Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Day of Delicious Finds From Chelsea Market

A Day of Delicious Finds From Chelsea Market

A walk through Chelsea Market is a treat to all the senses: our eyes grow wide gazing upon cakes and cookies; our sense of smell heightens wandering passed fresh batches of bread rising in the oven. We salivate when we happen upon glistening fish to the left and slivers of proscuitto to the right. Fussing with the gadgets in Bowery Kitchen Supply evokes long thought-of but not implemented undertakings in our own kitchens. And hearing all of the children on their lunch breaks makes for a reminiscent scene that will make anyone submit to a nostalgic cupcake.

Vanilla scones at 202.
Sunflower honey at Buon Italia.
Fat Witch brownies.
PB & J from Amy's Bread.
Steamed lobsters from The Lobster Place.
$2.49 a pound for yellow peppers at The Manhattan Food Exchange.
Valrhona Madagascar chocolate bars from Chelsea Market Basket.
This culinary playland has abundant choices, but navigating through it is better accomplished with a plan. The Dish plots a course for a blissful day of chowing, zigzagging between Italian delicacies and English pastries.

For breakfast, your first stop should be 202, Nicole Farhi’s sweet stop at the front of Chelsea Market. In the morning, the counter is set up with scones, muffins, and other tantalizing pastries. Opt for the Vanilla Scone: a subtle, sophisticated, buttery biscuit. Don’t bite into it yet though. The golden, crumbly round will be tempting—just take a whiff while it’s still in it’s white paper bag—but you’ll be happy you waited once you pair it with Sunflower Honey purchased at Buon Italia.

Located on the back wall, a row on enticing honey jars stare at sweet-loving patrons. Flavors of the specialty miele range from eucalyptus to lime tree. However, go for the Miele di Girasole (sunflower). Not only is it fantastic, but also it’s meant to soothe the stomach and lower cholesterol. Now take out your vanilla scone, slice it in half, and drizzle a bit of honey atop for a perfect way to start the morning.

If it’s lunch for which you are dropping in, you can reap the benefits of Amy’s Bread-made sandwiches. Every day the options fluctuate, but the PB & J is always a winner when it’s in the frontline. All natural peanut butter spread on Amy’s organic whole wheat gets kissed with strawberry preserves for a top-notch lunchtime classic.

Loop back to the front of the building and grab a Fat Witch Caramel Brownie. The two by two brick of chocolate sates your sweet tooth after a sandwich. But don’t eat it all at once! Save half for an afternoon pick-me-up. If you’re going to indulge in a 4pm snack, you might as well dive into the best.

Around dinnertime, swing back to the market for the best deals of the day. Pick up a few steamed lobsters at The Lobster Place. By purchasing them there, those restaurant mark-ups don’t apply so you can actually enjoy your crustacean without sweating the price tag. But a lobster — with drawn butter, also available — isn’t enough.

Go next door to The Manhattan Fruit Exchange to purchase vegetables for the same prices at which my midwestern mother buys them. Forget $4 per pound peppers; try $2.49! The same goes for the fruit — I just bought 3 pints of blackberries for $5!! Get both the peppers to sauté with some mushrooms — and the berries, for later. Your dinner will be a colorful, healthy spread.

You’ll need something to accompany those glimmering berries, so mosey over to Chelsea Market Basket, which, for some reason, is constantly offering deals on sweet things to stock in your pantry. On a recent trip, I grabbed some Valrhona Madagascar chocolate bars, two for $3. A bite of the bar with the berries is desserts of the gods.  

The day’s over and you might be full, but don’t let it stop you from heading back to Chelsea tomorrow. In a mouth-watering market, there’s still Thai Beef Salad, black truffles, and Sugar Cookies in every possible shape!

Chelsea Market is located at 75 Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Sts.

– Jill Donenfeld

"When not scooping the latest for NYSD, Jill Donenfeld heads up The Dish's Dishes, a personal chef and catering company founded for those who crave delicious food without the hassle of making reservations, ordering in, or turning on the oven. For more information on how to get your first DISH, check out