Really, it’s not my fault – this massive fixation I have with every little morsel, crumb, or scrap of edibles I can fit into my gastrointestinal tract. I don’t purposefully plan my days around whatever scrumptious meal I’m going to eat next – it just happens.
I truly can’t help it.
You see, I was (quite literally) born this way – with a lobster in one hand and a Miller Lite in the other…
Seriously, it’s no wonder I have the stereotypical American addiction to astronomical food proportions. I’m one unlucky metabolism away from a friends-led intervention leading to my very own mediocre reality TV show à la The Biggest Loser (ironically, a show I tend to watch while haphazardously devouring pints of Ben & Jerry’s and thinking I really need to lose 10 pounds).
So is it any wonder that on a bitterly cold and nasty sleet-filled day in New York City, I solved my problem of wishing to stay dry while curbing my boredom by spending 7 hours in Chelsea Market being a human garbage disposal and clearing anything you could possibly put on a plate?
My mom was in town and seeing as I’m the progeny that came forth from her special blend of DNA, it only makes sense that we share this unholy alliance with all things food. The only difference between us is she can put away an entire Thanksgiving meal while keeping her six pack abs alive and well, whereas I gain weight just looking into a bakery window. Mix the two of us together in a historic market that’s home to The Food Network, and we can really do some damage (to our stomachs as well as to our wallets).
Meal Number 1 – Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina
Most people planning to eat their way through an entire city block would start off easy with water and maybe a light salad or vegetable appetizer. Nope. Not us. Horrible (and starving) planners that we are, we decided to jump head first into full-bodied Italian at Rana. Known for their homemade pastas freshly made onsite daily, we indulged in raviolipizza (yes that’s a thing), homemade foccacia, their rich Sicilian house wine, and Luigi (our delectably tasty-on-the-eyes bartender).
Meal Number 2 – LOS TACOS No. 1
Our second stop didn’t find us chowing down on any lighter fare as we visited the LOS TACOS ‘truck’. Created by friends hailing from Tijuana and California with the sole purpose of bringing authenticity and culture to the sorely lacking East Coast Mexican food scene, the options and ingredients are few and simple resulting in juicy, mouthwatering deliciousness. For a fake vegetarian who only eats meat if it’s part of immersing herself in local culture (or if she’s just really, really drunk), the carne asada taco was the best thing I’ve had all year. Just look at the pure unadulterated joy on both those faces below.
Meal Number 3 – Cull and Pistol
How could anyone say no to a sign beckoning you to come get shucked up at Cull and Pistol? Or if that didn’t sway you, what about the fact that it promotes $1 oysters? Nothing is better than sipping on a spicy $6 Bloody Mary while slurping down a yummy, salty assortment of East Coast oysters (my apologies to Washington – West Coast ones just aren’t the same).
Meal Number 4 – Corkbuzz Wine Studio
Hour (and meal) number 4 is where the plot started thickening into a fuzzily vague mystery because, well – wine. In the words of a hungover Rachel Green, “I think there was a restaurant. I KNOW there was wine”. In my case, I think there were three cheeses. I KNOW there most definitely were flights of wine (though they were less flight-looking and more glass-is-pretty-damn-full looking). I couldn’t tell you anything more about the wine selection except that it was red. Apparently we were involved in a ‘blind tasting’ in which we were supposed to speculate as to which vintage, grape variety, country, region, and sub-region (I just guessed ‘delicious’) said vino came from. Mom and I promptly discovered that we knew jacks*** about wine. And we really didn’t care.
Meal Number 5 – The Green Table
Having already ticked off ravioli (mixed with quasi-pizza), steak tacos, oysters, and a hefty platter of cheese, our Florida Panhandle Southern roots kicked in and our eyes grew wide as we perused the menu at The Green Table and spied devilled eggs. We were a bit skeptical as my mom is quite famous back in good ole Gulf Breeze, FL for her so-good-it-must-be-witchcraft batches of spinach devilled eggs. Seeing as these were made in non-traditional styles such as wasabi, pimento cheese, and bacon-relish, my mom’s legendary status was not compromised and her ego remained intact.
This farm to table restaurant, with its ever changing menu dependent on what’s growing fresh at local markets and farms, also serves up great rounds of drinks such as Moscow Mules and seasonal ciders. They were so strong (or did we just have too many beforehand) that we sat at the bar against the window for an extra 30 minutes because we couldn’t remember if we had already paid or not. Both of us just looked inquisitively at the other waiting to see who was the least embarrassed to ask the waitress.
Meal Number 6 – The Doughnuttery
Yep. Totally what it sounds like. I dare you to walk past the heavenly smell wafting from the fryer to mingle with the sweet, sugary flavors of pumpkin pie brulee, mulled green apple cider, or fruity cereal. My mom tried to while haughtily exclaiming, “I don’t want doughnuts for dessert.” In the end, she caved to the little bite-size morsels that melted into a ball of doughy goodness the second it entered your mouth. We even tried to be good Samaritans and buy a bunch to share with my roommates and friends for Thanksgiving breakfast the next morning. Unsurprisingly, only half actually made it home while the rest of them lasted all the way til 9pm before mom and I finished them off.
Meal Number 7 – Ruthy’s Bakery & Cafe
Did you see how tiny those donuts were? I’m by no means complaining but I’m also not stopping at just one dessert when it was that minuscule. Especially not when Ruthy’s Bakery makes those too-gorgeous-to-effing-eat-but-I’m-going-to-anyway cupcakes. Oh and of course who could forget the caramel eclairs?
Finally full, fat, happy (and still a bit drunk) we ended our 7 hour sojourn by wandering through the various shops and ‘local artist flea market’ to do even further damage to our wallets. We had the place practically to ourselves (well for New York standards anyway). Turns out that the day before Thanksgiving is eerily quiet at Chelsea Market. Who would have thought?
Do you have a particular self-made ‘local food crawl’ that’s your favorite? Ever ate yourself into a food coma? Let me know below!
Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?
Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!