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the greatest place on earth: Chelsea Market

You guys were probably looking forward to my 2nd Iron Chef post. But that looks like it’s going to have to wait, because I was just SO excited to share this with you guys.

Well, in all honesty, part of this post was from the 2nd day I went to Manhattan with my mom. But the other half is actually made up of photos I took yesterday.

That’s right. My family went back to this place TWICE in half a week.

It is just that amazing.

I give you, the Chelsea Market:

This place is literally a foodie’s dream. Or my dream, at least.

the directory: there be lots of foodplaces here.

On 15th Street and 9th Ave., Chelsea Market is an ex-Nabisco factory turned into a gourmet food mecca. It’s stuffed full of upscale food stores, restaurants, and bakeries, and apprently, this is where Food Network gets all it’s groceries (since the FN headquarters are right next door).

One of the bigger stores that we explored was The Lobster Place (since my dad’s a seafood fanatic).

It sold the freshest seafood, whether it was raw and still in its shell, steamed and delicious, or freshly made into sushi.

shrimps in all sizes and colors. NO SHRIMP RACISM HERE!

a huge variety of oysters.

scallops of varying quality and size.

spiny, whole urchins. there be uni in there...

herb butter-stuffed escagot. i.e. snails.

branzini. they stare at you...

Of course, this is just some of the seafood that was being sold at the Lobster Place – there were all sorts of mollusks and fish, in all their fresh, briny glory. Along a wall were also huge cauldrons of seafood soup and a separate kitchen area where you could get classic seafood dishes like lobster rolls and fish and chips.

If you keep walking along, you see a beautiful archway:

ooo. sparkly.

Followed by a “plaza” area – a U-shaped bend of smaller vendors.

One of them was called “The Filling Station,” and it sold a wider variety of salts, vinegars, and oils than I have ever seen in my life.

oils and vinegars on tap for tasting

Not only were there were multiple varieties of olive oils, but also truffle oil, avocado oil, and nut oils.

walnut oil in the front and black truffle oil behind it

They also had a huge display of salts, more colorful than you’d ever think salt could be.

that's a looot of sodium

pink salt, brown salt, beige salt...

black salt, gray salt, yellow salt..

There were not only different type of rock salts, but also salts infused with truffles, ghost peppers, espresso, and even wine.

The variety was amazing. My dad tried some of the ghost pepper salt, and he was dying because it was so spicy – the flavors are that intense.

Right next to the fillings store the famous Jacques Torres chocolate store:

so. many. nubbins o' chocolate!

Right next door is an Australian meat pie store called Tuck Shop, a creperie-bar, a vegan store, a cheese store, a nut store… It’s crazy.

Going along, you walk past brownie and cupcake stores, a bar, stores specializing in fancy breads and charcuterie, Italian food specialty stores, and a huge variety of restaurants from Thai to vegetarian to ones that focus just on soup or dairy foods.

yummy coffee was purchased here

a man making chocolate breadstuffs at Amy's Bread. BE MY FRIEND, BREAD-MAKING MAN!

my mom looking at glass wares in the Bowery Kitchen Supply store

The Chelsea Market being, well, a market, there’s a grocery store – it’s got a huge amount of fruits and veggies, some that I’ve never even seen before. And while most of them aren’t organic, the produce sold by the Manhattan Fruit exchange is very cheap by New York standards. They also sell pastas, cheeses, juices, oils, etc. – your usual market goods.


lots of produce

huge bunches of fresh herbs

more produce. that's a lot of bell peppers...


dried chilies

My family walked back and forth in the main area for a while, peeking in at all the stores and restaurants – there was just so much to choose from, it took us forever to decide what to get.

Finally, since we couldn’t choose one place to eat at, we decided to DIVIDE AND CONQUER: buy the foods we wanted from different stores and converge at one tabls to eat our food and sample what everyone else chose to get.

Calynn and my dad teamed up, going for some of the Italian food:

tubular pasta with tomatoey stuff on, under, and in them.

lemony tilapia with tomatoes, olives, and herbs.

seafood salad: squid, octopus, and shrimp tossed in olive oil and veggies.

And a meat pie from Tuck Shop.

this is a pie.

this is a MEAT pie.

meat pie, destroyed. and innards (quite literally).

The Italian food was decent (it was from one of those refrigerated-then-heated displays, so we weren’t expecting much) and my sister also told me that the pie was pretty good, albeit buttery. But hey, what do you expect from a meat pie?

My mom wanted something warm in her tummy, so she went for the Chelsea Thai restaurant, and got a bowl (?) of flat noodles with beef.

beef chunks a-swimmin' in beefy broth.

The serving size was HUGE – it took the combined efforts of my mom, my dad, and my sister to finish this dish.

flattish and wide-ish noodles with sprouts.

As for me, my interest had been piqued by Bar Suzette, the Chelsea Market creperie. So to the crepe stand I went!

somebody else's order - but doesn't it look good???

This was my first time having a legitimate, professionally-made crepe (where have they been all my life??), so I didn’t really have anything to compare this to. But the enticing smells wafting from the griddles kind of gave me an idea for the treat that I was in for.

Scanning through the menu, I decided that the “heirloom squash” crepe sounded the most appealing – and it was vegetarian!

spreading the herb-flecked crepe batter.

post-flipping: toasty brown on one side!

toppings added: julienned squash, tomatoes, dijonaise, goat cheese, basil oil, and a balsamic reduction

The crepe was so. Good. Like, it was amazing to the point of being magical. It was really fresh from all the vegetables, but creamy from the dijonaise and the melted goat cheese, while the basil oil gave it and clean herby-ness and the balsalmic made it just sweet enough.


And it was conveniently packaged in a cone for easy eating. It was PERFECT. I’m definitely going back to Bar Suzette to try some of their other crepes – there was a vegan truffle one I’ve got my eye on, and the dessert crepes looked delicious too.

Once we were done eating, my family walked to the end of the Chelsea Market – at which was conveniently located a perfect dessert spot: L’Arte del Gelato. Also known as one of the best gelaterias in the city.

pistachio and chocolate gelatooo

L’Arte del Gelato never fails. The chocolate was uber-dark chocolatey, and the pistachio actually tasted like pistachios. As in, the actual nuts. You can tell from the lack of radioactive green coloring that this gelato was made from real pistachio nuts. Seriously, I’ve always wondered why pistachio ice cream never tasted like pistachios.

Now I still think Otto serves the best gelato, but L’Arte is just a smidge underneath it. It was creamy and cold and delicious – a worthy dessert after such a good dinner.

My dad decided he wanted something else, and so we ended up going to Amy’s Bread where he got a coconut square:

I honestly thought this would be overly-sweet, but it really wasn’t. It was obviously buttery, but the square itself was just sweet enough, with the chocolate chips giving it that extra rich, dark taste.

Heading back outside, we stopped by Eleni’s to pick up a few cupcakes and the Fat Witch to bring a few baby-brownies home.

red velvet and lemon buttercream cupcakes, a brownie and a blondie.

While my sister really enjoyed the brownie bites, she said the cupcakes were just ok. She said the cake was alright, but she was disappointed that the frosting was just a vanilla cream frosting – not a cream cheese frosting like a proper red velvet should have.

naked cupcake. how scandalous.

And with that, my super-long post about Chelsea Market is done! That was a lot of food, right? Remember, it was taken over the course of 2 NYC trips (although that’s not saying that we didn’t pig out…). I obviously loved the place because I’m so into food – but even if you’re not, I’d definitely say this place is worth visiting. While it is a tourist attraction, there is some really awesome food here; I’m looking forward to revisiting this place multiple times in the future for some good food and fun scenery.

It’s getting late, so I’m gonna turn in – but I hope my post has inspired you guys to visit the Chelsea Market at least once. And it’s a definite must if you’re a foodie!



4 thoughts on “the greatest place on earth: Chelsea Market

  1. yellow fruit = kiwano melon?

    Posted by Euna | January 11, 2011, 11:27 am


  1. Pingback: the brooklyn flea and iron-chefing part 2 « you eatin' nice - January 12, 2011

  2. Pingback: Eating Our Way Around, Up, and Over Manhattan’s West Side « you eatin' nice - June 19, 2011

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