It’s taken me forever to get around to writing about it, more then a month in fact, but I’ve been wanting to tell you about three foodie places I recently had a chance to check out in NYC!
So, the back story. My good friend from college, Jess, was getting married. She asked me to be the matron of honor in the wedding. Of course I couldn’t say no! I haven’t seen Jess since graduating from college and I seriously miss talking with her endlessly over a glass of wine of Friday nights. So a trip to NYC was planned.
I also have quite a bit of family in NYC so I figured this would be a great chance to stop in and visit too. Originally I had been thinking bring the whole family, kids, husband, take a more extended trip and visit for a while, see the sights, that kind of thing. Unfortunately things didn’t come together for bringing the whole family which means the extended visit turned into short quick visit so I wouldn’t be away from the kids too long. It was a wonderful but too short trip. It feels like I barely got a few minutes with some of my favorite people in the world! I miss everybody so much! But I did get to have some long catch up chats and see a few city sights! As you might imagine many of my favorite stops were food related.
I sit at home in Denver and read my favorite food blogs, many of which have writers living in the big apple. I read about the wonderful specialty food stores, the bakeries, the restaurants. I wonder, what they are really like in person? Are they as amazing as they sound? Of course I had to check out at least a few while I was in the city. I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to three places you’ve probably heard of: Eataly, Magnolia Bakery, and Dean & Deluca.
So the food run down:
Eataly is a concept from Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich, both of Italian chefs of some renowned. Eataly is a unique mix. Part grocery store, part specialty Italian foods, part restaurant, Eataly has everything Italian you could possibly want. There is an in house bakery, espresso bar, a butcher, a cheese counter, and four or five ( I lost count) different little restaurants themed around a food type: meat, fish, pasta, vegetables. There is a fresh produce section, and an area offering imported Italian goods. Pasta, olive oils, balsamic, pestos, and more. There are also cookbooks, kitchen equipment, and again, more.
It’s a bit of a mad house, and a tad confusing at first. But somehow instead of being over done it’s wonderful. I’m in love. (Mario or Lidia, if you’re reading this please, please open an Eataly in Denver for me?!)
I was offered tastes of fresh cherries, and other produce by members of an exceptionally nice staff. I stayed for lunch and had some lovely Neapolitan pizza, the four cheese it the way to go btw. And I’m must confess I came home with my suitcase stuffed with Eataly treasures to cook with. If your traveling to the city go visit. It you live in NYC and haven’t been I suggestion planning an excursion soon. I’m so jealous of you New Yorkers for Eataly alone! I can’t recommend Eataly enough.
I think pretty much in the baking world has heard of Magnolia Bakery. I just had to see does the real deal live up to the hype?
Though Magnolia offers decadent baked goods of all sorts, they are particularly known for their cupcakes. So I decide to give that a try. With the recommendation of a staff member I went for a vanilla vanilla, described by Magnolia as, “Rich buttery old-fashioned vanilla cupcakes with a light crumb and vanilla buttercream.” Apparently these are the most popular cupcake they sell. I also figured it’s hard to hide any imperfections in a vanilla cupcake, no additions to distract from something less then perfect.
So? The conclusion?
It was awesome.
The frosting was great. A perfect buttercream. But, I’m going to be honest, I have had other butter creams on par with Magnolia’s. The real magic happened in the cake. Oh my. Oh my. Airy, light, tender, moist. All the words you want your cake to be, and more. Amazing.
I‘m in love. (Magnolia, you know what I want you to do for me, right?)
Go have a cupcake. I don’t think anything else needs to be said.
Dean & Deluca
Specialty foods, sushi, bread, bakery, meat, cheese, fish, cookware, flowers, produce. Food stuff. Dean & Deluca, is high end, fancy little grocery store. I’ve heard it mentioned casually in blogs. It’s been mentioned in a novel or two to add some local color.
There were items that I’ve certainly purchased other places, for better prices. On the other hand there were also items that would be hard to find other places.
It’s a pretty cool store overall. I certainly wouldn’t say no to a Denver location. If there was one near me I’d definitely pop in for things. But, I have to admit it didn’t wow me in the same was that Eataly did. It certainly didn’t have the same flair or such a large scope. On the flip side maybe thats an ok thing for everyday shopping?
It was an interesting place to check out, and worth a visit, but not top on my list for foodie stops if you don’t have a lot of time.
And that is about that.
NYC I’ll be back soon!