Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mario Batali's Eataly, New York City

My father, a gourmet chef (previously by trade, currently by hobby) told me about Eataly, an Italian food and wine market in downtown NYC.  Visiting Eataly, dining at the steakhouse in Yankees Stadium, and taking in a show was how my father celebrated his recent birthday (and every previous birthday going back six or seven years).  Clearly, a love for Italian food, the New York Yankees, and theatre run deep in my blood.  Not to mention the fact that my blood is actually Italian, on my mother's side (Sicilian, and proud of it!).  A few weeks after hearing about my father's birthday adventures, I had the opportunity for a quick jaunt to New Jersey/New York for a friend's baby shower.  I immediately devised a plan to visit Eataly.

Let me put it this way: I used to envision Heaven in a Garden of Eden-like setting, with rivers flowing through forests filled with exotic plants and beautiful, sunny weather everyday.  I now envision Heaven as one giant Eataly (minus the checkout counter because who carries money in Heaven?).  And, no, I'm not joking.

Rows upon rows of pastas, olive oils, baskets full of fresh vegetables, Italian candies and chocolates, gourmet jams and spreads, an espresso counter, a gelato counter, and seven different restaurants serving up freshly made gourmet Italian food reminiscent of my two weeks of blissful eating through Rome back in college.  In fact, after my first bite of Naples style pizza with prosciutto, arugula and mozzarella, I had a Ratatouille-esque flashback of my trip to Italy (you know the moment I'm talking about, where the food critic takes one bite of his meal and is transported back to the carefree days of childhood).  Oh, and did I mention the separate wine room, walls lined with bottles upon bottles of Italian wine, reminiscent of the library in Beauty and the Beast?  Note that describing Eataly has me referencing Disney movies.  Barring any copyright infringements I would venture to say that Eataly is the new happiest place on earth.  At least for those like me who tend to have love affairs with good food and wine.

Go to Eataly.  If you are in NYC, put it on your itinerary.  Have lunch there, buy a jar of olive tapenade, and relish in rising above all those touristy schmucks who wait in line all day at the Empire State Building wearing foam replicas of Lady Liberty's crown or take pictures of the guy in Times Square who plays guitar in his underwear and cowboy boots.  If the weather is nice, buy some fresh made bread and cheese and walk a few blocks over to Washington Square Park and have a picnic.  If you're not already in love with Italian food, well then, honey, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm, sounds delicious!! I'd love to go there, it does sound like heaven.