ACC Travels: NYC Food Halls

Patrick and I recently spent a weekend in Manhattan.  He had some work to do, so I was free to do what I like to do best – explore the rich and always changing food scene in NYC.  DC is lucky enough to have its own Union Market, a terrific food hall with pop up vendors, established restaurants and stalls to shop at.  NYC of course has like 20 new food halls so I decided to hit as many as I could over the weekend.  I will admit that the pictures in this post aren’t the best quality but you try and get some good unblurry pictures while standing in the middle of Chelsea Market on a Friday afternoon.  I nearly got run over but I do it all for you dear readers!  Here are the spots I visited – all definitely worth a look.

Chelsea Market – 75 9th Avenue

This market has a little something for everyone as indicated by the sign at the top of the post.  It was definitely the biggest and most diverse of those I visited.  I got a black and white cookie from Amy’s Bread and walked around to try and get my bearings.  It’s a little claustrophobic, as all the shops line a long hall in the middle of this industrial building but luckily there are a lot of great spots to peel off and check out like Artists and Fleas, a small flea market featuring local artists.  Corkbuzz is a terrific little wine bar where you can escape the crowds and grab a glass of bubbly.

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Fat Witch Bakery is a cute little shop that sells amazing brownies in a million delicious flavors.  There are a ton of food stalls where you can grab anything from a lobster roll to sushi and stand at communal tables but since I was flying solo I had a sit down lunch at the bar at The Green Table, where they serve delicious farm to table fare.  Chelsea Market Basket is a great shop that has artisan products from all over – I definitely got some great stocking stuffers there.  The building itself is pretty cool and was decked out for the holidays.

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Urbanspace Vanderbuilt – 230 Park Avenue

Urbanspace, located right next to Gran Central Station, is a bit different than Chelsea Market.  This is where you go to eat and drink, period, no real shopping to be done.  A terrific happy hour spot, this subterranean hall has maybe 25 vendors that sell fried chicken, tacos and everything in between.  You can grab a pitcher of beer from Red Hook Lobster Pound and wash down your phad thai tofu from Bangkok B.A.R. at the picnic tables in the middle while your friends share an order of salted caramel donuts from Dough.  Definitely a great place to grab food to go before hopping on a train.

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Gansevoort Market – 52 Gansevoort Street

Located right by the end of the Highline park, this market has a see and be seen type vibe.  The large space is ringed with all sorts of food vendors, all selling vaugely hipster type meals like ramen or asian empanadas.

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They were even shooting a movie right outside when I went so I was just waiting to see some fabulous star grabbing a macaroon at Dana’s Bakery but alas no luck.  This market had a few more interesting purveyors like Yiaourti, that sells artisanal greek yogurt, or Cappone’s who makes their own salumi in house.  Definitely a great place to graze for the day.

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Le District – 225 Brookfield Place

If you find all these markets overwhelming then you may want to try one that is more focused.  Le District is all French all the time, no fusion food found here.  Down by the World Trade Memorial, this place has everything a Francophile would want.  A central wine bar, fish and meat vendors, high end imported French products and even a stand-alone resturant with views of the Hudson.

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Unfortunately we got there too early, so not much was open yet but it was the perfect place to get a cafe au lait and a pain au chocolat before heading to Brooklyn.  Little things like the chic black and white coffee cup makes this place a real treat.

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Eataly – 200 5th Avenue 

Don’t like France?  Well head over to Eataly to get your fill of Italy.  Probably the most famous of all the food halls in NYC, run by Mario Balati, Eataly is a love letter to Italy.  I found it curious when I was in Italy earlier this year that there are several of them to be found there, since the thing that makes Eataly so special is the wonderful products that they import from all over Italy.  I digress – pasta, salami, wine, olive oil, pretty much anything they make in Italy they will be selling here.  Not in the mood to shop?  Well you are going to have to because the waits at all the restaurants inside are pretty long.  However, they are all worth the wait – the pizza place is fantastic and I love the beer garden located on the top floor with a glass ceiling.  I had been here once before so was bracing myself for the crowds.  I don’t know if it’s increased competition, or if 8pm is the sweet spot, but either way I was able to walk around and have a beautiful flight of Barolos pretty undisturbed.

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Food halls are perfect for all occasions – stopping for a bite to eat, for drinks with friends or just to buy something to take home to make for dinner.  Before I even left NYC I was reading about several others that are going to open shortly, guess we will just have to go back!

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