Located on 9th Ave, between 15th and 16th streets is Chelsea Market. This building has a lot of food history, as it saw the birth of the Oreo when it was a manufacturing plant for the National Biscuit Company, better known as Nabisco. It is also now home to the Food Network. Ever since I learned about Chelsea Market I make it a point to visit.
The first time I visited Chelsea Market I was with friends and I just had the chance to walk through the main corridor and look things from afar. This time, on my own, I wanted to see all the stores and places featured in the Food Network shows. See where Rachael Ray says she buys things to cook later that night for her husband, among others…
Photo courtesy of Frances Roberts for the NYTimes
I decided to go to Chelsea Market early in the morning… when on “vacation” early means @ 10AM. I wanted to do something interesting and still be close by to the Martha Stewart’s studios on 8th Ave. and 26th street. I love the looks of Chelsea Market… it looks like a cave filled with treasures. It’s kind of dark, and has that industrial look that’s vintage, yet is so modern at the same time. This is a photo during my first visit.
I got hungry and had to have my second breakfast of the day. I sound so much like a hobbit, don’t you think? I had a whole- wheat-everything-bagel with tofutti non-dairy creamy spread. I completely forgot they call it “everything” for a reason… it has onion, garlic, and every kind of seed imaginable. It was good, but afterwards I felt I needed to brush my teeth again or chew some minty gum just in case I had to talk to someone. Next time, we’ll keep the onion and garlic to a minimum before noon.
The stores look small from the main corridor, but they’re BIG!!! They twist and turn and continue going on. My favorite one was buon Italia with all sorts of imported Italian foods. I bought Meyer lemon olive oil, capers in salt (I have only found them in brine), tomato paste in a tube, whole wheat orzo and a white truffle porcini spread. But I was impressed with the selection of cheeses from Italy and France, and something that surprised me positively is the cheeses are very well labeled if they contain rennet as part of their ingredients. They write it in CAPS in LARGE LETTERS so people are aware of what they’re buying – to me, a nice surprise. If I lived in NYC, I would come to this store often… the types of pasta, nuts, oils, tomatoes were incredible.
I also got a chance sneak in a visit the Food Network offices… I got to see the main lobby at least. They were getting ready for the Food & Wine festival later that week. Maybe someday, I won’t need to pretend I am going to a meeting, but doing it for real… now that’s a nice idea!!
If you get a chance, visit Chelsea Market in NYC. Besides the deli and the Italian shop, they also have bakeries, restaurants – sit down and nice fast foods, kitchen gadgets shops, gift shops, produce store, and other stores not relevant to vegetarians ;). It’s a great place to visit if you love food and food shopping.