Walking into Eataly in the Madison Square Park neighborhood of Manhattan brought me back to my first experience at Dean & DeLuca and the time my sister Haj and I decided to shop for our New Year's Eve frozen gourmet dinner at Picard; foregoing a formal dinner in the Marais. It was food heaven! My grade school classmate from Ateneo, Vigie Bucu, was the accomplice on this foodie excursion to Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's incredible new food haven.
Oscar Farinetti opened the first Eataly in Turin. Now this the American version so imagine filling an entire footballfield with the best of Italian and regional American products, throw in several restaurants, a cooking school, a rooftop beer garden, a myriad of food counters, cooking products and even a working ATM from an Italian bank (hmm...) - now that's a food lovers nirvana.
Eataly is super cool and deserves every accolade for reintroducing the food market in our food obsessed society. Plan on spending several hours here. Sign up for a cooking course with Lidia Bastianich. Sample the wines designated for each section. Grab the ultra chic grocery basket and shop for fresh broccoli from Maine and eggplant from Long Island. While you're at it, meet up with a friend over a cup of espresso at the LavAzza counter. While I can't imagine an Eataly opening in Grand Rapids soon, a Chicago location will be greatly appreciated.
|The simple storefront entrance merely pretends to be a neighborhood gem versus a mega food store|
|The decadent offerings at the pasticceria counter|
|A guest orders at the rosticceria counter|
|Fishmongers at the fish counter|
|Don't miss the entertaining signs all over Eataly|
|The wine counter|
|Only the best 10,000 products are offered|
|Balsamico from Modena|
|Not your typical shopping basket|
|Guys at the pizzeria counter|
|Every imaginable pasta is available in the dried pasta section|
|Fresh cuts of meat|
|The butcher shop|
|Fresh breads are made on premise|
|Dining areas in every corner of Eataly|
|I love these stand up tasting tables|
|In case you get lost...|
|"Organized clutter" promoting Italy|