my absolute favorite.

LOCATION
Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave (Between 15th and 16th streets)
http://chelseamarket.com/

The first stop was Eleni’s, a cookie shop. We headed in for the the chocolate chip cookie samples being handed out. We took a bite and walked around the store for the sole purpose of throwing the sample out and to take some photos of the art hanging on the walls. Don’t give out burnt cookies as samples. No one is going to want to buy anything in your bakery.

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Next stop was Amy’s Bread. I waited in line looking at the displays for the almond brioche toast. I wasn’t able to lock my eyes on it until I opened the bag at a table outside the bakery. It was light and crunchy all at the same time.  Sticky and sweet, it would be excellent with a cup of coffee or tea. This will be one of my go-to sweet treats heading into the spring. It was roommate approved as well.

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After stumbling upon an amazing Free People sample sale (and of course engaging in some healthy retail therapy) and walking to the very end of the market, we decided to use a middle exit and stumbled upon The Filling Station.  This stand specializes in oils, balsamic vinegars, salts, scrubs, and craft beer. I sampled a strawberry, blueberry, and fig balsamic vinegar. The berry vinegars were extremely sweet and would work nicely in a summer salad. The fig balsamic vinegar had an intense depth of flavor. I think it would work nicely to accompany a cheese plate instead of the a preserve or jam.  I also tried the Ghost Pepper salt. The Filling Station was gracious enough to warn myself and other patrons to only try one granule of salt. As soon as I tried the ghost pepper salt, I immediately felt it kick in at the back of my throat. For those of you who love spicy food, this would be a good ingredient to add into your Mexican creations. A little goes a long way.

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Have you ever visited Chelsea Market before? What was your favorite or least favorite part of your food adventure to Chelsea Market?

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the meatball shop – chelsea

Scene – a beautiful spring evening in Chelsea

Cast – My favorite couple to 3rd wheel with, Shivangie Hira, and myself

I’ve heard from countless people that non-New Yorkers have the preconceived notion that the only way to enjoy an amazing meal is to pay an arm and a leg (another leg). The Meatball Shop has proven this theory completely false.

LOCATION
The Meatball Shop
200 9th Ave (Between 22nd and 23rd– 3 Other Locations in NYC)
http://www.themeatballshop.com/

WARNING: If you go to any of The Meatball Shop locations during prime-time dinnertime, you are going to have to wait. However, they are quite tech saavy. Put your name down with the host, provide them your cell number and they will text you when your table is ready… you got to get there in 5 minutes though so speed walk from the bar down the street.

We got seated at a large family style table between two different parties. Though it was a bit tight, it didn’t effect how great our waiter was. He was lively, funny, and extremely through reviewing the menu with us. What’s even more exciting is you get to write with a dry erase marker on your menu to place your order. I was a bit indecisive which led to a lot of writing and erasing.  Here are some the favorites of our meal:

Naked Balls – Four meatballs served with your choice of sauce and a stick of focaccia bread all for $7! I ordered the classic beef with the classic tomato. I think it was important to try the classic dish to ensure they knew what they were doing. If you mess up an oldie flavor combo, you are doomed in my book. The Meatball Shop nailed ut. It was perfection. With the creamy mashed potatoes underneath my balls, each bite was delectable. Mashed potatoes and meatballs – hello comfort food!

Market Salad – The restaurant as several specials listed one of which was a salad of romaine, asparagus, pecans, and blue cheese dressing. The perfect accompaniment for the balls. One salad was good for 2 people to share. Only $5 dollar a bowl.

Ice Cream Sandwiches – Make sure you save room for dessert. They serve a humungous scoop of ice cream between two freshly baked cookies. This was also shared between 2 people ($2.50/person – 5 dollar a piece). We went the classic route once again and got vanilla ice cream between a chocolate chip cookie and the special cookie for the day, gingerbread. However, if you want to be more adventurous they have it all – peanut butter, snickerdoodle, brownie cookies and they even have exciting ice cream flavors – carmel, mint, and their special for the day, banana.

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We went out with a double win. A fulfilling, comforting meal that costs pennies! Go to the meatball shop NOW.

What is your favorite cheap but delicious comfort food spot?

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fancy pants brunch – locanda verde

I am going to start off this post by letting you know that I could eat poached eggs every single day for the rest of my life. Brunch is absolutely my favorite meal so much so that it made it to the pros column of my pros/cons list for moving to NYC. This city does brunch right.

During a recent visit back home to spend some quality time with my parents, my and mom and I stumbled upon an episode of Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel. The episode was focused on brunch and one of my favorite restaurants made it on the show — LoCanda Verde in TriBeCa. My brother-in-law and sister introduced me to the restaurant years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. Their brunch caught our attention and we immediately began planning a free weekend for my parents to visit me in the city for the sole purpose of eating at the restaurant. Locanda Verde once again did not disappoint.

LOCATION
Laconda Verde in TriBeCa
377 Greenwich St (between Franklin St & Moore St)
http://www.locandaverdenyc.com/

Here is what you should order during your next brunch visit:

Bloody Mary Della Casa – My favorite brunch cocktail is the Bloody  Mary so I tend to order them no matter where I go…especially if they are doing something special with it. This Bloody Mary was highlighted on the episode of Unique Eats so it was a must-try on my list. It comes garnished with Italian hot peppers and mortadella, an Italian cured sausage. Garnishes make a Bloody Mary special so I give this my thumbs up. If only they could be bottomless…

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Sheep’s Milk Ricotta – I have been thinking about this dish everyday since my visit. I’ve experienced the power of their sheep’s milk ricotta before but that was for dinner where it is served with sea salt and herbs. Their brunch version comes with truffle honey and burnt orange toast. It was divine. The truffle honey gave just the right amount of sweetness to the creamy ricotta. The thyme added the right balance of herbs and the orange flavor made the whole dish come together. The phrase “simple yet elegant” is the best way to describe it. My parents and I contemplated ordering a second plate after we devoured the first. I am determined  to figure out a way to re-create this dish at home so keep your eyes peeled for a ricotta and with truffle honey and orange toast recipe coming soon! Oh, and this has made it onto the list of the best things I’ve ever ate so do not hesitate to order a second serving.

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Uovo Modenese – This is a poached egg dish that is served with cotechino hash, spinach and tomato hollandaise. The poached eggs were cooked to perfection and the tomato hollandaise gave the dish just the right amount of creaminess. With the salty cotechino hash and spinach, this dish was extremely well rounded. They served it with some bread to soak in all the yummy-ness that was leftover at the bottom of the dish too. I highly recommend this if you are a poached egg lover like me.

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Crispy Whole Grain Waffle – For those with a sweet tooth, we also ordered the waffles which came with baked apples, walnuts and Marsala crema. The baked apples were soft and sweet while the walnuts gave the dish a small crunch. I was very excited to try the Marsala crema which did not disappoint…so much better than any syrup.

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So there you have it. Brunch got my 2 thumbs up. Even though it is on the pricier side, it’s worth every bite…especially every bite of that sheep’s milk ricotta (can you tell how obsessed I’ve become over it yet?). Have you ever been to LoCanda Verde? If so, what is your favorite dish? What other fancy pants brunch spots do you like to visit from time-to-time? Share your answers/comments/thoughts down below.

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