Over Saturday brunch, my girlfriend Tara told us about a recent conversation she had with an acquaintance--let's call her Mitsy--who complained that her husband watches a lot of sports, leaving her a "football widow" on Sunday afternoons. Tara, being the tactful woman she is, giggled politely and said: "Football widow--what a funny little expression. Ha-ha-ha. " Of course, in the retelling to us, her thought bubble was more like "Football widow? Ughh...get a hobby."
I'm kind of on Team Tara here. I love spending time with my man--he is the peanut butter to all my jelly--but I got no problems when he makes himself scarce for a few hours. There are a lot of things we like to do together, but we each have our own interests and like to keep it that way. I know I don't want to get dragged onto a driving range, and he certainly has no interest in spending two hours in the gastronomic playland that is Chelsea Market.
But I sure do!! So that's where I was Sunday afternoon, while he was off at a bar watching the Jets game with other smelly boys.
If you're ever visiting NYC and feel the need to overstimulate all five senses, this is the place to come. The building started out as the site of the National Biscuit Company in the 1890s. It's since come to house some of the best bakeries, sandwich shops and specialty food stores in the city.
One of my favorite shops is the Italian grocer Buon Italia, which has an incredible selection of cheeses, pastas, spices and charcuterie. They even sell parm sandwiches and big slabs of lasagna out front.
Occasionally one of the Food Network stars will be filmed taping in this store, among others. Did I mention Chelsea Market is the home of the Food Network?
This place was incredible; I don't know how I'd missed it before. It's called the Filling Station, and they offer the most unique selection of fancy-pants salts, vinegars and oils I've ever seen.
This is all just salt!
White truffle, Hawaiian black salt and Espresso Sea Salt...what?! I sampled the espresso, and if that wouldn't taste great sprinkled on a piece of chocolate shortbread, I don't know what would.
Have you ever heard of coconut vinegar or white grapefruit balsamic vinegar? I hadn't. I'm curious: what would you use each in? I went home with a small bottle of white truffle oil (I finally caved) and another bottle of porcini oil that I plan to use in risotto. They smelled incredible!
Another spot worth checking out is Bowery Kitchen Supply, which is exactly what it sounds like. Lots of cooking gadgets and gizmos. Cool store that's especially good for bakers, but the prices are a little inflated.
The store Imports from Marrakesh seems a bit out of place in a sea of food spots, but the beautiful textiles in bright colors are real, real purty.
Behind-the-scenes bakers can be spotted through floor-to-ceiling windows at Amy's Bread.
If my wallet had allowed, I would have splurged on a lobster roll for lunch. Seafood is another thing I indulge in when the boyfriend is out of pocket. He won't touch the stuff.
I had a great solo day at Chelsea Market, and met my man back at home with a big, goofy hug when we were finally reunited. See,
absence cheese really does make the heart grow fonder.