Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekend Cooking (Post-Book Blogger Convention): Eating at Eataly

I may never get to Italy (sob ...) but at least I can say I've been to Eataly.

I had heard of Eataly only a few days prior to the Book Blogger Convention, which took me to New York last Friday.  Tweets were a'flyin all week about this place, so when it was mentioned among our little group of bloggers getting together for dinner, I was secretly thrilled and doing a happy dance in my head.  

This place is the Italian version of heaven. (On a more down-to-earth realistic note, imagine Wegmans but with only Italian foodstuffs.) Stroll around the aisles and you half expect the likes of, I dunno, Frank Sinatra or Pavarotti or Andreas Boccelli to come crooning up to you. 

The concept behind Eataly, according to their website, is "to make high‐quality Italian foods available to everyone, at fair prices and in an environment where people can shop, eat and learn." From my perspective, they certainly accomplish that - and then some. Eataly is an experience.

We only had a 35 minute wait for our table (in New York City? on a Friday night? mamma mia!) so stroll around Eataly is what we did.  (We being my wonderful imaginary-because-they-only-exist-on-the-Internet blogging friends Ash of English Major's Junk Food, Florinda from The 3Rs Blog, Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness, Teresa from Shelf Love, and Colleen from Books in the City who was pressed into service as our de facto tour guide since she is a real live New York blogger.) 

there were cases of freshly made pastas ...

 and loaves of fresh bread ...  

... and cookbooks, with Lidia Bastianich's being prominently featured.
(She is a partner in Eataly, along with son Joe Bastianich and chef Mario Batali.)

I'm betting there were more than 99 bottles of beer on this shelf ...

This is probably my favorite restroom sign ever.

I was being a total cheesy New York tourist by taking all these pictures ....

(They are real rinds of cheese!) 

These desserts were almost too pretty to eat (although, that really wouldn't have stopped me). 

For these, I would have gladly risked a three-day migraine.
(Chocolate is a major migraine trigger for me, so I have to eat it sparingly.)

I loved the signs and posters that were all over the place. 

Ash, Kim, and Florinda shop for souvenirs of the chocolate variety ....

... while I took more pictures of decadent desserts.

This one almost didn't look REAL.
I mean, this is a freakin' masterpiece. 

Jars of honey, jams, mustards, and preserves.

Florinda and I loved this little pram. 

Fish counter.

I confess.  There were a few times in Eataly when I thought of Jonathan Bloom's book American Wasteland: How America Wastes Nearly Half Its Food (and what you can do about it).

I especially thought about it here at the meat counter. 

(That's only about a third of the meats at this particular counter.)

This guy was making dough - whether for bread or pizza, I'm not sure.

Finally, our table was ready (we were absolutely starving after walking around this place.)

Teresa convinced me to try a Rhubarb Soda, despite my skepticism and it being my first time trying rhubarb (a revelation that nearly caused Ash to fall off her chair).

I am officially a fan of rhubarb.  This rhubarb soda? 

Looooooovvvvvvved it. 

So, so, so good. 

I think rhubarb has a bit of a PR problem, sadly.

I'm betting I'm not the only person who never tried it because of the name. 

Ash, Colleen, Teresa, and I had pizzas for dinner while Florinda and Kim had pasta.

Mine was this margherita pizza, pictured below. 

I ate the whole freakin' thing. 

"God, I could eat here for every meal, every day," I wrote on Facebook. 

Especially if people like these wonderful, amazing, kindred book-blogging souls are with me. 

From left, Teresa from Shelf Love (with glasses), Colleen from Books in the City, Ash from English Major's Junk Food, Florinda from The 3Rs Blog, Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness, and yours truly. 

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I fell in love with that place, and the pasta I had there was the best ever! Great pictures!

Beth F said...

OMG OMG -- this is worth another trip to NYC.

On Friday night we ate at Lidia Bastianich's Becco near the theater district. It's the second time I've eaten there and would eat there often if I lived in the city.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

DANG!! Looks like an incredible place to browse and eat! YUMMY!!

Kaye said...

Oh, that looks like the most wonderful place to shop, eat and meet with friends. Glad you had such a good time.

Jenny said...

Those pictures made me hungry!

Rikki said...

OMG, what a mouth watering place! I think this is the next best thing to going to Italy itself.

Amy said...

Rhubarb is like eggplant. It needs an alternate name. I feel much happier eating an aubergine than an eggplant.

Anonymous said...

YUM ! Killer looking pizza !

Heather said...

looks like a tasty outing.

Margot said...

Looks like you had a great time. I love the pictures and getting to see some live bloggers. Food looks fantastic.

JoAnn said...

OMG!!! I'll be in New York in a couple of weeks. Eataly is now on the itinerary. Thank you!

Beth S. said...

I love Mario Batali. I had one of the best meals of my life at Otto in NYC. I definitely want to visit Eataly the next time I'm in NYC!

Booksnyc said...

I am glad you suggested this place - I have been meaning to get there for a long time and it was great to share dinner with you all there!

Florinda said...

I would totally go back to Eataly...but next time I will bring a shopping bag so I can take some stuff home! And the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente.

And thanks for the reminder that nearly 20 years after I last shopped there (in Ithaca, NY), I still miss Wegmans. Best supermarket ever.

Louise said...

I've seen this place feature on a few blogs, and would love to try it. Pity it's so, so far from Australia. I absolutely love rhubarb, and would love to try that drink. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. Half the fun of travelling to new places is trying new drinks. The desserts look wonderful too.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Mouth watering..... jealous.... want to go..... :)

Great pictures!

Teresa said...

I have got to get to World Market and see if they have that soda. So, so good. And now that you know you like rhubarb, you must try strawberry/rhubarb pie or strawberry/rhubarb jam.

I didn't realize Lidia Bastianich was a partner in Eatily. I ate at Becco last time I was in New York and agree with Beth F that it is terrific.

Melissa said...

Oh . . . . man. My mouth is watering! And considering I'm sitting here with my little Stouffer's French-bread pizza, I'm mighty jealous of what you got to sample. LOL!